San Francisco Private School Sexual Abuse Lawyer

 Attending a private school in San Francisco should not put you at risk of a life-changing crime such as sexual abuse. Unfortunately, this is what happens to thousands of students around the country every year. Private school sexual abuse can inflict lifelong harm on a survivor. At Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, we are committed to helping survivors seek the justice and financial compensation that they deserve. We can help you during this difficult time as you fight for answers. Contact us today for a free and private case review with an attorney.

San Francisco Private School Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Why Choose Us?

  • You will work with a nationally recognized team of sexual assault and abuse attorneys that has recovered millions in positive case results for past clients.
  • Our founder and managing partner, Attorney John C. Manly, has successfully represented private school sexual abuse survivors for more than 20 years.
  • We are not intimidated by any adversary. We can stand up to any institution on your behalf, including an elite private school in San Francisco.
  • Our attorneys take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will not pay anything in attorney’s fees unless we successfully secure compensation for your claim.

San Francisco Private School Sexual Abuse

How a San Francisco Private School Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help

Working with a sexual abuse attorney in San Francisco can give you peace of mind when it comes to pursuing a personal injury claim. Rather than navigating California’s sexual assault laws, the civil justice system, insurance settlement negotiations with a private school or a lawsuit on your own, have an attorney take over the complicated aspects of your case for you. You can trust your lawyer to act only in your best interests. 

You can focus on healing the trauma of private school sexual abuse while your lawyer fights for fair case results on your behalf. An attorney will listen to your story and investigate the incident. After identifying the liable party or parties, your lawyer can search for and collect evidence to help prove your civil claim. Then, your lawyer will engage in settlement negotiations with an insurance provider or take your case to trial in San Francisco County, if necessary.

Examples of Private School Sexual Abuse

San Francisco is home to 112 private schools for children of all ages. Private schools include those that are privately owned, owned by church organizations, all-girls and all-boys schools, boarding schools, and orphanages. Sexual abuse can occur at any private school in the state, including top-rated schools that are advertised as safe. Private school sexual abuse can take many forms, including: 

Children under the age of 18 cannot legally give their consent to sexual activity in California. This includes consent to sex acts with adults as well as older students. In addition, sexual relationships between teachers and students are prohibited due to the imbalance of power (inherently unequal positions) between the two parties, even if the student is over the age of 18. Finally, most private schools in San Francisco have policies against teachers dating students. 

Signs of Private School Sexual Abuse

Suffering from sexual abuse at school can have many effects on a victim. This terrible crime can inflict immense physical, emotional and psychological suffering on a student that could last for the rest of the survivor’s life. As a parent, you may be able to detect potential signs of private school sexual abuse by paying attention to how your child looks and behaves. Signs of student sexual abuse can include: 

  • Physical signs, such as genital injuries or bloody undergarments
  • Unusual knowledge of sexual subjects for the child’s age
  • Nightmares, bedwetting or regression
  • Touching other students inappropriately
  • Fear or anxiety surrounding a certain person or place
  • Reluctance to go to school or school-related events
  • Poor performance in school
  • Changes in personality or behavior
  • Lack of personal hygiene or unkempt appearance 
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Outbursts, aggression or irritability
  • Depression or chronic anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Self-harm behaviors or suicidal tendencies

The signs of sexual abuse can depend on the age of the victim. If your child attends a private school in San Francisco and you have reason to suspect sexual abuse or an inappropriate relationship at school, talk to him or her about the situation. Explain that he or she is not in trouble and is in a safe place. Then, get your child the medical care that he or she needs. Report your suspicions to the authorities, including the police and school administrators, and contact an attorney for legal advice. 

Private Schools Are Responsible for Student Safety

When you send your child to a private school in San Francisco County, you have the right to expect the utmost care from school administrators, teachers and staff members. This includes a duty of care to protect students from sexual assault and abuse. Every school in California must adhere to state and federal laws regarding student safety, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which requires all public and private schools to address sexual harassment and sexual violence. A private school’s responsibilities include:

  • Designating at least one employee as a Title IX coordinator.
  • Properly vetting and background-checking new teachers, coaches and other staff members.
  • Implementing and enforcing no-tolerance sexual abuse policies.
  • Offering a safe and anonymous way for students to report sexual abuse.
  • Responding quickly and appropriately to reports or allegations of sexual abuse.
  • Conducting thorough investigations into sexual assault complaints.
  • Taking immediate action to eliminate sexual harassment or sexual violence.
  • Taking appropriate steps to resolve the issue, such as terminating sexually abusive teachers.
  • Preventing the recurrence of sex crimes against students.

