Long Beach Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we understand the overwhelming impact that sexual abuse can have on a vulnerable young child, both physically and psychologically. Many victims experience long-lasting mental and emotional trauma that can develop or intensify over time. These crimes can impact a victim’s academic performance and career, cause mental health problems, and lead to issues such as substance abuse or self-harm.
Our Long Beach child sexual abuse lawyers are passionate about helping survivors achieve justice and the financial compensation that they deserve. You may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit against a sexual predator as well as an institution in Long Beach that failed to protect you from abuse. If you or your child is a victim of sexual abuse in Southern California, contact us today for a free and confidential case review.
We Are Nationally Recognized Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Long Beach
Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is America’s leading sexual abuse law firm. For more than 20 years, John C. Manly and his team of attorneys have been successfully negotiating and litigating sexual abuse and assault claims on behalf of victims and their families. In that time, John has been included in Super Lawyers® and named to California’s Top 100 Attorneys by the Los Angeles Daily Journal.
Our dedicated team of child sexual abuse attorneys in Long Beach is committed to seeking justice for survivors. We are a powerful law firm with the resources, experience and personnel to hold perpetrators and institutions accountable for devastating incidents of child sexual abuse. This includes powerful adversaries such as Fortune 500 companies, dioceses and school districts. As our client, we will give you unwavering support and use our legal knowledge to guide you successfully through the claims process.
Our Past Case Results
- $880 million in global settlements for the abuse of child and young adult athletes by former Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar.
- $660 million global settlement of 508 Roman Catholic Bishop sexual abuse cases involving child and young adult victims.
- $216 million global settlement against the Society of Jesus, Oregon for 110 separate sexual abuse claims.
- $140 million global settlement against the Los Angeles Unified School District for 81 child sexual abuse claims from students at Miramonte Elementary School.
What Is Child Sexual Abuse?
Child sexual abuse can refer to many different types of sex crimes committed against children or minors. In California, children cannot legally give their consent to engage in sexual activity until age 18. Any sexual contact with a child constitutes the crime of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is a traumatic violation of a child’s rights, welfare and well-being that can have profound effects. Many survivors of child sexual abuse suffer lasting physical, emotional and psychological damage.
Who Are the Most Frequent Child Sexual Abusers?
Child sexual abuse or exploitation can be committed by strangers and online predators, but the culprits are most often people the victims know. Sexual predators often take advantage of positions of trust or authority that they have with the targeted child. They are frequently individuals whom the child interacts with on a regular basis.
Examples include teachers, sports coaches, babysitters or childcare providers, doctors or pediatricians, members of the clergy at a church, youth group leaders, counselors, peers, friends of the family, foster parents, legal guardians, and even family members.
Types of Child Sexual Abuse
Any form of sexual activity involving a child can constitute child sexual abuse in California. This includes physical touching as well as nonphysical behaviors intended to exploit or manipulate a child for the purposes of sexual gratification, sexual arousal or sexual abuse.
Types and examples of child sexual abuse include:
- Child molestation
- Touching of a child’s private parts
- Inappropriate fondling or groping
- Sexual bullying or hazing
- Sexual harassment
- Forcing a child to engage in masturbation or self-stimulation
- Any form of vaginal, anal or oral penetration with an object or body part
- Forced oral copulation
- Exposure of sexual organs in front of a child
- Exposing a child to pornographic material or images
- Watching a child undress, bathe or engage in sexual activities
- Manipulating or coercing a child to engage in sexual activities online
- Child sexual assault or rape
- Statutory rape
- Child prostitution or sex trafficking
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we can represent survivors of virtually any type of child sexual abuse in Long Beach and throughout Los Angeles County. We have gone up against many types of perpetrators as well as institutions and won groundbreaking results. Let us protect your rights as a child sexual abuse survivor.
What Is Grooming?
Many cases of child sexual abuse involve grooming, or the gradual process of a sexual predator gaining a child’s trust for the purpose of manipulating the child into engaging in sexual activities or believing that he or she is in a loving, consensual relationship. Grooming behaviors often involve emotional, psychological or material rewards to influence the child’s feelings toward the predator. A sexual predator may also try to isolate the target and orchestrate situations to be alone with the child.
What Is the Age of Consent in California?
Under California law, no child under the age of 18 can legally consent to participate in sexual activity. Children under the age of 18 are considered minors. Anyone who engages in sexual activity with a minor could be convicted of a sex crime, such as statutory rape. This is true even if the minor assented to the sexual activity.
California does not have any Romeo and Juliet laws, which, in other states, provide close-in-age exemptions to the age-of-consent laws. In California, having sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18 is considered statutory rape under Penal Code 261.5, even if the two parties are close in age or both minors.
Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
It often takes many years for child sexual abuse victims to come forward and tell their stories, if they do at all. This is an extremely psychologically traumatic event that many victims block out or do not feel comfortable discussing, even years later. While sexual abuse is occurring, children frequently do not understand what is happening or do not have the words to speak up. They may be too frightened or manipulated by the perpetrator into remaining silent. It is often up to parents and others to spot the signs of child sexual abuse.
