Facing campus sexual abuse can interfere with your daily life and cause severe physical and psychological effects on you or your loved ones. Subsequently, you need to seek redress for any actions against you, and you can do this through various avenues. Sex crimes attract criminal liability under the California Penal Code, meaning that the offender risks incarceration for their actions.
Although the criminal case outcome is necessary to ensure your safety and retribution to the offender, it may fail to resolve the harm you faced. You can file a civil lawsuit to run concurrently with the criminal case, helping you receive personal compensation for the campus sexual abuse you face. Since a civil case differs from a criminal one, you need to consult with your attorney to ensure they provide the correct parameters to explore your case.
At Sex Crimes Attorney, we dedicate our services to providing legal guidance and representation for any sex crime-related offenses. Although our practice area primarily calls for criminal defense services, our team is also open to handling civil cases, where you, as the aggrieved victim, require compensation from the perpetrator for the harm done.
By partnering with us, you will receive beneficial information that can be pivotal to your case. You will also understand what the court expects from you as you file your case to raise your chances of a favorable outcome. The team is open to handling campus sex abuse claims throughout California, helping you seek justice directly from the perpetrator.
Understanding What Campus Sexual Abuse Entails
Ideally, living on a school campus should provide a holistic experience that offers you educational benefits, fulfilling social interactions, and access to engaging activities. However, campus sexual abuse is rampant in colleges and universities nationwide, calling for civil cases against the perpetrators.
The need for civil cases on top of filing a criminal case is to ensure the victim receives adequate compensation for the suffered harm. The criminal justice system is more state-oriented, meaning that the court focuses on reinstating safety in the state by locking up the offender if found guilty. Conversely, civil cases focus on the victim’s needs and advocate for compensation to remedy the harm.
Sexual offenses vary, with each violation presenting different elements of the crime that the court must establish before ruling on a matter. Based on this, general sexual abuse involves sexual contact of any form introduced without consent from the targeted person. Sexual acts include kissing, touching, and even sexual intercourse, depending on individual case circumstances.
Consent is critical in sexual abuse cases because it distinguishes abuse cases from regular sexual interactions. All sexual abuse reports have the underlying factor that the abused party did not consent to the actions they faced. If you are in this position, your attorney should work towards demonstrating that the offender did not meet the essential elements of consent.
Elements of Consent
If you intend to file a civil lawsuit, you should understand the essential elements of consent that the judge will look out for in your case. Doing so will build a stronger case that your attorney can present against the perpetrator. Since the case will be in civil court, you should establish that all your evidentiary sources are up to standard to ensure your persuasive arguments.
Usually, three main elements of consent must be present in any sexual interaction, and without them, the encounter can fall within the sexual abuse classification. They are:
Proper Knowledge and Understanding of What You are Doing
Firstly, you ought to know and understand the nature of your actions and their repercussions. You should be conscious or awake throughout the sexual encounter to indicate that you know and approve of your actions.
Any sexual encounter under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not count as consensual because your mind is not functioning normally. Due to this, you are incapable of making decisions that guarantee your safety or well-being. Upon recounting your case facts, you want to disclose to your attorney whether you remember the full details of your encounter while under the influence to help them identify possible gaps in your narrative.
Similarly, consent is invalid if you live with a mental health condition that can impede your ability to make independent decisions or be aware of impending danger. If the abuse occurred while your mental state was not at its best, any consent given is also invalid.
Voluntary Participation in the Activities
Additionally, being awake or conscious is insufficient in some circumstances because the offender may use trickery, coercion, or threats to engage you in sexual activities. This means you did not participate voluntarily, and would stop the actions if given a chance. If so, you can present your position in court and elaborate on the specific words or threats that the offender used against you as coercion to allow the sexual abuse.
You must also report any physical abuse you may have suffered after contesting the forced sexual activities, as it also amounts to coercion. However, please note that the information may be transferred to the criminal court system to ensure that the perpetrator receives the appropriate sentencing under the California Penal Code provisions.
Your Age Capacity
Moreover, consent is only valid in California if issued by persons above eighteen years, as the state now identifies them as adults. Any student below eighteen cannot consent to sexual activity. Due to the regulations, a person engaging the minor in sexual activity is answerable for sexual abuse charges. If you were underage when the abuse occurred, you might have a valid court claim to ensure that the offender provides compensation for exposing you to sexual harm as a minor.
