Los Angeles Child Sexual Abuse Attorney
Each Los Angeles child sexual abuse attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is passionate about helping survivors of child sexual abuse in our local community. Our lawyers advocate for clients so they can achieve justice and closure and will be here for you every step of the way. We can become your legal representatives and your support system during this difficult time. If you or your child has been the victim of child sexual abuse in Los Angeles, talk to an attorney immediately for action.
Why Trust Manly, Stewart & Finaldi With Your Child Sexual Abuse Case?
- Our founder and Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney, John C. Manly, has represented sexual assault victims for more than 20 years.
- Our lawyers have committed themselves to going up against sexual abusers in California. We are extremely passionate plaintiff’s attorneys.
- Our law firm is a national leader in representing sexual abuse and assault victims. We are not afraid to go up against powerful institutions.
- We have recovered more than $2 billion for survivors of sexual abuse, including many past cases involving childhood sexual abuse and assault.
What Is Child Sexual Abuse?
Child sexual abuse is a sex crime in which someone illegally engages in sexual activity with a minor. It will not matter whether or not the minor consented to the sexual activity; by law, a minor cannot give his or her consent. Engaging in any type of sexual activity with a child under the age of 18 is against the law, period. Child sexual abuse can take many forms in California:
- Child molestation
- Touching or fondling a child’s private parts (or a female’s breasts)
- Oral sex
- Penetration, rape, or statutory rape
- Exposure of sex organs to a minor
- Masturbation in front of a minor
- Exploiting a minor for child pornography
- Showing a minor sexually explicit images
- Sex trafficking of minors
- Any other obscene or sexual interactions with a child
Criminals who commit child sexual abuse often know the minors they target. A perpetrator could be anyone with access to the minor, but it is most likely someone in a position of trust or power. Common culprits include family members, friends, older children, babysitters, teachers, coaches, clergy members, camp counselors, doctors, and another child’s parent. Child sexual abuse is a terrible crime that can come with life-changing consequences for a survivor. A perpetrator could be held both criminally and civilly liable in California. Learn more about your rights by contacting a child sexual abuse attorney in Los Angeles.
How Can a Los Angeles Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer Help?
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the daunting task of filing a claim against a large and powerful institution. With help from an attorney, however, you can level the playing field. Your attorney will give you a strong voice during legal proceedings. At our law firm, we handle all the legal work while you focus on healing.
- Keep your identity private an anonymous 100% confidential, if desired
- Identify the defendant or defendants in your case
- Assess an honest and fair maximum compensation award
- File your civil lawsuit within the state’s deadline
- Handle settlement negotiations and/or court hearings on your behalf
- Hire subject-matter experts, investigators and other professionals
- File all legal paperwork on your behalf
Our lawyers work hard to make sure you have everything you need to go up against a school, district, clergy, organization or religious institution. We want you to focus on your mental health and how to move forward while we take care of your claim.
Warning Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
Before you can consider taking legal action against an individual or entity on behalf of your child, you must learn how to detect child sexual abuse. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is not always easy to spot. You may trust the person who is taking advantage of your child, making sexual abuse especially difficult to identify.
Being a vigilant parent who looks out for the physical, emotional and behavioral signs of sexual abuse could save your child from further abuse. Sexual abuse against a minor can have many serious consequences for a child, often creating outward warning signs. If you notice any of the following red flags, your child could be the victim of sexual abuse.
Child sexual abuse can have a physical effect on a survivor ranging from injuries inflicted in the act of abuse to outwardly visible signs that something is wrong, such as suddenly dressing or behaving differently. As a parent or guardian, make it your duty to keep a close eye on your child’s physical state. Many things could be warning signs that your child has suffered sexual violence or abuse:
- Physical injuries, such as bruising or swelling
- Genital injuries or trouble walking/sitting
- Pain or itching in the genital area
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Bloody undergarments or sheets
- Urinary tract infections
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Lack of hygiene/unkempt appearance
One or two of these signs alone may not guarantee sexual abuse; however, if you notice multiple red flags, talk to your child about sexual abuse. Explain what it means and that it is in no way the child’s fault. Also, express that you will believe the child if he or she wishes to talk about sexual abuse or assault. Even if your child does not exhibit any physical signs of abuse, you may be able to notice something amiss through emotional or behavioral signs.
Experiencing sexual abuse can change a child on a behavioral level. He or she may suffer from mental and emotional anguish connected to the traumatic incident, leading to noticeable changes in behavioral patterns. While many of these behavioral signs are normal for the average child as he or she grows up, a combination of multiple signs could point to something more sinister.
- Changes in appetite
- Mood swings or outbursts
- Personality changes
- Low self-esteem
- Relationship problems
- Depression or anxiety
- Nightmares or bed-wetting
- Behavioral regression
- Inappropriate knowledge of sexual subjects
- Poor performance in school
- Promiscuous behaviors or teen pregnancy
- Substance abuse
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
Talk to your child openly about sexual abuse if you notice possible physical and/or behavioral signs of this crime. Tell your child that he or she is in a safe place and that you can help bring the matter to law enforcement to protect the child from the perpetrator.
