Los Angeles Sexual Abuse Attorney
At Manly Stewart & Finaldi, we help survivors of sexual assault and abuse get the support they need and the justice they deserve. We understand how sexual abuse can have a devastating, long-lasting impact on someone’s life, and we want to help survivors in any way we can. If you or a loved one is a survivor, please contact a qualified Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney at our law firm today for a 100% confidential and free consultation. Let us fight for you and your family.
Why Choose Our Sexual Abuse Lawyers?
The sexual abuse lawyers of Manly Stewart & Finaldi are committed to providing caring, helpful support to all survivors of abuse and assault.
- We have more than 20 years of experience assisting clients with all types of sexual abuse cases involving sexual assault.
- We fight to prevent institutional abuse on a larger scale and are not intimidated by large corporations or organizations. In fact, we have represented hundreds of survivors of clergy abuse and school abuse in California.
- We have a proven record of success and results, recovering a total of more than $2 billion in compensation on our clients’ behalf.
- We understand your needs for privacy and personal safety. That’s why we keep your identity and case 100% confidential if requested.
Representative Cases in Los Angeles
While we have helped survivors of sexual abuse from across the United States, we have significant experience representing clients in the Los Angeles area. This includes:
- An $825 million global settlement for survivors in cases involving University of Southern California (USC) Dr. George Tyndall.
- Five separate settlements in excess of $23 million dollars in cases involving sexual abuse at schools in the Los Angeles County Unified School District (LAUSD). These settlements were secured on behalf of students at De La Torre Elementary School, TelFair Elementary School, and Miramonte Elementary School.
- A $9.9 million settlement in cases involving sexual abuse by notorious Los Angeles Roman Catholic priest Father Michael Baker.
What Is Sexual Abuse?
In California, sexual abuse is the crime of forcing someone to engage in sexual acts or sexual intercourse without that person’s consent (California Penal Code Section 261). The law defines consent as positive cooperation through act or attitude under free will and with knowledge of the nature of the act. Unlike sexual harassment, sexual abuse can refer to any type of assault against another person that is sexual in nature, such as rape or molestation. It can refer to one isolated act or consistent abuse over time. Many different actions can constitute sexual abuse in California:
- Unwanted violent sexual contact of any nature
- Threatening or intimidating someone into consenting to sexual activity
- Unwanted sexual touching, fondling or kissing
- Unwanted penetration of the victim
- Unwanted exposure of the perpetrator’s genitals, anus or a female’s breasts
- Sexual contact with someone who is drunk, drugged or unconscious
- Creating or distributing child pornography
- Sexually exploiting a victim
Sexual abuse or sexual violence can describe accomplishing a sexual act by force, menace, intimidation, duress, intoxication or the victim’s unconsciousness without the victim’s legal consent. It can also refer to sexual acts when someone is incapable of giving his or her legal consent due to age, a mental disorder or a disability. Many different crimes fall under the umbrella of sexual abuse, including sexual harassment, human trafficking, rape, attempted rape, child sexual abuse, indecent exposure, incest, assault, and fondling.
How a Los Angeles Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Help
You may feel hopeless, discouraged, and stressed out in your fight for justice, but retaining a sexual abuse attorney with experience in sexual assault can provide the help and assistance necessary to secure a favorable verdict or settlement on your behalf. At the law firm of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we can take care of all the legal work necessary while you can focus on healing and recovery. This includes:
- Keeping your identity and case private for your safety.
- Formulating a comprehensive case strategy against your accuser
- Determining all the liable parties in your case
- Determining the maximum possible compensation you may pursue
- Retaining the services of other professionals to give you the proper assistance you deserve
- Maintaining contact and negotiations with the at-fault parties on your behalf
- Filing any and all paperwork necessary for your case
Our sexual assault attorneys are dedicated to giving you help in any way that we can.
Types of Sexual Assault Cases We Handle
We are confident that we can effectively address your needs because we have extensive experience in all different types of sexual assault and abuse cases. Some types of sexual assault cases we have litigated include:
- Clergy sexual abuse
- School sexual abuse
- Abuse in youth organizations
- Workplace abuse
- Foster care abuse
- Elder sexual abuse in nursing homes and hospitals
- Rideshare sexual assaults
- Abuse occurring at sports facilities
Because we strive to inspire change at an institutional level, we are not intimidated by well-known organizations, large corporations, and other entities with vast legal support.
Warning Signs of Sexual Assault
Every year, hundreds of thousands of people experience sexual assault and abuse in the U.S. Sadly, many of these sexual assault victims do not come forward or report their perpetrators and live with their secrets in silence. It can be especially difficult for child sexual abuse survivors to speak out after experiencing this type of life-altering trauma. As a parent, guardian, loved one or friend, keep an eye out for common warning signs of sexual assault and abuse in those around you. Pay special attention to children.
- Injuries on or near the genitalia
- Bruising of the upper thighs
- Bloody underwear
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Frequent genital irritation or urinary tract infections
- Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
- A child having unusual knowledge of sexual subjects
- Nightmares, bedwetting or regression in a child
- Behavioral changes, such as mood swings or sudden outbursts
- Unexplained fear or anxiety around a particular person
- Withdrawal, depression or suicidal thoughts
- Substance misuse or abuse
- Self-harming behaviors
If you notice any warning signs of sexual assault, talk to the person openly about your concerns. Let the person know he or she is safe with you and can tell you anything. If you are speaking to a child, let the child know he or she is not in trouble and that you will believe what he or she says. If the person confirms your suspicions about sexual assault, encourage him or her to report it to the police and to get help through a counselor or hotline. Then, when the survivor is ready to seek justice, contact a Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney for a free and completely confidential consultation.
