Massachusetts Sexual Abuse Civil Litigation
If you have found this page because you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse, know that you are not alone. Fewer injuries are more personal or painful than those caused by sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is perpetrated upon victims in many contexts and within all types of relationships. Whatever happened, and however it happened, know that it was not your fault and that the law provides you, as a survivor of this harm, with options.
At Harriman Law, we understand how difficult it can be to come to terms with sexual abuse, and we know the bravery it takes to seek help. We are grateful that you have found our firm and look forward to meeting, knowing, and working with you.
Harriman Law represents victims of sexual abuse throughout Massachusetts and has done so quite successfully. Our primary goal, however, for all survivors of sexual abuse is to help you understand your options and to do whatever we can to help you pursue justice against your perpetrator and against those who may have been responsible for his or her supervision.
Victims of sexual abuse in Massachusetts have rights that arise under both the criminal justice system and the civil justice system. The criminal justice system exists to prosecute perpetrators of sexual abuse for the crimes they have committed. Unfortunately, although it pursues justice on behalf of victims, the District Attorney’s Office does not actually represent victims in criminal proceedings – it prosecutes crimes in the name of the Commonwealth as a matter of public safety and policy. Although the DA’s Office pursues criminal justice against perpetrators, it cannot secure monetary damages for the personal harm, losses, and pain and suffering you or a loved one incurred as a victim of sexual abuse.
Only the civil justice system exists to actually compensate victims for the personal harms and losses caused by sexual abuse. As a survivor of sexual abuse in Massachusetts, you have civil claims available against the perpetrator to recover for the harm you endured. You may also have civil claims against the facility who employed the perpetrator and against those individuals responsible for the supervision of the perpetrator. Each case is unique, and the viability of these civil claims is a fact-intensive inquiry. The best way to explore your options is through a free consultation with our office.
In recent years, Massachusetts has seen an epidemic of sexual abuse occurring in:
- Group Homes (sexual abuse perpetrated upon victims by caretakers)
- Schools (sexual abuse perpetrated upon victims by teachers and school administrators)
- Day Cares (sexual abuse perpetrated upon victims by those who provide child care)
- Medical Facilities (sexual abuse perpetrated upon victims by doctors, nurses, and other medical providers)
- Camps (sexual abuse perpetrated upon victims by camp counselors and staff)
- Churches and Religious Institutions (sexual abuse perpetrated upon victims by priests and clergy)
Clearly, you are not alone.
In response to this now decades-long epidemic, the Massachusetts community has responded with a groundswell of civil intolerance toward perpetrators of sexual offenses against minors and toward those whose negligence makes such abuse possible. Indeed, the Massachusetts legislature recently extended the civil statute of limitations for claims of sexual abuse occurring in Massachusetts, substantially prolonging the time that you, as a minor victim of sexual abuse, have to file civil claims against your perpetrator and those who may have been responsible for hiring and supervising your perpetrator. In general, as a victim of sexual abuse in Massachusetts, you now have 35 years from your 18th birthday (or 35 years from the date upon which you knew or should have known that you were harmed by sexual abuse after your 18th birthday) to file a civil claim for damages against your perpetrator. Although you have 35 years to file civil claims against your perpetrator, you only have 7 years from your 18th birthday (or 7 years from the date upon which you knew or should have known that you were harmed by sexual abuse after your 18th birthday) to file claims against the individual supervisors and institutions whose negligence allowed your abuse to occur.
If you can successfully prove that you were the victim of sexual abuse in Massachusetts, you are entitled to secure monetary damages against your perpetrator and against individual supervisors and facilities whose negligence allowed the abuse to occur for, at a minimum:
- Your pain and suffering caused by the sexual abuse
- The costs associated with your past, present, and future medical care causally related to the sexual abuse (including mental health)
- The impairment to your earning capacity caused by the sexual abuse
The above categories of damages and harm are, by their very nature, broad. We are ever mindful that the harm and loss you experienced as a victim of sexual abuse is deeply personal and unique, and requires extensive exploration with experienced legal counsel. We understand that the harm associated with sexual abuse can often be repressed for long periods of time and, unfortunately, that it can also manifest itself in painful and self-destructive behavior patterns. At Harriman Law, we are committed to meeting you with care, understanding, and compassion for the difficult journey you have been on.
What You Can Expect From Us
If we are able to take your sexual abuse case, you will not pay us anything unless we can successfully resolve it on your behalf. Beginning a civil action to recover losses caused by sexual abuse takes courage and bravery, but it does not require personal financial resources. From start to finish, you will not pay a penny out of your pocket in legal fees and expenses and, even when your case concludes, you will not be responsible for legal fees and expenses unless we successfully resolve your claim.
Harriman Law pursues civil justice for victims of sexual abuse throughout Massachusetts, in all 14 counties. If you are a survivor of sexual abuse, please contact our office today for a free consultation (link to contact page) concerning your civil claims. We are conveniently located in downtown Boston and accessible by public transportation. If, however, you would like to explore your civil options and are unable to travel to Boston, we will come to you to discuss your case. Please call or email us to schedule a free consultation.