According to the state’s Department of Health (DOH), more than one in six 10th graders “have been made to engage in unwanted sexual activity.”
Nationwide, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 81% of women and 43% of men have reported experiencing some sort of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime.
If you are the victim of sexual abuse and you’re in Western Washington, including Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and Bellevue, or the Puget Sound area, contact me at The Law Office of Dan N. Fiorito III. I will listen to your story compassionately, discuss the circumstances, and advise you of your legal options. I am ready to help you seek justice and hold your abuser accountable.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse often emanates from people who take advantage of their position or authority. Examples include:
Foster care homes
Education employees such as teachers or staff
Coaches or leaders of a school or community-based program
This type of violation is referred to as sexual misconduct with a minor and applies in situations in which the individual is accused of abusing a position of trust or authority for sexual activity with someone under the age of eighteen.
Charges of sexual misconduct may be classified in the first-degree or second degree.
Under RCW 9A.44.093 first-degree charges involve:
"The person has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual intercourse with another person who is at least sixteen years old but less than eighteen years old, if the perpetrator is at least sixty months older than the victim, is in a significant relationship to the victim, and abuses a supervisory position within that relationship in order to engage in or cause another person under the age of eighteen to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim;
the person is a school employee who has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual intercourse with an enrolled student of the school who is at least sixteen years old and not more than twenty-one years old, if the employee is at least sixty months older than the student; or
the person is a foster parent who has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual intercourse with his or her foster child who is at least sixteen."
Second-degree charges follow the same guidelines but instead of sexual intercourse, the perpetrator has or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have sexual contact with the victim. "Sexual contact" refers to the touching of intimate parts with the intent to gratify sexual desire.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse, your perpetrator can face criminal liability. Charges may be filed for a sexual misconduct offense at any time after the occurrence.
A personal injury claim may also be filed. The time period for filing is:
Within three years of the act alleged to have caused the injury (physical or psychological);
Within three years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by said act; or
Within three years of the time the victim discovering that the act caused the injury:
A personal injury lawsuit can be based on physical injury or emotional distress inflicted upon you — the victim — whether it be through assault and battery, psychological or physical intimidation, or whatever the abuse consisted of.
Many sexual abuse victims experience long-term mental, physical, and psychological problems, including:
Aches and pains
Anxiety, depression, or other psychological issues
Increased likelihood to consider self-harm or suicide
With a personal injury lawsuit, you can recover compensation for medical expenses, including ongoing psychological treatment, as well as for pain and suffering in general.
You are not limited to suing just the perpetrator, however. You can sue any person, institution, or organization directly or indirectly involved with the sex offense. For instance, if the sexual abuse occurred at the hands of a teacher, the school might potentially be held liable.
If you or a loved one has been victimized by sexual abuse, you should seek help on many fronts — physical, psychological, and legal. You don’t need to suffer in silence. You can and should seek justice and compensation for the damages inflicted upon you by someone else.
Don’t let your psychological scars fester while you debate what steps you should take. I am ready to help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve to aid in your healing process, so you can move more confidently into the future.
Contact me at The Law Office of Dan N. Fiorito III for a free consultation so we can discuss your situation and weigh what your best options are. I will provide the compassionate and determined representation that you need, whatever decision you arrive at. I serve clients in Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and Bellevue, or the Puget Sound area of Washington.