Our Lawyers Are Here to Support the Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Their Search for Justice
Participation in churches, groups based on shared activities, and other common interests is important to help us form a sense of belonging in our communities. However, sometimes the leadership and/or other authority figures in such groups take advantage of the allegiance members display. Sexual abuse can become endemic when the assaulters are also leaders who can discourage or cover up complaints.
In fact, any situation where members are dependent on an authority figure, either emotionally or physically, can put people at risk for sexual abuse. This specific type of assault is called institutional abuse and can happen in places and situations such as:
- Nursing homes
- Sports teams
- Churches and religions
- Youth groups
- Foster care
The victims of institutional abuse often feel there is no way for them to escape. Reports may be blocked from reaching authorities or wholly ignored. However, there is a way for those in this position to get justice. Our attorneys want to help you pursue justice.
We represent the survivors of sexual abuse in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Call us at (866) 709-0505 for a free and confidential consultation.
Institutions Often Protect Abusers
In cases of institutional sexual violence, the abuser is often supported by the organization, either tacitly or directly. Sexual assault claims might mar the public image of an establishment, so leadership may decide to keep complaints out of the public eye. This system often results in abusers largely escaping punishment. They may even retain the role that gave them access to their victims. Such an approach, especially in national or worldwide organizations, leaves the potential for abuse to flourish in local branches that are left largely without oversight.
The Catholic Church
There have long been stories and complaints about the sexual abuse and assault of members of the Catholic Church. Despite this, the organization did not require dioceses to report abuse to the Vatican. A new law passed in 2019 calls for more accountability, but the Vatican, rather than the criminal courts, is still the group that will investigate allegations.
The Boy Scouts of America
“Be prepared” might have been their motto, but Boy Scouts of America was not at all prepared to face complaints of sexual assault among troops. As long ago as 1935, the organization was aware of predators in its midst. Though claiming each case of abuse was reported to authorities, the Boy Scouts leadership also admitted they accepted volunteer help from known abusers—who must have escaped legal scrutiny. The group went so far as to petition a court to keep documents related to a 2010 case under wraps. The court ruled against them, but the message was clear: The Boy Scouts wanted to continue to hide the history of abuse in their organization.
Sports Teams and Organizations
From youth sports all the way to the Olympic level, athletes have come forward with horrifying stories of sexual abuse.Nearly 100 women testified against Larry Nassar, who served as a doctor both at Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics, the national professional organization for women in the sport. The victims’ reports were shocking, but they are far from unusual. At Ohio State University, a doctor was allowed to assault athletes for nearly two decades. Though at least 50 other employees knew of the problem, the medical director ignored the reports.
Negligence Also Allows Abuse
Sometimes, authority figures aren’t actively covering for abusers within their organizations. They may not know there is a problem. This, too, is inexcusable; when volunteers or employees are selected, the company has the responsibility to complete a background check. They should also provide proper training and supervision—because organizations that fail to do these things, among others, are much more likely to face reports of sexual abuse.
Nursing Home Abuse
Long-term care homes are a common site of sexual abuse: Our government estimates around 3 complaints are filed by residents each day. The abuse may be perpetrated by fellow residents during times of no supervision or by nursing home staff. Understaffing can cause conditions where two residents, or one staff member and one resident, are left along with no supervision. Especially the more vulnerable patients (those who are physically or mentally disabled) are put at risk in such a system.
Abuse of People with Disabilities
Many people with disabilities rely on daily or even constant support. They may reside in a care facility, live with family/a caretaker, or invite their aide into their home. Losing this support could be dangerous, and often family members, acquaintances, or caregivers sexually abuse them knowing their victims have no way out. Because of access barriers, victims in these situations may not have a chance to report the assault.
We Want to Help You Speak Up
If you have survived sexual assault and abuse, we want to help you find justice. By filing a lawsuit, you will force your abuser to face the consequences of their actions. You may be able to recover compensation that can pay for the distress you’ve suffered and help you move forward.
Call our compassionate team now for your free and confidential consultation at (866) 709-0505. We are here to help you pursue justice after experiencing sexual assault.