Common Forms of Campus Sexual Abuse
Sometimes, you may intend to report a sexual abuse case but wonder whether courts will consider the actions a form of abuse. Therefore, understanding the common forms of sexual abuse rampant on campuses can help you identify abuse cases, bringing you closer to seeking legal redress. Additionally, with the information, you are more confident to help your friends or classmates who may have undergone the same type of abuse to find legal assistance. The following are forms of sexual abuse:
Although campus statistics vary depending on location, many indicators show that attempted rape is among the most common types of abuse. Attempted rape occurs when the offender tries to have sexual intercourse with the victim but does not complete their actions for various reasons. For example, a third party may spot them and raise the alarm, or the victim may realize what is happening and resist the advances.
An attempted rape charge yields serious outcomes in criminal courts and should also attract responsibility in civil cases. Once the judge identifies and verifies that you were a victim, they will issue orders against the respondent accordingly to ensure you receive appropriate redress for their actions.
Unwanted Sexual Fondling or Touching
Any person who tries to gain access to your body violates your right to the person. The right protects your personhood from invasion or violation through unwanted touching or fondling. Examples of these unwanted actions which fall within the sexual abuse classification include touching areas close to your genital area, your buttocks, or your inner thighs.
For women victims, the offender may also try to insert their fingers in their sexual organs, which grossly violates their right to a person. For male victims, the offender may grope you or touch your genital areas with the intent to offend you sexually. Since the unwanted actions often present an element of forced advances, you should report as soon as possible to ensure the perpetrator is held accountable.
Non-Consensual Oral Sex
Further, forced oral sex is a severe violation that attracts sexual abuse charges and may result in harsh criminal penalties. The offense occurs when an offender forces your mouth to make contact with their sexual organs as a form of gratification. As a non-consensual act, the offender will often physically force you to perform oral sex by holding your head down or threatening to harm you if you fail to comply with their demands.
Regardless of the approach taken to force you into the act, you can rightfully seek criminal case remedies for the sexual abuse and request monetary compensation. The court will provide redress depending on the nature and severity of the case and the claims you file in court.
If you are a victim of rape, you want to report the matter to the authorities immediately for investigations to begin. Because of their seriousness, most cases involving rape charges typically start at the criminal courts. Afterward, you can file your civil lawsuit and demand rightful compensation for the wrongful actions.
The main elements of rape are having sexual intercourse with a victim using force or fear to obtain their compliance. Thus, as a victim, you must demonstrate that you did not willingly participate in the sexual encounter but rather that the offender forced themselves on you. Since the case may involve severe and complicated case facts, you should work closely with your attorney to establish the most helpful strategy for your application.
Sexual battery encompasses many unwanted sexual advances, a more extended list of actions that do not fall exclusively within the definition of rape. Notably, the California Penal Code provides strict definitions that rape only involves the penetration of a sexual organ into another. Actions like forced kissing, touching genital organs, and any other activity that creates direct contact between the offender and the victim fall under sexual battery.
Like any other civil case accusation, you must source relevant evidence to support your claim to ensure your case moves the court. For example, you can call on witnesses or retrieve any footage to demonstrate that the offender is responsible for the sexual battery you faced.
Possible Respondents in Your Campus Sexual Abuse Civil Case
As you prepare to file your civil lawsuit in court, you must identify your case respondent for proper case administration. Usually, a respondent is a party who directly abused or attempted to abuse you. However, the respondent may also be responsible for your well-being on campus, who neglected their duty and exposed you to harm.
Often, you can use both the direct and indirect perpetrators as joint respondents to ensure they both meet their legal responsibilities to compensate you. The following are possible respondents in your case:
Your Ex-Boyfriend or Girlfriend
Among the most commonly reported sexual abusers are former partners, specifically former boyfriends or girlfriends of the victim. The position is expected because these former partners often act with the belief that they still have rapport and access to you as they did before. Consequently, they are more likely to initiate advances that result in sexual abuse because of the lack of clear boundaries.
Moreover, your romantic partner may abuse you sexually even when you are still together, provided they do not seek consent before engaging in any actions. For example, even though you have a sexual relationship with your boyfriend, they should not be entitled to sex anytime they want to, without your consent. Any actions of this nature amount to sexual abuse, and you can report the issue to the nearest law enforcement officer.
Further, campus dynamics like violence and grooming activities can cause romantic partners to be the primary parties answerable for sexual abuse. For example, if students often fight or use violence and threats without serious repercussions, sexual abuse becomes more likely.
Also, grooming activities that involve sexual relationships with a significant age gap between the parties can often attract sexual abuse. Based on these dynamics, you do not have to feel compelled to avoid pursuing legal action against your romantic partner because safeguarding your safety is essential.
Course Instructors or Teachers
Additionally, campus dynamics can often create a power dynamic between a course instructor and a student. Sexual exploitation is common between these two parties, primarily where the student seeks a favor that could have significant academic effects. For example, students who believe their paper deserves a better grade can apply for re-marking.
