Sexual Assault Lawyers
Representing Sexual Assault Victims and Survivors
Sanford Heisler Sharp proudly stands up for victims and survivors of sexual assault in cases across the country. If you were sexually assaulted by a person of authority, especially if they were enabled or harbored by a larger organization, then our sexual assault attorneys want to hear from you. With more than 30 years of legal experience focused on crime victim advocacy, we can amplify your voice in and out of the courtroom. Monetary compensation cannot undo what has happened to you, but it could help you move on by achieving a sense of justice and stability again.
Find out more about sexual assault lawsuits filed for victims and survivors by dialing 646-512-8609 now.
What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault can be categorized as any sexual act against someone else without their consent. The legal terminology of consent changes slightly from state to state, but it is generally accepted that consent cannot exist if the victim was coerced, threatened, intoxicated, or underage. A sexual act can range from intercourse to kissing and groping.
Who are the Perpetrators of Sexual Assault?
Incidents of sexual assault are perpetrated by many different types of offenders. The underlying thread among them all is that they force a sexual act against someone who did not consent to it.
Typically, perpetrators of sexual assault in civil lawsuits have been enabled by larger organizations like the companies that employ them. On the other hand, in criminal sexual assault cases, the defendant is usually the individual who is accused of the abuse.
Cases Against Third-Party Entities and Institutions
Our sexual assault lawyers at Sanford Heisler Sharp focus on sexual assault claims and lawsuits brought against powerful institutions. We are here to use our knowledge, resources, and reputation to empower clients in cases that otherwise would feel impossible to win. No matter who sexually assaulted you or what institution was protecting or employing them, we can handle it.
We can bring cases against these large institutions, nationwide organizations, and more:
- Religious institutions: Catholic dioceses across the country have been in the headlines in recent years for attempting to cover up decades of sexual abuse that primarily targeted young boys and teenagers. Countless lawsuits have already formed against the Catholic Church for allowing such terrible misdeeds to go unchecked for so long.
- Schools: We can bring lawsuits against schools, colleges, and universities that fail to take appropriate action after students on campus are sexually assaulted, either by professors or other students. Title IX lawsuits are one such legal remedy to on-campus sexual assault.
- Youth groups: Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is perhaps the most famous youth group that is under intense criticism in recent years for failing to protect its young members from sexual offenders. Thousands of BSA staff, including leaders and volunteers, have been named in documents that allege decades and decades of sexual abuse and violence against the children.
- Medical institutions: Medical institutions can be held liable for the sexual assaults carried out by their staff, especially if the institution knew or should have known about the risk of that staff member assaulting a patient. No medical group is exempt from this responsibility. Even the U.S. Olympic Committee has been under fire for ignoring reports that a USA Gymnastics team doctor was sexually abusing his patients.
- Prisons: The number of reports of sexual assault at prisons has increased by a startling amount in recent years. We are looking into cases involving prisons, women’s prisons, “shock incarceration” prisons, and others from around the country. We believe that convicts deserve the same legal protections from abuse as anyone else—and we are willing to fight for that belief.
- Law enforcement departments: When a criminal suspect is in custody, they still deserve the full protection of the law. They are, after all, innocent until proven guilty. We proudly stand up for men and women who are brave enough to report sexual harassment and abuse while in police custody.
Difference Between Criminal and Civil Claims
A sexual assault incident can be followed by two different types of claims:
- Criminal: A criminal case is brought by the state or the federal government that has charged the offender with one or more criminal offenses. The prosecution will attempt to prove that the defendant carried out the sexual assault and should be convicted and sentenced for it.
- Civil: A civil case is brought by the victim of the sexual assault against the alleged perpetrator and any institutions that harbored, enabled, or employed them. The claimant will attempt to show that the assault did happen and that it caused damages that should be rectified with financial compensation.
Importantly, criminal and civil cases are deliberately kept separate under the law. While evidence from one case can be used in the other, the outcomes of each case do not influence each other. That is to say, you can file a civil case for damages against the sexual assailant and institution even if that party was never convicted of a related crime.