If a private school fails to fulfill all of its legal obligations or duties of care, it could be held liable (legally and financially responsible) for incidents of student sexual abuse or assault. The victim or victim’s parents could file a civil lawsuit against the individual or entity that owns the private school in pursuit of financial compensation. Private schools can also be held vicariously liable for the criminal acts of their employees, such as teachers and coaches.

Civil Case vs. Criminal Case for Private School Sexual Abuse

The perpetrator who sexually assaulted or abused you in a private school could face both criminal and civil penalties. You do not have to choose between the two. You can – and should – do both. Criminal charges could lead to a sex crime conviction against the offender, which may result in a sentence of jail time, fines, registration on the California Sex Offender List (which lasts for life) and restitution paid to you.

Filing a civil claim can deliver additional justice. You can receive financial relief as a survivor with a successful settlement or judgment award received for the damages connected to the crime. A lawsuit also gives you the unique opportunity to hold the perpetrator or institution accountable for the wrongdoing committed against you. Filing a lawsuit against a private school in San Francisco can shed light on the improper protocols or procedures at the school that are failing to protect students and prevent sexual abuse.

What Is the Deadline on a Private School Sexual Abuse Claim in San Francisco?

A California law called the statute of limitations gives you a strict deadline if you wish to bring a civil claim for private school sexual abuse. As of January 1, 2023, California extended its statute of limitations for sexual assault claims. It now allows survivors to file claims for assaults that occurred many years ago.  

If you were abused as a minor at a private school in San Francisco, you have until age 40 to file a related lawsuit or 5 years from the date that you discovered an injury connected to child sexual abuse – whichever is later. Victims who were assaulted over the age of 18 have 10 years from the date of the assault or 3 years from the date of injury discovery, whichever is later.

The deadline to file a sexual abuse claim in California may be longer now than before, but you still should not delay. Taking prompt legal action can help you build a stronger case, as evidence will be easier to obtain. Over time, for example, you may forget details about the attack or witness statements may be less reliable. DNA evidence from the perpetrator may also be lost or destroyed. This is why you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.

Compensation Available for Survivors of Private School Sexual Abuse

Bringing a civil claim for the tort of private school sexual abuse could result in financial compensation being paid to you by one or multiple defendants. A successful insurance settlement or sexual abuse lawsuit could pay for several of your past and future losses. You could receive both economic and noneconomic damages, including: 

  • Present and future estimated medical costs
  • Prescription medications
  • Psychological counseling
  • Lost wages
  • Relocation costs
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Reduced quality or enjoyment of life
  • Legal fees and court costs

Any tangible and intangible losses you suffered because of the crime could be listed as damages in your lawsuit. In addition, you could receive punitive damages – a financial award preserved for cases that involve malice, oppression or fraud by the defendant. Punitive damages punish a defendant for especially wrongful acts. Our lawyers can properly evaluate your claim to determine its value. Then, we can use proven legal strategies to seek maximum financial compensation. 

How to Report Private School Sexual Abuse in San Francisco

How to Report Private School Sexual Abuse in San Francisco

If you or a loved one has been sexually abused at a private school in San Francisco, get help right away. Go to a hospital for immediate medical attention. If it is within five days of the incident, request a sexual assault forensic exam, where trained professionals will conduct a full-body exam to search for and document any signs of sexual assault. It is best not to shower or change your clothes before receiving this exam, if possible.

Tell someone about the assault that you suffered. Start by opening up to a trusted friend or family member; or, if you wish to remain anonymous, contact the national sexual assault hotline. Then, report the crime to the authorities by calling 911 in an emergency or the San Francisco Police Department’s non-emergency number at (415) 553-0123. Report the crime to the private school, as well. The school should have sexual assault reporting protocols in place that you can follow. 

While the details are still fresh in your mind, write down exactly what happened. Include everything you remember, such as a description of the perpetrator (or his or her name, if known), as well as the date, time and location of each attack. Consider going to a therapist or psychologist to help you deal with the emotional side of being sexually abused. Remember that you are safe, you are not to blame, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.  

When you’re ready to take legal action against your perpetrator and/or the private school that failed to protect you from sexual abuse, contact Manly, Stewart & Finaldi to arrange a free case consultation. Our experienced attorneys can help you hold someone accountable while preserving your rights, safety, mental peace and best interests.

Get Help From an Experienced San Francisco Private School Sexual Abuse Attorney

 You are not alone as a survivor of private school sexual abuse in San Francisco or the Bay Area. The attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi are here to support and guide you while you focus on healing and moving on from this unthinkable crime. As your attorneys, we will relentlessly pursue your goals for the future – including holding the perpetrator and private school responsible for their actions. We are a team of preeminent legal advocates ready to help you seek justice. 

Contact us today to speak to an experienced private school sexual abuse lawyer in San Francisco. Initial consultations are always free and 100 percent confidential. Call (855) 934-0468 for immediate assistance.