While every case is unique, common red flags include:
- Physical injuries, especially to the thighs or genitalia
- Isolation or withdrawal from others
- Nightmares, trouble sleeping or bedwetting
- New or unusual fears
- Signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, such as chronic anxiety
- Fear of a certain person or place
- Trouble concentrating
- Changes to eating habits or weight
- Poor personal hygiene
- Knowledge of sexual subjects beyond the child’s years
- Mood swings or personality changes
- Poor performance in school or skipping school
- The use of drugs or alcohol
- Sexual promiscuity and teen pregnancy
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Self-harm behaviors or attempts at suicide
Child sexual abuse survivors can suffer many long-term effects that remain with them far into adulthood, as well. Residual effects can include physical and mental health problems such as chronic pain, headaches, anxiety, depression, feelings of guilt or shame, low self-esteem or self-worth, feeling helpless or hopeless, having trouble forming relationships with others, substance use or abuse, and suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
What to Do if You Suspect Child Sexual Abuse in Long Beach
If you have reason to believe that your child or someone else in your life is a victim of sexual abuse in Long Beach, take immediate action. Talk to the individual about what is happening. Explain to a child that he or she is safe and is not to blame. Then, report your suspicions to the correct authorities. This may include the police, Child Protective Services (in a case involving abuse by a family member or caregiver), or administrators at an institution where the sexual abuse occurred.
In the meantime, make sure the child has the medical care that he or she needs to aid in physical and psychological recovery. This may involve taking the victim to the nearest hospital in California that offers a sexual assault forensic exam to potentially collect DNA evidence from the perpetrator. Proper medical care also means mental health counseling from a child psychiatrist or therapist to help the child cope with the psychological effects of sexual abuse.
When you are ready to seek justice and hold someone accountable for a case of child sexual abuse, contact the attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi. You or your family may have grounds to file a civil child sexual abuse claim against one or multiple parties. While a criminal case in Long Beach can lead to a sex offender being convicted and serving a criminal sentence, a civil claim seeks a financial recovery to help the victim move forward.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Child Sexual Abuse?
The party that can be held liable, or legally and financially responsible, for child sexual abuse will depend on the circumstances. The perpetrator can be held liable with a civil claim, but liability may extend beyond this individual to entities that enabled or covered up sex crimes against children.
Our attorneys can conduct a comprehensive investigation into your case to determine the liable party or parties. Possibilities include:
- A government agency
- A legal guardian
- A school or school district
- An Internet platform or app
- Childcare provider
- Church or religious institution
- Daycare center
- Doctor or health care provider
- Girl or Boy Scouts of America
- Mandatory reporter of child sex abuse
- Property owner or manager
- Youth club or organization
- Youth sports organization
Organizations and institutions that involve children have a responsibility to enact protocols and policies to prevent child sexual abuse and properly respond to complaints of sexual misconduct. If these institutions or their staff members fall short of this responsibility, they can face liability and be named as defendants alongside the individual sex offender.
What Is the Statute of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse Cases in California?
It is important to know and obey your statute of limitations if you wish to have a valid claim to damages in Long Beach. Under California law, a victim of child sexual abuse has the later of age 40 or 5 years from the date that he or she discovered or reasonably should have discovered the abuse to file. The statute of limitations in California on a child sexual abuse case is 22 years from the date that the victim turns 18.
If the victim does not discover a connection between his or her mental health condition and child sexual abuse until later, however, he or she will have five years from the date of reasonable discovery, even if this is beyond age 40. Adult victims of sexual abuse and assault in California have a deadline of 10 years from the date of the last incident or 3 years from the date of discovery to file civil claims.
Types of Financial Compensation Available
As a victim of child sexual abuse, you know that no amount of money could ever be enough to make up for the trauma and suffering you have endured. However, you may also recognize the financial stability that could come with obtaining a settlement or judgment award through a civil sexual abuse lawsuit.
A successful claim could result in financial compensation for the following:
- Past and future foreseeable medical care
- Mental health counseling and therapies
- Specialized support services or trauma programs
- Prescription medications and medical devices
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Losses of income from being unable to earn gainful employment
- Punitive damages as a form of punishment against the defendant
It is important to consult with an attorney who has experience in child sexual abuse law to discuss the potential value of your claim in Long Beach. The attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi will accurately evaluate how much your case could be worth. Then, we will use aggressive legal strategies to fight for maximum financial compensation on your behalf.
Resources for Child Sexual Abuse Victims in Long Beach
- LA County 24/7 Sexual Assault Hotline: (877) 943-5778
- National Sexual Assault and Abuse Hotline: (800) 656-4673
- Long Beach Police Department Nonemergency Dispatch: (562) 435-6711
- For the Child Programs for Victims of Child Abuse, Neglect and Violence
- Find additional help and resources here
Contact a Long Beach Child Sex Abuse Attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for a Free Case Review
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we know how delicate and sensitive child sexual abuse cases can be. We represent each client who comes to us for help with compassion, respect and care. You will benefit from the individualized attention of your lawyer throughout your case, who will be just as committed to achieving your goals as you are.
Our Long Beach child sexual abuse and assault attorneys are dedicated to helping their clients achieve justice, fair financial compensation and closure after these devastating crimes. Learn more about our legal services during a free, confidential case consultation. Call (800) 700-8450 or contact us online today to have your questions answered.