Philadelphia Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Child sexual abuse is a big issue in this country, and Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a whole aren’t immune to it. Data published by the Joshua Center on Child Sexual Abuse suggests that as much as 12.2-26.6% of American girls face unwanted sexual behavior during their youth. That percentage goes down to 5.1-7.5% for U.S. boys. Despite the differences between the abuse rates among the genders, they’re still staggering.

While we sincerely hope that you’re just reading this information to become more informed about the dangers our kids face, we know that, based on the statistics, that is probably unlikely. Know that if your child has been sexually abused, we want to be there for you to help you ensure they get the support they need. And, if you were abused as a child, we also want to help you understand your rights and aid you in navigating our legal system to recover a settlement if you’re entitled to one.

Whatever your situation, let us connect you with a Philadelphia child sexual abuse lawyer in our office. Here at Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan, we’re available to meet with you for a free consultation, so reach out to us now.

What Qualifies as Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse can take on many forms, including:

  • Inappropriate touching or fondling
  • Indecent exposure
  • Having a child take part in the creation of pornographic material
  • Oral sexual contact
  • Intercourse

Where Are Children Most Commonly Abused?

Child sexual abuse often occurs in settings where children are participating in regular childhood activities, such as:

  • At daycares and schools
  • When participating in after-school programs like gymnastics, sports, music classes, and driver’s ed classes
  • While participating in summer camp
  • During a religious meeting, like a youth group

Which Perpetrators Are Generally Responsible for Sexually Abusing Children in Philadelphia?

Most sexual abuse inflicted upon children is carried out by individuals the juvenile is close to or knows. Why? It comes down to them having that trusting relationship with them that allows them to get close and groom them for often more invasive treatment over time. Individuals we’ve found directly abuse children that we’ve held civilly liable along with third-party facilitators include:

  • Teachers
  • Coaches
  • Pastors and priests
  • Camp counselors
  • School bus drivers
  • Social workers
  • Pediatricians
  • Daycare workers
  • After-school instructors
  • Tutors

We also file cases against human traffickers who peddle children for the sexual exploits of others.

Essentially, anyone who may have been in close contact with a child could potentially be an abuser. Additionally, we often sue third parties, such as schools, camps, churches, and other entities, for improper screening practices and other types of negligent oversight if their actions contributed to children having contact with an abuser.

Lasting Effects of Sexual Abuse of Children

Kids forced to endure sexual abuse may experience lingering behavioral and emotional impacts associated with what they went through, including:

  • Distrust of others
  • Sudden shifts in mood
  • Anxiety, especially when anticipating being left alone with their abusers
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), like repeatedly checking locks to ensure their abuser is kept at bay

While mental health treatment can assist with many of the aforementioned ill effects tied to abuse, it may never completely erase the memory or fully restore the child to the person they could have been had they not been subjected to the inappropriate treatment.

What Is the Age of Consent in Pennsylvania?

According to the Pennsylvania Coalition to Advance Respect (PCAR), the age of consent in our state is 16. Our state laws allow teens ages 13 to 15 to consent to sexual activity with someone three or fewer years older than them. However, PA law is clear about not allowing children 12 or under to consent to sexual activity of any sort under any circumstances.

How Consent and Abuse Intersect

Sexual abuse, by definition, is any non-consensual sexually oriented interactions or contact. Given how kids of certain ages, as described above, are not lawfully able to consent, any treatment between them and someone else would likely constitute abuse. When it comes to teens who are entitled to consent to sexual activity with their peer groups, provided the parties involved meet the specified age requirements and they’re both in agreement to participate in sexual activity, it’s unlikely their interaction would constitute abuse.

Although teens 16 and over can lawfully make a decision themselves to engage in sexual activity in Pennsylvania, their partners may not realize that they can rescind their consent at any point. If they do this, any activity that occurs after they do so could constitute sexual abuse.