However, a malicious instructor may use the opportunity to exploit the student, resulting in sexual abuse. If you are a victim of these circumstances, you must inform your parents, guardians, and the designated school department that handles similar issues. In doing so, you notify the appropriate parties of the matter, allowing them to help you find solutions. If the parties you report to do not provide help, you can then present the case directly to law enforcement officers for the next step.
Friends and Roommates
Similarly, your friends may expose you to sexual abuse and even become the perpetrators against whom you seek compensation for your harm. Ideally, friends and roommates provide company and support throughout your schooling experience. However, some circumstances may arise where abuse is prone, especially if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Some cases also involve friends or roommates setting you up with third-party sexual offenders for payment or out of malice. These actions often depend on the predominant culture on your campus and whether student safety is taken seriously. If your case involves friends exposing you to sexual abuse, you want to forward the issue to the appropriate authorities.
For court proceedings, you can file suit with all involved friends as joint respondents, meaning they will all be answerable to the abuse claims. The court can issue a directive on the maximum number of respondents in your case to enable you to understand how many parties to include.
The School Administration
You can also sue the school administration as your primary respondent in your sexual abuse case if the circumstances fit the claims. Usually, your administration is responsible for upholding security on campus by employing guards, setting up security cameras, and liaising with law enforcement when necessary.
Additionally, the school administration should roll out educational programs to help parties understand what sexual abuse entails and how to protect yourself from the abuse. School policies should also be well presented and understood by all students and professionals participating in daily activities.
If your school fails to meet its duty of care, resulting in your sexual abuse, they may be answerable for your case through negligence. If so, you need to present all elements of negligence and demonstrate that the school administration failed to uphold these elements, making them answerable.
The four main elements you should prove in a civil suit are that first, the administration owed you a duty of care to protect you from any sexual abuse encounters. Secondly, in their roles, you should demonstrate that the school breached this duty through action or omission.
Thirdly, you should prove causation, meaning that you should demonstrate the breach caused the subsequent harm you suffered. Lastly, you need to prove that you suffered damages from the sexual abuse, warranting compensation. While presenting on this element, you can present medical records and any other relevant document demonstrating the serious effects you suffered from the harm.
Compensatory Claims to File in Civil Court
Having identified the parties to sue as your respondents, you should also determine the most suitable compensatory claims to include in your case. These include your requests in court for consideration as the judge awards the final lump sum amount as your compensatory fee. Examples of claims to consider include:
- Compensation for pain and suffering.
- Loss of income and earning capacity.
- Emotional distress.
- Medical expenses.
Taking time to craft your claims appropriately is essential, as they are your justifications for seeking the money you intend to receive. As a result, you should obtain as much evidence as necessary to support your claims to ensure the judge understands the importance of awarding you the money.
For example, if you intend to claim $50,000 for medical expenses, provide medical receipts, reports, and prescription documents that justify the need for $50,000 to cater to the expenses. Present the original documents in court, as they will build your credibility.
You can also present accurate and justified calculations for any recurrent expenses you anticipate facing stemming from the abuse. For example, if you require consistent counseling after sexual abuse, you must pay for the services over an extended duration. Including the total amount you anticipate using for your recovery is essential to ensure an adequate compensatory fee.
With your attorney’s help, you will present a fair claim allowing you to seek compensation for the harm you suffered on top of the criminal liability the offender faces. This way, you can rebuild your life and gradually recover from the abuse.
Contact a California Sex Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Doubtless, suffering campus sexual abuse can cause severe psychological harm on top of interference with your physical well-being. Moreover, your ability to continue your studies or work on campus may be interfered with, resulting in multiple potential losses. You want to file a compensatory suit to help you recover for the harm done and gradually return to your everyday life.
Although the criminal justice system is set to punish any identified sexual abuse offenders, you can also file a civil lawsuit that holds the offender directly responsible for paying your compensatory fee. Your case in the civil law courts intends to move the judge towards awarding a compensatory sum for the sexual abuse you or a loved one suffered. To build a successful case, you want to work with an experienced attorney.
At Sex Crimes Attorney, you can access excellent legal services tailored to your unique case needs. The team has handled multiple campus sexual abuse civil cases and understands the importance of highlighting the extent of your abuse in civil court. Moreover, you can consult on any concerns you have to build your confidence in the services you will receive. Overall, our goal is to help any victim of campus sexual abuse in California receive quality legal services to seek redress based on our experience in handling criminal and civil matters. For more information on campus sexual abuse cases, call us today at 866-853-2106.