It is your responsibility as a child’s parent or legal guardian to report suspected child abuse. If you believe this crime has occurred, call 911 to report your suspicions. Then, when you are ready, consult with a Los Angeles child sexual abuse lawyer for assistance with the civil justice process.
Los Angeles Child Sexual Abuse Cases We Handle
Our child sexual abuse attorneys have years of experience in this practice area. Our plaintiff’s lawyers have served victims in Los Angeles and won settlements and verdicts on their behalf. We are confident in our ability to handle any case involving child sexual abuse. We have gone up against many different defendants, institutions and individuals.
- Boy and Girl Scouts of America
- Daycare centers
- Foster care centers
- Sports facilities
- Youth organizations
We work hard not only to achieve the results our clients need but also to motivate change on an institutional level. Our law firm has the resources and ability to fight against major corporations and establishments in pursuit of a positive settlement or judgment award. Speak to our lawyers about your case today.
Effects of Child Sexual Abuse on Victims
Sexual abuse can have various short- and long-term effects on a victim. It is an extremely personal crime that can impact how a child matures, grows and develops mentally and emotionally. Victims of child sexual abuse are at a high risk of dealing with many hardships later in life:
- Feelings of shame, guilt and depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
- Self-destructive behaviors
- Alcohol abuse
- Drug or tobacco use
- Sexual problems
- Dropping out of school
- Committing crimes and incarceration
- Struggles with suicide
Survivors of child sexual abuse often feel betrayed, vulnerable, and unable to trust adults and others. They may feel ashamed, guilty or unworthy of love. This can lead to mental health conditions and revictimization. In the worst scenarios, a victim of child sexual abuse may become suicidal.
Sexual abuse at a young age can have psychological consequences that follow the victim for life. This is why it is important for a victim to come forward and seek justice with the help of a local Los Angeles child sexual abuse attorney. Holding a perpetrator accountable can give a victim a sense of empowerment and control. The very least a survivor deserves for a lifetime of potential aftereffects is to hold the abuser accountable.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Child Sexual Abuse?
In a child sexual abuse civil lawsuit, you may assume the person liable for damages is the abuser or perpetrator. While this may be true, your family may also have the power to hold the larger system or institution accountable. In many cases, an institution has the power to stop or prevent child sexual abuse yet fails to do so.
Many organizations knowingly cover up complaints – permitting child sexual abuse to persist for decades. These organizations can be held liable for their inadequacies. An organization could also be vicariously liable for the criminal actions of its employees, such as a school for teacher-student sexual abuse.
Holding multiple parties liable for child sexual abuse can improve the survivor’s chances of receiving fair and full compensation for past and future losses. If an individual does not have enough money to satisfy a judgment award, an organization will. A child sexual abuse attorney in Los Angeles can help you understand which parties may be liable for the sexual assault or abuse of your child.
Criminal vs. Civil Child Sexual Abuse Cases
Child sexual abuse is a crime in all 50 states. A perpetrator could face criminal charges for committing this offense in California. A criminal conviction can sentence the perpetrator to months or years in jail, as well as order the abuser to complete probation, restitution or community service.
A civil sexual abuse case, on the other hand, serves to make a victim whole again rather than punish a perpetrator. It focuses on holding a perpetrator civilly accountable for his or her crimes by forcing the defendant to pay for related losses. Bringing a civil claim is important as a survivor, as a criminal case alone will be inadequate for helping you move forward. A civil claim is the only type of legal action that can provide the funds to cover your losses.
Time Limits for Filing a Child Sexual Abuse Claim in California
It is important to recognize the statute of limitations that will apply to your child sexual abuse case. This is the time limit by which you must file your civil claim or else lose the right to file. In California, there are two different time limits depending on whether the victim was under or over the age of 18 at the time of the abuse.
Child sexual abuse survivors (under the age of 18) will either have until their 40th birthdays to file in California or five years from the discovery of the abuse. If a child survivor could not file under the state’s prior time limit, he or she has three years to revive a previous sexual abuse claim.
A sexual abuse survivor over the age of 18 will have 10 years from the date of the last act of assault or 3 years from the date of injury discovery related to the assault to file (whichever comes sooner). Speak to a local Los Angeles child sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you do not miss your time limit.
Compensation for Victims of Child Sexual Abuse in Los Angeles, CA
The main goal most plaintiffs have during child sexual abuse cases is not to receive a monetary award. Instead, they want justice against a perpetrator and/or an institution that contributed to the crime. However, a monetary award could satisfy a survivor’s many debts and financial losses:
- Associated medical expenses, past and future
- The costs of therapies or rehabilitation
- Lost wages from missed work
- Mental anguish
- Psychological effects
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Physical pain and suffering
- Legal fees and court costs
- Punitive damages
Your child sexual abuse lawyer from Manly, Stewart & Finaldi can fight for economic and noneconomic losses during your civil child sexual abuse case in California. The potential value of your case will depend on your unique losses. We can evaluate your claim during a free consultation in Los Angeles.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Child Sexual Abuse Attorney in Los Angeles
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we fight for justice. We aim to hold at-fault parties accountable for child sexual abuse in Los Angeles. If you need legal representation to go after one or more parties, contact us online or call our local law office at (949) 252-9990 for a 100% confidential consultation.