Additionally, PCAR points out that institutional sexual abuse applies to children regardless of their age—even if they’d otherwise be of age to give consent. Under this law, any sexually oriented treatment a minor receives in a setting such as the following may also constitute sexual abuse:

  • Schools
  • A county or state jail
  • A licensed residential facility that serves youth
  • Group home

Rights Child Sexual Abuse Victims Have in Philadelphia

Like any other crime or personal injury victims, Pennsylvania law affords youth abused by others the right to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for their incident-related damages from all responsible parties.

At the same time, the responsibility rests on the shoulders of victims like you to put forward a successful claim that proves negligence and connects a violation or breach of duty to your losses.

This is where it can be helpful to have an attorney aid you in building a sound case for liability. When you work with a Philadelphia child sexual abuse lawyer on our team, we’ll make sure we pursue every possible liable party to ensure you receive all the compensation you’re entitled to. Contact us now so we can do the same for you.

Damages Available to Children Victimized by Sexual Predators

Compensation you’re eligible to recover by filing a lawsuit may include:

  • Medical bills, which can go to paying for therapy costs
  • Lost wages if the abuse you endured affected your ability to work
  • Non-economic damages, such as loss of enjoyment of life

Filing Deadlines Applicable to Child Sexual Assault Cases

While in an ideal world, no child would ever face abuse, those who do often face it at a very young age. While some may have firsthand knowledge of what happened, others may only recall what occurred after going through therapy and having repressed memories rise to the surface. In cases like the latter, it’s not uncommon for individuals not to become aware of the abuse they endured in their teens, their adult years, or later in adulthood.

Here in Pennsylvania, anyone who faced sexual abuse as a child has at least until the day they turn 20 to file a lawsuit against any parties liable for what happened.

Extenuating circumstances may extend that deadline beyond that birthday. So, it’s best to speak with a child sexual abuse lawyer in Philadelphia if you’ve surpassed the statutory filing period to understand what additional rights you may have.

Contact Our Philadelphia Child Sexual Abuse Attorney for a Free Consultation

Each year, we assist countless individuals who come to us ready to hold the person who sexually abused them and the parties that allowed that inappropriate treatment to occur accountable for their actions. We want to help you do the same.

Use our confidential contact form or call us to discuss the unique aspects of your case and to learn more about the statute of limitations that specifically applies to your claim. Consultations are free, and we don’t charge any fees to represent you unless we secure a settlement on your behalf. Given that you have nothing to lose, we hope you’ll consider reaching out to a Philadelphia child sexual abuse lawyer in our office today.

Children should be safe to participate in sports without fear of being abused. Unfortunately, we live in a world where dangerous predators gravitate towards these programs to access victims. Children need a strong protector.

Jeffrey Laffey, Founding Partner

  • $7.5 Million

    Against a correctional facility for negligently supervising a guard that physically and sexually abused an inmate in their care

  • $750,000

    Against a psychiatric hospital for their failure to prevent a woman in their care from being sexually assaulted.

  • 74 Million Dollar Settlement

    Against a Christian Board School and other defendants that allowed horrific acts of sexual and physical violence against the young children in their care.

  • $3 Million

    Against a University for Child Sexual Abuse

  • $2 Million

    Against a religious organization because of their negligent supervision of a pedophile priest who sexually abused a child

  • $1 Million

    Against child protective services for their failures in preventing the sexual abuse of a child within their care and custody

  • Six Figure Recovery

    Against an all girls religious high school for negligent supervision of a teacher who engaged in sexual conduct with a student on school property

  • Six Figure Recovery

    Against an all girls religious high school for negligent supervision of a teacher who engaged in sexual conduct with a student on school property

  • Six Figure Recovery

    Student sexually harassed and assaulted by high school teacher

  • Six Figure Recovery

    Molestation case against sitting state court judge who admitted to the abuse, resigned from the bench and was then disbarred

  • $1.9 Million

    For a child who was sexually abused by a clergy member

Meet Our Attorneys

Primary Office

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1100 Ludlow Street, Suite 300
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Main Office:

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