San Francisco Hazing Sexual Abuse Lawyers
Hazing is a dangerous problem that still pervades many schools, universities and organizations today despite laws being passed to prevent it. Hazing rituals can easily escalate into sexual assault and heinous sex crimes, especially when they also involve alcohol. At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we recognize the extreme dangers of what some might consider harmless pranks or funny initiation requirements. As your sexual abuse or assault attorneys, we will believe and protect you. Speak to a San Francisco hazing sexual abuse lawyer today at (855) 204-3493.
Why Choose Us?
- We know exactly how to handle even the most complicated sexual abuse and assault cases. We have been doing this for over 25 years and are America’s leading sexual abuse law firm.
- Your lawyer will always put your needs first. We can keep your identity anonymous throughout your hazing sexual abuse lawsuit, if desired.
- We have achieved outstanding case results for sexual abuse survivors in California and around the nation. We were named to California’s Top 100 Attorneys by the Los Angeles Daily Journal
- Our California sexual hazing lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will only pay your lawyer if you receive financial compensation for your claim.
What Is Hazing?
Hazing refers to a series of tasks or rituals required by a group or team before a new prospect can join. It is common among athletic teams, clubs, sororities and fraternities, military groups, and other “elite” or “exclusive” organizations. Hazing rituals often put participants through degrading, grueling, humiliating, dangerous, physically taxing or emotionally traumatic tests. Sadly, hazing is more dangerous and violent than most parents think.
When a group of kids, teens or young adults get together and give themselves the power to test their peers, recklessness and bad decision-making can abound due to a “mob mentality.” In many cases, violent or sexualized hazing rituals are committed by people who had to go through them themselves.
Hazing rituals can lead to serious physical injuries for those involved, including burns, broken bones, traumatic brain injuries and alcohol poisoning. It can also cause immense emotional, mental and psychological damage. In the worst cases, hazing can be deadly. In many situations, hazing crosses the line into sexual assault and abuse.
What Is Hazing Sexual Abuse?
Hazing sexual abuse, also known as “sexual hazing,” refers to sex crimes committed under the guise of a hazing ritual. It can describe sexual assault, molestation, inappropriate touching, fondling, groping, penetration, oral copulation, sodomy, exhibitionism, voyeurism, pornography, rape or attempted rape during a hazing event. The students or group members in charge of hazing use the imbalance of power between them and new initiates to abuse the latter for either party’s sexual pleasure, gratification, humiliation or abuse.
Hazing that is meant to put the initiate in physical discomfort or emotional anguish may escalate to sexual assault and abuse. For example, hazing may seek to humiliate an initiate by forcing him or her to participate in sexual activities with group members. Violent hazing can lead to forced penetration, sodomy, paddling and other examples of physical sexual misconduct. These rituals can be extremely traumatic and harmful for survivors.
Is Hazing Against the Law in California?
Yes. California Penal Code Section 245.6 is the state’s law against hazing. It defines hazing as “any method of initiation or preinitiation into a student organization or student body (whether or not it is officially recognized by an educational institution) which is likely to cause serious bodily injury to any former, current or prospective student.”
A violation of California’s hazing law is punishable by a misdemeanor, a fine of $100 to $5,000 and/or jail time for not more than one year if it does not cause serious bodily injury. If hazing results in serious bodily injury or death, it is a misdemeanor or felony punishable by jail or imprisonment for up to one year.
What Are Your Legal Rights and Options as a Survivor of Hazing Sexual Abuse?
In addition to sexual hazing being an offense that can result in criminal consequences, it is also a civil tort. This means an offender can face civil penalties. Committing a sex crime as part of a hazing ritual can give the victim the right to file a civil lawsuit. This type of legal action seeks justice from the aggressor in the form of financial compensation for the victim’s past and future losses.
By holding an individual and/or institution – such as a school or university – accountable for hazing sexual abuse, you could recover the following types of compensation:
- Necessary required medical care after sexual or violent hazing
- Lost education or career opportunities
- Attorney’s fees and out-of-pocket costs
- Permanent physical and/or emotional scarring
- Psychotherapy or psychiatric care
- Prescription medications, such as for anxiety or depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages to punish the defendant
Many hazing lawsuits name larger institutions as the defendants rather than the aggressors alone. This is because institutions such as schools and sports organizations have a legal obligation to protect their students and athletes. This includes implementing anti-hazing policies and taking actionable steps to prevent these dangerous rituals from starting or continuing. Filing a lawsuit can hold wrongdoers accountable, lead to safety changes on an institutional level and compensate you for various losses.
How a Sexual Hazing Attorney in San Francisco Can Help
Being a victim of hazing that involved sexual harassment, assault or abuse means you are most likely dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil and trauma in recovery. At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, our sexual hazing attorneys can make the legal process as simple and rewarding for you as possible. We will listen to you, pursue your case goals and make sure you have everything you need to get through this difficult time. We can aggressively pursue the best possible results for your case while providing peace of mind when you need it most.
Speak to an Attorney During a Free and Confidential Consultation in San Francisco
If you or someone you love is a survivor of hazing sexual abuse in San Francisco or elsewhere in California, help is available. Our San Francisco sexual abuse attorneys can represent you in a claim or lawsuit against the perpetrators, as well as the institution that failed to protect you. Learn more about how we can help during a free, 100-percent confidential case consultation. Call us at (855) 204-3493 or contact us online today.