San Diego Sexual Abuse Lawyer
If you or a loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse in the City of San Diego, we can help. Our attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi are passionate about going up against individuals and institutions and holding them accountable for sexual abuse and assault. We have achieved record-breaking results for past clients through our hard work and determination. More importantly, we have helped victims get their power back and obtain the justice that they deserve. Contact us to find out how we can help you.
What Makes Us the Right Choice?
- We are one of the leaders in sexual abuse litigation in the country. We have handled high-profile cases and helped to change the laws surrounding these claims, including the deadline to file.
- Our founder, Attorney John C. Manly, has been successfully representing sexual abuse survivors for more than 25 years. He has the experience necessary to provide strong legal advocacy.
- Your needs will come first and foremost as our client. If you wish to remain anonymous during your lawsuit, we can keep your information confidential for your safety and peace of mind.
What Is Sexual Abuse? What Are Your Rights as a Survivor?
Sexual abuse means to physically, verbally or visually interact with a person in a sexual manner against that person’s will or without their consent. Typically, sexual abuse describes an ongoing pattern of sexual assault over time, such as a pedophile grooming and abusing a minor over a number of years. Sexual abuse can describe many different actions and behaviors, including:
- Using force, threats, fraud or intimidation to commit sex crimes.
- Engaging in any type of sexual activity with someone who is unable to give consent, such as a minor.
- Inappropriate touching, fondling, groping, kissing, hugging or massaging.
- Sexual molestation, penetration, sodomy, rape or attempted rape.
- A doctor sexually assaulting a patient under the guise of professional medical care.
- Taking explicit photographs without a victim’s consent or knowledge.
- Creating, developing or distributing pornographic images of children.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused in San Diego, you have the right to seek accountability for the crimes against you. An attorney can help you hold one or more parties responsible, such as a perpetrator or an institution that turned a blind eye to your abuse (e.g., a church or school). A civil lawsuit could bring you the closure and financial compensation that you need as a survivor
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Many victims of sexual abuse – especially young children – keep their suffering to themselves. They may not come forward or report sexual abuse for fear of retaliation from the perpetrator or of not being believed. A child may also not understand that what is happening to him or her is wrong. It is often up to the people around an abuse survivor to notice the signs of this crime and to speak up.
- Bruising on the upper thighs
- Injuries on or near the genitalia
- Trouble walking or sitting
- Pain when going to the bathroom
- Bloody or stained undergarments or sheets
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Unkempt appearance
- Signs of self-harm or cutting
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Teen pregnancy
- Acting out
- Aggressive behaviors or outbursts
- Hostility or irritation
- Unusual or inappropriate knowledge of sexual activity (in small children)
- Regression or bedwetting (in small children)
- Changes in personality
- Reduced performance in school
- Loss of interest in friends or activities
- Withdrawal from others
- Changes in appetite or sleep schedule
- Substance abuse
- Criminal activity
- Expressing feelings of fear or anxiety
- Nightmares or flashbacks
- Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Suicidal thoughts or actions
- Withdrawal from others
- Reduced self-esteem or self-image
A sexual abuse survivor may exhibit one, several or none of these signs. It is important to always be on the lookout for possible indicators of sexual abuse and assault, especially as a parent, teacher or someone else who regularly interacts with children. An adult who is a perpetrator may try to create a close relationship with the child, groom the child by giving gifts or special attention, or try to get the child alone. Be alert for these red flags. Remember that a sexual abuser could be a close friend or even a family member.
What to Do if You Suspect Sexual Abuse
If someone has reported sexual abuse to you or you have another reason to suspect that someone you know is suffering from this crime, speak up. First, be there for the survivor. Listen and express that you believe him or her and, if it is a child, that the child isn’t in trouble. Tell the survivor that he or she is safe and that you can help. Then, take the following steps:
- Call the police. If it is an emergency or the victim is in imminent danger, call 911 immediately to report the crime and get help.
- Go to a hospital. Bring the survivor to a doctor or hospital for a sexual assault forensic exam right away, ideally within 72 hours of the sexual assault.
- Alert the SDPD Sex Crimes Unit. If it is not an emergency and the victim is over the age of 14, report the crime to the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000.