Who is Liable for Sexual Assault in Los Angeles?
At the law firm of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our sexual assault attorneys aim to hold any and all parties accountable for any abuse or assault that has affected our clients. While we often cite the abuser as the primary target, we also go after other parties that should have had some duty of care toward you as a sexual assault victim. This may include:
- The organization or company at which the abuser was hired
- Any school, camp, or other location where the assault took place
- Any law enforcement or local security that was negligent in their attempts to protect you
Often, these organizations fail to provide adequate security or safety to our clients, resulting in the assault. Or, when the assault is formally reported, no measures are taken to ensure the alleged abuser takes responsibility for his or her actions. Although these actions may not have directly led to your assault, we understand that they can contribute to your stresses and emotional state immediately following an assault. Therefore, these parties deserve to be held accountable for any damages they may have caused.
What to Do If You Were Sexually Abused
You deserve justice, closure, and to move on with your life as a sexual abuse survivor. Speaking about your experience may be the hardest thing you ever do. It is extremely important to take certain steps to ensure your safety and help you process what happened, however. Speaking up about sexual abuse or assault can put you on the road to long-term recovery. It can also help others who have experienced the same thing.
- Call the police. If you can, call 911 and report the sexual abuse or assault as soon as possible. Filing a police report is an important step toward bringing the perpetrator to justice. It also establishes the truth of your story, as you will have the details on record.
- Tell a friend or family member. Open up to a trusted friend or family member who makes you feel safe. Have that person come stay with you or spend time with you after a sexual trauma. Reaching out right away can help you combat feelings of anxiety, disassociation, and depression – all of which can exacerbate trauma.
- Visit a medical provider. With help from your friend or family member, visit a health care center and seek medical treatment within the first few days of the sexual assault. A practitioner will conduct a sexual assault forensic exam to obtain important DNA evidence and provide the medical care you need. This step may be difficult and the last thing you wish to do as a sexual assault survivor. However, it can be critical for collecting evidence against the offender.
- Talk to a counseling center. Facing what happened may be a lifelong battle. You do not have to go through it alone. There are trained professionals available to talk to you about your experience, trauma and feelings. Call a sexual abuse counselor, mental health provider or the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673). Professional help can allow you to learn healthy coping mechanisms and heal.
- Contact a sexual abuse attorney. Once you have tended to your physical, emotional and mental well-being, reach out to a sexual abuse attorney in Los Angeles for a free consultation and advice about taking legal action. It may not be enough to hold your abuser criminally liable. He or she may also be civilly liable, meaning you will be eligible for financial compensation. A civil lawsuit could give you the money you need to pay for counseling and finally move forward.
Struggling with what to do after experiencing sexual abuse or assault is normal. You may feel scared, traumatized or powerless as a survivor. Breaking your silence and using the right channels to report the perpetrator and seek justice, however, can give you your power back. Telling your story is an empowering way to obtain justice and help other survivors do the same. You are not alone in the fight against sexual abuse. Partner with friends, the authorities, medical providers, counselors and sexual abuse attorneys for effective long-term recovery.
Time Limits for Filing a Sexual Abuse Claim in California
You only have a certain number of years to come forward with a civil claim against an assailant. Most civil cases in California come with time limits, known as statutes of limitations, by which a plaintiff must file or else lose the right to obtain compensation from the defendant. These deadlines keep the justice system fair for both sides of a case by encouraging prompt legal action. Each type of tort claim in California has different statutes of limitations. These deadlines can be confusing and may require clarification from a Los Angeles sexual assault attorney.
- 10 years for survivors 18 and older. Under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 340.16, any civil action on the grounds of sexual assault will come with a time limit of 10 years from the last act or attempted act of assault if the plaintiff was 18 years old or older at the time of the crime.
- Three-year discovery exception. If the survivor did not discover that his or her injury, illness or mental health condition resulted from sexual assault, the plaintiff will have a time limit of three years from the date he or she made or reasonably should have made this discovery to file, even if this exceeds the 10-year mark.
- 40th birthday for underage sexual assault victims. If the survivor was under the age of 18 when he or she experienced sexual abuse, the survivor will have until his or her 40th birthday to file a civil lawsuit or five years from the date he or she discovered the sexual abuse. This law was recently changed under Assembly Bill 218 to extend the previous deadline.
AB 218 also gives a three-year grace period, starting January 1, 2020, to file civil claims that were barred under California’s previous statute of limitations. You may have the right to file today, therefore, even if you missed California’s last deadline. California’s time limits for filing sexual abuse claims also have exceptions. It is crucial to discuss your case with a sexual abuse lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as you can to make sure you do not miss your deadline to file. Filing too late could mean the courts rejecting your case and barring you from financial recovery.
Compensation for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Los Angeles, CA
Financial compensation might be the last thing on your mind as a sexual abuse survivor in Los Angeles. As your medical expenses and lost wages climb, however, you may turn to the civil justice system to hold the perpetrator or another party financially responsible. Bringing a successful sexual abuse claim in Los Angeles could compensate you for losses such as:
- Medical treatments
- Mental health services
- Physical injuries
- Losses of income
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
- Legal costs
You could also be eligible for wrongful death compensation if a loved one died due to a crime, including the costs of a funeral and burial. Discuss the potential value of your sexual assault claim with our sexual abuse attorneys today for more information.
Schedule a Free & Confidential Consultation With a Sexual Assault Lawyer in Los Angeles
If you or a loved on is a survivor of sexual abuse or assault, please contact us today to discuss your case. We are not afraid to take on churches, school districts, and Fortune 500 companies – we will not rest until you receive the justice and closure that you deserve. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with our sexual assault attorneys, and let our law firm help you today.