There is perhaps no greater betrayal than the sexual exploitation of a child or vulnerable adult by a person in a position of trust—be they a coach, clergy, teacher, or other caretaker. This kind of abuse can leave physical and emotional scars that can last a lifetime, often impacting the victim’s ability to have healthy relationships for years. Sadly, this kind of trauma remains an all-too-frequent occurrence. And the hurt is compounded when people and institutions around the abuser knew of the risks and failed to take decisive corrective action.
Without question, the direct perpetrators should be criminally prosecuted, imprisoned, and made to pay restitution to their victims. But civil liability plays an important role in helping the victim and encouraging institutions to protect others in the future. When government agencies, religious organizations, educational institutions, youth groups, nursing homes, and others tasked with protecting our the most vulnerable from sexual predators fail in their duty—or intentionally look the other way—they should be held accountable. If you or someone in your care has been a victim of sexual abuse, sexual molestation, or sexual assault, you should speak with an experienced attorney to understand the potential recourse that may be available.