Sexual abuse is one of the most reprehensible acts that a person can commit. This crime becomes even more heinous when it is committed by a member of the faculty or school staff that were supposed to protect a child. Speaking up against a sexual abuser can lead to them facing justice and the possibility of compensation for your physical and emotional pain. If you or a family member was sexually abused by a school official, consult with an experienced Pennsylvania school sexual abuse attorney today.
The Reiff Law Firm knows the psychological and physical trauma associated with sexual abuse can be difficult to overcome, and we are here for you in your time of need. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000, or contact us online.
Determining Liability for Sexual Abuse
When selecting an educational institution for our children, we expect that the faculty and other school staff will treat our children with care and respect. Unfortunately, some educators may use an institution as a way to cover up their true intentions, the sexual abuse of helpless children. That is why it is important to understand who could be held liable when an incident of sexual abuse occurs at a school.
Liability for an incident of sexual abuse can depend on a number of factors. The locations where the abuse took place can be one of the most important factors for determining liability. As mentioned, some sexual predators will use their position of authority at a school to prey on young children. As a result, it is likely the abuser will commit abuse while they are present on school property and working.
If sexual abuse occurs on school property, this can be used as evidence that a school may be held liable for the assault. For example, if a gym teacher chose to isolate a child in the locker room and abuse them, this action would have occurred within the scope of their employment. Negligent or illegal acts that occur within the scope of a worker’s employment may be attributed to their employer through the doctrine of vicarious liability.
An educational institution could also be held liable for an incident of sexual abuse if they did not act on any allegations or evidence revealed about the abuse. For example, if a student complained that a teacher sexually assaulted them, and the school did not investigate the claim, the failure to act could make them liable for harm to the child.
In some cases, a school may even try to conceal sexual abuse allegations to avoid the possibility of civil and criminal charges. There are many practices used to conceal sexual abuse. For example, a school may transfer the teacher to another district where the abuser had not assaulted anyone. Another possibility is that an educational institution may bury information about the abuse in hopes that people will forget about the allegations.
To learn more about filing a lawsuit for a sexual abuse claim, continue reading and speak with an experienced Philadelphia sexual abuse lawyer today.
When to File a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit in Pennsylvania
Survivors of sexual abuse should be aware of the statute of limitations that could impact their ability to pursue compensation for the abuse they suffered. The statute of limitations sets the length of time that a person has to file a particular type of lawsuit against another party.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for a sexual abuse claim will only permit a survivor to file their case until they reach the age of 30. This is highly concerning because survivors of sexual abuse often have an extremely difficult time coping with abuse suffered at the hands of a person they likely used to trust.
Some survivors of abuse may avoid filing a lawsuit because they do not wish to tell their family and friends about the abuse they suffered. In other cases, a survivor may not come to terms with the reality they were abused until they are much older. As a result, limiting a civil lawsuit until the claimant reaches the age of 30 can mean that some abusers are never held accountable for their actions.
Additionally, there is currently a push to raise the statute of limitations for civil cases of sexual abuse. If passed, the law would reflect recent changes in other states like New York, where a claimant can sue an abuser until they reach the age of 55.
Note, however, that the statute of limitations for criminal cases of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania does not expire until the survivor has reached the age of 50. While this may not offer a survivor compensation for their pain and trauma, it is still a possibility to have a sexual abuser face justice.
Our Experienced Pennsylvania School Sexual Abuse Lawyers are Here for You
If you or a family member is a survivor of sexual abuse, contact an experienced Pennsylvania school sexual abuse lawyer today. At the Reiff Law Firm, our injury lawyers will work tirelessly to provide survivors of sexual abuse with the legal representation they deserve to face their abusers. To schedule a free case evaluation, contact the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 246-9000.