Sexually abusing a student is one of the most reprehensible crimes that anyone associated with an educational institution can commit. Teachers, counselors and other officials are people who children trust. When they abuse this position of power, it can have devastating effects on children.
Abuse can lead to problems with intimacy, self-esteem, body image or substance abuse, amongst many other issues. Victims often fear retaliation or experience guilt that keeps them silent for years. One man, abused by a former police officer with the Pittsburgh public school system, recently found the courage to speak up in civil court.
When the man was a young student in the 1990s, the police officer had pulled him out of class over 24 times, forcing the child into a janitor’s closet where the officer molested him. These facts have already been established in criminal court when the man was tried and convicted in 2013.
Many sexual abuse cases are handled in both the criminal and civil court systems. These two systems target the crimes in different ways, providing different kinds of relief for victims.
A criminal lawsuit can provide closure or justice by punishing the perpetrator. A civil lawsuit can provide justice by providing monetary compensation for harm, answers about the case to questions that are not or cannot be asked in court, give control to the victim over the process and even force institutions to make changes that could prevent abuse in the future.
In some instances, it is best to file a civil claim after a criminal case. In others, it should be filed earlier. Regardless of when it is best to file a lawsuit, it is always best to get started building a civil case as soon as possible.
At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., we understand that discussing abuse is never easy. Our sexual abuse attorney provides compassionate representation to victims and their families, making sure that they feel comfortable at every step. We also provide detailed information about how the law could affect our clients’ cases, so that they can make informed decisions.