San Francisco Elected Official Sexual Abuse Attorney
Many sexual abuse scenarios arise from imbalances of power. A perpetrator may take advantage of his or her position of power to sexually abuse or assault a victim. This includes abuse by an elected official who targets a person in a vulnerable or less powerful position, such as an intern, assistant or citizen.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by an elected official in San Francisco, contact an attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for a free and confidential consultation right away. We can help you understand your eligibility for financial compensation and pursue the justice that you deserve.
What Is Elected Official Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse and sexual assault are often used interchangeably. California’s definition of sexual assault or battery under Penal Code Section 243.4 is anyone who touches the intimate part of another person while the victim is unlawfully restrained, if the touching is against the will of the victim, and it is done for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse. Sexual abuse typically refers to an ongoing pattern of sexual assault rather than an isolated incident, or the grooming of a victim over time for the purpose of committing sex crimes.
Elected official sexual abuse is this crime being committed by anyone working for the California State or San Francisco government, including:
- Governor of California
- Secretary of State
- Attorney General
- State Senator
- San Francisco City Mayor
- City Council Member
- District Supervisor
- Supreme Court Justice
- Public Defender
- District Attorney
- San Francisco City Attorney
- Fire Chief
Some incidents of sexual assault are blatant, while others are more difficult to identify. They can include any unwanted or non-consensual kissing, hugging, groping, inappropriate touching, penetration, forced oral copulation, rape, sodomy or attempted rape. You may not immediately realize that you have been sexually assaulted or harassed by an elected official, especially if it is someone that you trust. However, it is important to recognize this crime and understand your rights as a sexual abuse victim.
What to Do if You Are Sexually Abused by an Elected Official in San Francisco
If you suffer from sexual abuse or any type of sex crime by an elected official in San Francisco, put your safety and well-being first. Get to a safe location away from the perpetrator and tell someone what happened. Confide in a trusted friend or family member or go directly to the authorities with your story. In an emergency (such as if you fear for your safety), call 911. If you worked in an office with or around the perpetrator, report the incident to human resources at your job, as well.
Know that what happened is not your fault. Go to a hospital or health care center right away for a sexual assault forensic exam. This will help you receive professional medical care for any injuries or trauma that you suffered due to sexual abuse. It can also search for and collect any available evidence to prove that the crime was committed, such as photographs of physical marks on your body. A forensic exam can also collect DNA evidence against the elected official to help with a criminal or civil case later.
Do not be afraid to come forward with your story. Elected officials may hold positions of power, but do not let that silence or intimidate you. Help is available through local law enforcement as well as a sexual abuse attorney in San Francisco. You do not have to face a powerful person in office alone. Bringing a lawsuit against the person who abused you can shed light on the individual’s crimes as well as deeper systemic issues within the political institution. It can also give you the sense of closure and justice that you need to move forward with your life.
Who Is Liable for Elected Official Sexual Abuse?
Liability – legal and financial responsibility for a civil tort – looks a little different in a sexual abuse claim when it is brought against an elected official in California. Rather than holding an individual perpetrator liable, you may be able to hold the city, county or state government vicariously responsible.
The legal doctrine of vicarious liability states that a party can be held responsible for the actions of its agents, employees or subordinates. This rule may enable you to name a larger government agency as a defendant in your sexual abuse claim against an elected official. This could lead to greater insurance coverage and financial compensation being made available to you as a victim.
Bringing a claim against a government entity in California comes with special rules under the state’s Tort Claims Act. For instance, you may have a shorter deadline. Most tort claims brought against the government must be initiated within six months of the injury or incident. However, there may be an exception for a case involving sexual assault, as these cases are often granted extensions.
Compensation Available to Sexual Abuse Survivors
Experiencing sexual abuse or assault from an elected official is devastating in multiple ways. You may suffer from various long-term effects, including post-traumatic stress disorder and loss of enjoyment of life. No amount of money can make up for the harm that you have suffered. Bringing a claim against the elected official who abused you, however, can help you move on with less financial stress.
You may be eligible for compensation to cover your necessary medical costs, hospital bills, counseling, therapy, medications, relocation, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, legal costs, attorney’s fees, and more. You may also be entitled to punitive damages, which is a special type of award sometimes granted in a sexual abuse case to punish the defendant.
Contact an Experienced San Francisco Elected Official Sexual Abuse Attorney
Elected official sexual abuse is something that many survivors find difficult to talk about. The immense power that many elected officials have in the community and government can make them intimidating adversaries. At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we can help you level the playing field. We will give you the tools you need to tell your story and fight for justice. Our San Francisco elected official sexual harassment attorneys can also keep your identity anonymous throughout the legal process, if desired.
Contact us online or call (800) 700-8450 today to learn more about how we can help you during a free and confidential case evaluation.