Huntington Beach Child Sexual Abuse Attorney
Child sexual abuse is one of the most despicable crimes imaginable. Suffering sexual abuse, assault or molestation at a young age can have long-lasting effects on a survivor’s mental and emotional well-being. While no amount of money can ever make up for this heinous wrongdoing, seeking financial compensation through a civil lawsuit in Huntington Beach could deliver justice and closure for a survivor.
Contact the experienced child sexual abuse attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for a free and 100-percent confidential case consultation if you or a loved one is a victim of this crime. Speak to a Huntington Beach sexual abuse lawyer today at (800) 700-8450.
Why Trust Us With This Case?
- Our lawyers know when to be aggressive and when to take a delicate approach in child sexual abuse cases. We recognize the complexity and sensitivity of these legal matters and provide a safe and supportive environment for our clients.
- We are America’s leading sexual abuse and assault law firm. We have achieved record-setting case results for our clients in the past 25+ years, including a $660 million global settlement for Roman Catholic Bishop sexual abuse cases.
- We offer high-quality legal representation at no cost upfront. Our Huntington Beach child sexual abuse attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will only pay our attorneys if we secure financial compensation for your case.
How a Huntington Beach Child Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help You
Child sexual abuse survivors need strong legal representation during the civil claims process. When a civil lawsuit is filed in California, the filing party (plaintiff) has the burden of proof, or the responsibility to establish that what he or she is claiming against the accused party (defendant) is more likely to be true than not true.
An attorney can help you meet this burden of proof using tailored legal services, such as:
- Child abuse or assault investigation
- Evidence preservation and collection
- Witness interviews and depositions
- Hiring highly qualified expert witnesses
- Completion and submission of claim forms
- Strong representation during settlement negotiations
- Aggressive case litigation at trial, if necessary
Most importantly, hiring a lawyer will give you greater peace of mind during this difficult and emotional time. Coming forward with a child sexual abuse claim in Huntington Beach is not easy. Hiring a skilled and experienced attorney can provide strong legal advocacy when you need it most. Your lawyer will help you take a stand against childhood sexual violence while protecting your rights, interests and identity, if you wish to remain anonymous. We will be there for you and your family every step of the way.
What Is Child Sexual Abuse?
State law defines child sexual abuse as the victimization of a child for the purposes of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse. Several statutes in California define crimes of a sexual nature against children, including Penal Code Section 288(lewd or lascivious acts) and Penal Code Section 647.6 (child molestation).
Examples of child sexual abuse include:
- Child molestation
- Child pornography
- Child sexual abuse
- Child sexual harassment
- Exhibitionism (indecent exposure)
- Exposing a child to pornography
- Fondling or inappropriate touching
- Forced oral copulation
- Lewd conduct
- Rape or attempted rape
- Sexual bullying
- Statutory rape
Many touching and non-touching behaviors against children can constitute sex crimes in Huntington Beach. These crimes can range from misdemeanors to felonies under California law. Some are punishable with life in prison. In addition to criminal charges, a child sexual abuser could be held liable (legally responsible) for the victim’s losses with a civil lawsuit.
Age of Consent Laws in California
Any sexual contact with a child under the age of 18 constitutes child sexual abuse. Eighteen is the age of majority or age of consent in California, meaning the age at which an individual can legally give his or her consent to sexual activity. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor and cannot lawfully engage or attempt to engage in sexual acts.
Any individual who knowingly has sexual intercourse with a minor can be found guilty of statutory rape under Penal Code Section 261.5. California does not have any “Romeo and Juliet laws” that grant exceptions to the age-of-consent rule. This means it does matter if the two individuals are close in age; if one is under the age of 18, it is statutory rape under state law.
Types of Child Sexual Abuse Cases We Accept in Huntington Beach, CA
Children are vulnerable to sex crimes. They can be targeted by sexual predators in many places, settings and situations – including locations where they should feel safe and secure, such as at a school or camp. Sadly, the list of potential abusers is long and can include teachers, clergy members, peers, older adolescents, childcare providers, nurses and doctors, and even family members.
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our attorneys can handle all of the following types of child sexual abuse cases in Huntington Beach, and more:
- Babysitter sexual abuse
- Boy Scout sexual abuse
- Camp sexual abuse
- Child sex trafficking or prostitution
- Clergy sexual abuse
- Competitive cheerleading sexual abuse
- Daycare sexual abuse
- Doctor/pediatrician sexual abuse
- Foster care sexual abuse
- High school sexual abuse
- Internet sex crimes
- Juvenile probation camp sexual assault
- School sexual abuse
- Special needs child sexual abuse
- Sports coach sexual abuse
Our founder and managing partner, Attorney John C. Manly, has been successfully representing child sexual abuse victims and their families for more than two decades. John and the rest of our sexual abuse legal team know how to handle the crisis of child sexual abuse. We can pursue justice for survivors of all types of child sex abuse, assault, harassment and discrimination.
Pursuing Compensation for Child Sexual Abuse Survivors
When child sexual abuse occurs, the perpetrator can face consequences from both the criminal and civil justice systems. A criminal case can lead to a conviction and sentence to punish the abuser, such as prison time or required registration on California’s Sex Offender List. A civil case, on the other hand, is designed to make a victim whole again through providing a financial recovery.