- Notify child welfare services. If the incident involves a child, contact San Diego’s Child Abuse Hotline at (858) 560-2191 to report your suspicions.
- Seek professional help. Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-4673 can put you in touch with a trained professional who can provide counseling, advice and information.
Once the survivor feels safe and is ready to seek justice, call Manly, Stewart & Finaldi at (855) 944-0710 to arrange a free, confidential case evaluation with a sexual abuse attorney in San Diego. Our lawyers represent sexual abuse and assault survivors in San Diego County and throughout California. We are passionate about giving our clients a voice in the civil justice system and demanding civil accountability for these terrible crimes.
Who Can You Hold Liable for Sexual Abuse in California?
A criminal case against a sexual abuser is just one-half of the justice system. The other is a civil lawsuit brought against the perpetrator and/or an organization that turned a blind eye to sexual abuse. A civil sexual abuse case in San Diego can hold one or more defendants responsible for allowing the abuse or assault to take place. Common defendants named in these cases are:
- The perpetrator
- An employer or company
- A teacher
- A school or college
- A daycare center
- A youth organization
- A sports coach
- A gymnasium
- The Boys and Girls Club of America
- A church or religious leader
- A doctor or health care center
- Foster parents
- A massage spa
- A nursing home
Filing a civil lawsuit in addition to a criminal case can provide greater justice for the survivor. It can force an institution to take accountability for its part in allowing sexual abuse to occur, as well as implement changes that could protect other people in the future. It can also result in financial compensation to help the survivor move forward with the medical care, psychiatric help, medications and financial peace of mind that he or she deserves.
What Types of Compensation Are Available for Sexual Abuse Survivors in California?
Our highly experienced sexual abuse attorneys in San Diego, California know that making a profit is the last thing on the minds of our clients. They bring civil lawsuits against their perpetrators and complicit parties to shed light on some of the darkest places in their communities, as well as to get the closure that they need to move on with their lives. It is also our mission, however, to maximize the financial outcome of each case so that our clients are fully compensated for the wide-ranging and far-reaching effects that sexual abuse has had on their lives.
A sexual abuse claim in San Diego could result in compensation for the following damages, and more:
- Past, present and future foreseeable medical expenses
- The cost of seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist for mental health disorders associated with abuse
- Prescription and over-the-counter medications
- Lost wages from having to miss days at work
- Relocation or travel expenses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Fear, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Lost or damaged personal relationships
- Lost quality or enjoyment of life
- Out-of-pocket costs, including attorney’s fees
- Punitive or exemplary damages
The case results that we are proud to secure for our clients can be life-changing. A fair and full settlement or judgment award for a San Diego sexual abuse case can mean the financial freedom to move on from this traumatic crime and start a new life. To discuss the potential value of your sexual abuse lawsuit with one of our attorneys, request a free consultation. We will give you an accurate and honest case evaluation, as well as discuss strategies for how to achieve maximum compensation.
California’s Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse
A statute of limitations is a law that places a time limit on a plaintiff’s right to file a civil lawsuit. With only a few exceptions, if you do not file a claim within your statute of limitations, you will give up the right to hold a defendant legally accountable. California’s statute of limitations on child sexual abuse lawsuits used to be the victim’s 26th birthday. After recognizing that it often takes decades for a victim to come to terms with childhood sexual abuse, however, California lawmakers extended the statute of limitations with Assembly Bill 218.
AB 218 changed the statute of limitations on childhood sexual assault in California to either five years of the date that the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered the abuse or the victim’s 40th birthday, whichever is later. This bill also created a three-year window, beginning on January 1, 2020, in which plaintiffs who were previously barred from filing by the prior statute of limitations can resubmit their claims.
Seek Justice With Help From Our San Diego Sexual Abuse Attorneys
At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we have years of experience successfully representing clients in lawsuits against individuals, schools, churches, dioceses, sports organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs, and more. We can help if you or someone you know has suffered sexual abuse or assault. Your future begins with a free, confidential consultation at our local Southern California law firm. Call (855) 944-0710 or submit our contact form today.