Long-Term Harm Caused by Sexual Assault
In many cases of sexual assault, the worst harm caused by the incident doesn’t happen immediately. Instead, it can take years or decades before the victim realizes what was done to them and the full extent of how it has impacted their day-to-day life and well-being.
People who were sexually assaulted, especially as children, can struggle with:
- General anxiety disorder (GAD) and depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Trusting others and new people
- Holding gainful employment due to socialization struggles
When we work on a sexual assault lawsuit, we consider how the incident or incidents have hurt our client beyond what might be obvious. If you have lived with years of trauma that has stunted your emotional growth and stability, then it makes sense to demand a greater amount of compensation.
What to Do Following a Sexual Assault
The actions that you take after being sexually assaulted can vary depending on the unique circumstances of the attack. You will have to decide exactly what you want to do to seek help while also staying safe. However, we can share a quick list of steps and decisions that are usually helpful.
After a sexual assault, you should consider:
- Calling 911 if you are in a safe, secure location and want to report the crime.
- Calling the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-4673) if you are in a safe, secure location and aren’t sure that you want to report the crime yet.
- Going to the police and using a “rape kit” that can collect evidence of sexual assault shortly after it occurs.
- Seeing a medical professional for a checkup and advice about possible sexual health care that might be necessary now.
- Contacting our law firm to see if you should consider filing a lawsuit against the party that assaulted you and any larger organization that protected them.
Please know that you can reach out to us for help, regardless of what steps you took after being sexually assaulted. You can even talk to us about an incident that happened many years in the past.
What Compensation is Available to Sexual Assault Survivors?
The compensation that is available to you as a sexual assault survivor will depend on the details of your case. It could also vary depending on how your case is being handled. For example, the extent of compensation that you receive could look much different if you have an individual claim or are a plaintiff in a larger class action lawsuit.
Generally, sexual assault survivors can demand at least these damage types:
- Pain, suffering, and emotional traumatization
- Lessened enjoyment of life
- Cost of any necessary medical treatments
- Punitive damages to punish the offender
Is There a Time Limit to Seek Compensation?
The statute of limitations on sexual violence claims varies noticeably from one case to another. Some cases will only give a sexual survivor two years to take legal action, for example. In other states, though, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until knowledge of the assault is brought to light. This extended statute of limitations is used to encourage people to finally speak up after being sexually abused as children who were manipulated into thinking that there was no legal recourse available to them.
To learn the statute of limitations on sexual assault claims in your state, call 646-512-8609 whenever you are ready. We can advise you of your rights, no matter where you call home. Our team works with clients nationwide.
Importance of Hiring a Sexual Assault Lawyer
When a sexual assault claim is filed against an institution, you can be sure that the institution will spare no expense to defend itself. No major organization – from a nationwide religious group to a large corporation – wants to admit that it failed to take even the most basic steps to protect people from sexual assault. Such groups would much rather spend significant funds to challenge the case from the start.
It is important that you hire a sexual assault attorney right away, so your case is not pushed around by the defendant. With our team acting on your behalf, you can be confident that you have the power to stand up for your rights as a sexual assault survivor. You can also feel less stress in knowing that we are there to handle all parts of your case for you.
Count on our team to do the following and more:
- Investigate the circumstances of the assault
- Determine who can be named as a liable party
- Calculate a fair amount of damage owed to you
- Negotiation with the opposition
- Litigate on your behalf
- Represent you in a class action lawsuit
Call Sanford Heisler Sharp, Today for Legal Help
It is intimidating to take legal action against a person or party that sexually assaulted you. Find strength and confidence by standing with Sanford Heisler Sharp and our Criminal/Sexual Violence Litigation group. We take a teamwork approach to handle complex cases and use trauma-informed advocacy methods to make sure that the process of taking legal action doesn’t re-traumatize you. Everything that we do is focused on taking care of you while fighting fiercely on your behalf.
Contact us online or dial 646-512-8609 to talk with our nationwide sexual violence litigation group.