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Can You File a Civil Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse Following a Related Criminal Trial?

Sexual AbuseSeeing a sexual abuse perpetrator walk free after a criminal trial can often be very traumatizing to the survivors of the sexual abuse by that person. It may seem like the end of the line in terms of seeking justice, however, if the survivor can pursue a sexual abuse injury civil case against the perpetrator it does not have to be. But is it possible to pursue a civil trial when a criminal did not end well?

Filing a Civil Suit

As long as the civil suit is within the statute of limitations, and other statutory requirements have been met, there is generally nothing that precludes a civil trial from being filed after a criminal trial has ended, regardless of the outcome. There are different time limits for adult and minor child survivors. In order to file a lawsuit against certain governmental defendants – such as a school – the plaintiff has to show that he or she first filed a claim with the affected government body within a certain time. There are exceptions to this governmental claim requirement when the abuse involves a minor.

The preceding criminal case is not linked to the civil case in such a way that a dismissal or acquittal in the criminal case means that the civil case will fail. However, when a criminal trial ends in a conviction, it is more likely that the civil lawsuit will be successful. The burden of proof is different in the criminal trial, and a civil trial requires less evidence to show that the same conduct occurred. The evidence still has to show that it is more likely than not that the conduct the perpetrator is accused of occurred at his or her hands. Furthermore, the burden of proving this is on the plaintiff.

Protecting Young People in the Community

Attorney Robert Allard has handled more than 100 cases of sex abuse in at least 10 school districts throughout the Bay Area. He believes that parents need to be more aware of the dangers that currently exist to children at school. Mr. Allard and other community leaders are also pushing the state of California to increase awareness training for teachers, helping to spot sex abuse and other red-flag behaviors among their colleagues. “Teachers or educators who figure out excuses how to isolate children in between classroom periods or after school—that’s a warning sign,” Allard told NBC Bay Area.

Let Us Assist You

If you would like to discuss how you can take action against someone who sexually abused you or a minor child in your care, Mr. Allard and the rest of our team is equipped to help you. For a free consultation, contact the experienced San Jose personal injury attorneys at Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., serving Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, Monterey County, Alameda County, San Benito County, and the Bay Area.

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