A successful child sexual abuse or assault lawsuit in Huntington Beach could result in compensation being awarded for the following types of losses:
- Medical care
- Therapy and counseling
- Prescription medications
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional damage
- Mental anguish
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Lost wages or future capacity to earn
- Wrongful death damages, in cases involving suicide
- Punitive or exemplary damages
We know that no amount of money could ever make up for a child sex crime. However, we also believe that sexual abuse survivors should not have to pay for their own medical care or other related expenses. Our attorneys hope to help clients move forward with less financial stress after surviving a life-changing trauma by obtaining the compensation they deserve.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Child Sexual Abuse and Assault?
Determining who can be held liable, or legally and financially responsible, for a child sexual abuse case can be complicated. While it is possible to file a lawsuit against an individual perpetrator, this may not be the only option. In many cases, institutions can also be held responsible for failing to protect vulnerable youth.
If administrators at a Huntington Beach school ignored sexual misconduct complaints brought against a teacher, for example, the school district could be held liable for subsequent cases of student abuse by the teacher. Anyone who was aware or reasonably should have been aware of the child sexual abuse could face a civil lawsuit brought by the survivor or survivor’s family.
What Is the Statute of Limitations to File a Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit?
If you wish to file a lawsuit for child sexual abuse in Huntington Beach, you must abide by California’s statute of limitations. This is a legal filing deadline that places a time limit on a plaintiff’s ability to bring a civil claim. If you miss your deadline to file, you may forfeit the right to seek financial compensation for child sexual abuse forever. This is why it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible.
In 2019, California’s statute of limitations on civil sexual abuse cases was extended with the signing of Assembly Bill 218. Child sexual abuse survivors now have until age 40 to file related civil lawsuits in California. The new statute of limitations gives anyone who suffered sexual abuse while under the age of 18 a deadline of 22 years from turning the age of majority (18 years old).
Some claimants may be able to file over the age of 40, however, due to the discovery rule. This exception gives plaintiffs five years from the date that they discovered or reasonably should have discovered that a mental health problem was connected to child sexual assault. If a victim wishes to file a claim after age 40, the lawsuit must be accompanied by a certificate of merit signed by a licensed mental health practitioner and an attorney.
Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
If you are the parent of a young child, it is important to be aware of what the potential signs of sexual abuse might look like. Many children do not come forward with reports of sexual abuse or assault on their own. They may be afraid of retaliation from the perpetrator, groomed into thinking they are in a consensual relationship with the abuser or too young to comprehend what is happening. It is often up to parents, teachers and other adults in the child’s life to detect the signs of sexual abuse and take action.
Although red flags for child sexual abuse vary, examples include:
- Changes in appetite
- Criminal activity
- Decreased performance in school
- Developmental delays
- Eating disorders
- Genitalia injuries
- Inappropriate sexual play or touching of other children
- Psychological problems
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Signs of depression, anxiety or PTSD
- Substance use or abuse
- Sudden mood swings or outbursts
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Teen pregnancy
- Unusual knowledge of sexual subjects
- Withdrawal from favorite activities
If a child is exhibiting potential signs of being sexually abused, have an open discussion with the child. Explain that he or she is not in trouble, is in a safe place and that you are here to help. Then, ask if the child has been experiencing any examples of sexual assault or abuse from an older adolescent, peer, bully at school, teacher, loved one or another trusted adult. If you have reason to suspect child sexual abuse, take action to protect the child immediately.
How to Report Child Sexual Abuse in Huntington Beach
Call 911 if it is an emergency or the child is in imminent danger of harm, including sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect or emotional abuse. Report your suspicions to the police and cooperate with law enforcement to create an official police record. If you believe a child is being abused by a parent, foster parent or legal guardian, contact Orange County Child Protective Services at (714) 940-1000 to file a report. You can make this report anonymously, if desired.
If you are the child’s parent or legal guardian, take your child to a hospital that has trained staff who can conduct a sexual assault forensic exam. This can provide medical care as well as collect any evidence of sexual abuse. Make sure the survivor is receiving the mental health care that he or she needs, as well. This includes speaking to a child psychiatrist to cope with the trauma and psychological effects of being sexually abused. When you are ready to seek legal help, contact Manly, Stewart & Finaldi to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Huntington Beach Resources for Child Sexual Abuse Survivors
- Victim Advocate at the Huntington Beach Police Department: (714) 536-5957. Confidential support services, restraining order information and orientation to the criminal justice system.
- SAFE Place at Anaheim Regional Medical Center: (949) 824-7273. The only hospital in Orange County where sexual assault forensic exams are available.
- The CSP, Inc. Sexual Assault Victim Services Program: (714) 957-2737. Free crisis counseling and support for sexual abuse survivors.
- National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline: (888) 373-7888. Receives tips and offers emergency, transitional and long-term services to survivors.
- Living Success Center: (949) 645-4723. Sexual abuse survivors group that promotes mental health and wellness.
Contact Our Huntington Beach Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers Today
The attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi are knowledgeable in all areas of child sexual abuse law and passionate about bringing wrongdoers to justice on behalf of their clients. Contact us if you or a loved one is a survivor of child sexual abuse or assault in Huntington Beach, California. We will listen to your story and we will believe you. Call (800) 700-8450 today to request a free, private case consultation.