Sexual Abuse Lawsuit



Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

On November 11th, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld a sexual abuse lawsuit verdict by a lower court ordering the Department of Corrections to pay $100 million to 800 victims, who had alleged sexual abuse and harassment by the Oakland County prison staff in 1996. A day before, a  Miami jury imposed $100-million fine on a former Roman Catholic priest in a child sexual abuse lawsuit and a young Indianapolis girl moved court against Indiana Swimming, USA Swimming, and Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township, alleging sexual victimization by her coach. Earlier in the month, the entire nation was taken aback when a grand jury indicted Jerry Sandusky, an ex-football coach at Pennsylvania State University, for sexual abuse of eight young boys. The last two months have also witnessed filing of a number of sexual abuse lawsuits against Catholic priests, the Pentagon, universities, and sports bodies.

What is Sexual Abuse?

The law defines sexual abuse as

forcing of undesired sexual behavior upon another. It can be forcible, infrequent, and short-term. Even inducing one to indulge in sexual act by giving assurances to help or touching physically with sexual intention is a crime under the law. The following are various types of actions and behaviors considered punishable offense under a sexual abuse lawsuit.


Nonconsensual sex against wishes of the victim.

Sexual intercourse by dint of assurances and promises to promote.

Sexual assault, molestation, forced sexual behavior, and rape.

Unwanted touching, asking for sexual favor, and showing sexually explicit material and pornography.

Using sexually explicit words in verbal or written form to the discomfort of another.

Forced or induced sexual behavior, such as kissing, fondling, exhibition of genitalia, and voyeurism.

Making sexually suggestive statements

Verbal sexual demands

Using position or influence to compel one to establish sexual relation

Sexual deviancy, such as incest, fetishism, and pedophilia.

Any act that leads to sexual harassment.

Grounds for Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

A victim has the option to file a criminal complaint or civil sexual abuse lawsuit. Sex abuse victims suffer from deep and lifelong mental and emotional agony, inability to sustain relationships, addiction problems, and other problems that disturb their ability to lead a normal life or require them to endure years of therapy. Civil sexual abuse lawsuit provides victims with the option to sue the perpetrator and seek punitive and other damages. The following are the most notable grounds for filing a sexual abuse lawsuit.

Sexual violence, such as molestation, rape, sexual assault, and forced sexual intercourse.

Workplace sexual abuse, such as sexual exploitation, discrimination, and harassment, sexual offence, unsolicited sexual advance, asking for sexual favor, sex crimes, violation of sexual rights, and sexual behavior at the work place.

Child sexual abuse, such as pedophilia, sexual contact with minors, molestation of children, exposing children to pornography and genitals, and using children for pornography.

Spousal sexual abuse, such as forced sex, marital rape, and coercion to indulge in unnatural sex.

Nursing Home sexual abuse, such as sexual exploitation of patients treated or residents at a nursing home.

Sexual harassment or indecency leading to psychological and physical scare, decreased productivity, annoyance, failure to lead a dignified life,

Sexual abuse of people with developmental disabilities and senior citizens.

Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Compensation

Compensation awarded to a victim in a sexual abuse lawsuit depends on the strength of the case, statute of limitations set under state laws, and the nature of abuse. The award usually includes punitive damages for physical and emotional suffering, cost of treatment if any, loss of work, and legal fees. Though the courts take cognizance of financial position, liabilities, and ability of the perpetrator to pay, there have been numerous sexual abuse lawsuit instances recently where victims awarded millions of dollars in compensation.

Examples of Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Church Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

In July 2007, the Los Angeles Archdiocese agreed to pay $660 million to settle 508 sexual abuse lawsuits, which was in addition to $60 million for 45 victims announced seven months ago. This was the largest ever settlement by the church following $198.1 million paid by the Diocese of San Diego to resolve 144 lawsuits. The other highest settlements include $157 million paid by the Boston Archdiocese to 983 claimants in 2002 and $129 million by the Archdiocese of Portland to 315 plaintiffs. The Diocese of Orange also settled 90 sex crime lawsuits awaiting trial in California for $100 million. The Jesuits also paid $50 million to native Alaskans for sex crimes committed by its priests. These settlements encouraged more plaintiffs to come forward and file child sexual abuse lawsuits against the church and priests.

A number of church sexual abuse lawsuits have been filed across the United States this year. In September, an attorney representing 45 men and women filed a sexual abuse lawsuit in Montana against the Santa Rosa-based Catholic order Ursuline Sisters. Earlier in July, a Miami law firm filed a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse of children and cover-up attempts by priests in Florida and Indiana. New sexual abuse lawsuits have also been filed against retired Wyoming Bishop Joseph Hart. In November, a Miami court ordered a former priest to pay $100 million in punitive damages to victims of his sex crimes.

Military Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

The Pentagon faces a class action lawsuit for sexual abuse and rape in the military. According to the sexual abuse lawsuit filed by 15 female and two male soldiers in a Virginia court in February 2011, the Pentagon’s failure to protect victims, implement institutional reforms, and enforce Uniform Military Justice Act has resulted in increasing sexual abuse within the military. In 2007, the Virginia-based Fishburne Military School paid $250,000 to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit with a 14-year-old victim.

Sports Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

The recent indictment of Pennsylvania football coach Jerry Sandusky for sexual abuse of players and filing of a sexual abuse lawsuit against USA Swimming has brought into limelight discussions about sporting bodies and players accused of such crimes. In June 2008, ex-NBA star Kevin Johnson paid $230,000 to a girl to settle a sexual molestation lawsuit. In 2004, the University of North Carolina paid $385,000 and $70,000 to two women soccer players who had alleged sexual abuse by coach Anson Dorrance.

School Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

In 2008, a San Diego jury awarded $300,000 to two high school students in a sexual abuse lawsuit, alleging discrimination and harassment over sexual orientations. This came three months after the South Carolina-based Beaufort County Education Board paid $300,000 to a former student molested by a teacher between 1999 and 2002. The schools also paid $4.5 million to victims in six other sexual abuse lawsuits. In a similar teacher sexual abuse lawsuit, a Nebraska man won $1.2 million. In 2007, a Kentucky court awarded $3.7 million to a woman who alleged sexual abuse while studying at Lafayette High School.

Workplace Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

In March 2008, a Florida court ordered billionaire David Siegel to pay $5.4 million to a female in a sexual harassment lawsuit. In another instance, Flagstaff-based McDonald's franchise GLC Restaurants paid $550,000 to eight women employees to resolve workplace sexual abuse lawsuit.

Other Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

A Pennington County court awarded $1.1 million to a woman who filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against the jail staff while she was in custody during December 2002. A class action sexual abuse lawsuit against an Ohio landlord resulted in $100,000 award to 600 persons. The landlord had installed video cameras in the rooms of his tenants. The Babcock Center, a nonprofit rehabilitation center for mentally disabled individuals, paid $250,000 to a South Carolina woman to settle a sexual abuse lawsuit, who claimed that her mentally disabled daughter was raped during treatment.