Child Sexual Abuse is a form of child abuse which includes a wide range of actions between a child and an adult or older child. It is broken down into two categories, Child Sexual Assault and/or Child Sexual Exploitation.
Child Sexual Assault involves physical contact such as molestation, fondling, incest, rape and sodomy. In legal terms it is defined as lewd or lascivious acts upon a child, or child molestation. It is often associated with physical contact or forcing a child to undress and/or participate in inappropriate acts with the perpetrator.
- Child Sexual Exploitation is often associated with child pornography or prostitution. It can include:
- Making a video, photograph, or film which depicts a minor engaged in obscene or inappropriate acts/situations
- Preparing, selling, or distributing obscene materials
- employing a minor to perform obscene acts
- Knowingly permitting or encouraging a child to engage in, or assisting others to engage in, prostitution or a live performance involving obscene sexual conduct
- To either pose or model alone or with others for purposes of preparing a film, photograph, negative, slide, drawing, painting, or other pictorial depiction involving obscene sexual conduct
- Depicting a child in, or knowingly developing, duplicating, printing, or exchanging any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide in which a child is engaged in an act of obscene sexual conduct
If you have information, or think that a child is the victim of child sexual abuse it is important to report it and take immediate criminal action. You can refer to our abuse page for information on where to call to help and protect the child.
Civil Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse In California
Along with Criminal action, the law also provides for civil action to be taken on behalf of the victim.
The filing of a civil claim in California must be made before the victim turns 26 years old (within 8 years of the age of majority). However California has also adopted an extension on this statute of limitation to cover the “discovery” of child sexual abuse and/or its effects. In many cases, memories of such abuse are so traumatic that the victim represses these memories psychologically; sometimes for decades. It is not until later in life, usually through therapy that these memories come back to the victim. That is defined as the “discovery”. Upon discovery, the victim has three years from the date of first discovering that psychological injury or illness occurred to file a claim against the perpetrator.
California also allows for lawsuits against people or organizations that were aware of child sexual abuse and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it. Upon discovery of this, the victim has one year to take legal action. This could included employers, organization heads, volunteers, physicians, etc.
The effects of child sexual abuse can be devastating to a child and his/her family. The costs associated with physiological care can span the victim’s life. While no amount of money can ever pay a victim back for what he/she went through it can help to rebuild. It can also send a message, particularly in the case of large organizations, that actions such as these are not to be ignored or covered up, and hopefully ensure that this perpetrator is stopped from acting again.
Call us right now at (714) 705-6390 for a free consultation and case evaluation! We will do everything in our power to help.