Articles Posted in Sexual Abuse Injury Attorney

Four women came forward on Feb. 15 and accused a Provo, Utah obstetrics and gynecology specialist of sexual battery, sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. To date, that number has expanded to 83 women.

A lawsuit has been filed in 4th District Court calling out hospitals in the area, including Intermountain Healthcare (Utah Valley Hospital) and MountainStar Healthcare (Timpanogos Regional Hospital, claiming these facilities allowed the doctor to continue treating some patients.

The hospitals and medical facilities have all filed motions to dismiss the case, claiming that the claims involve issues related to medical malpractice and that the pre-litigation procedures were incorrect for a malpractice lawsuit.

Lawyers for the women have opted for a jury trial and have noted in court documents the differences between medical malpractice and sexual abuse.

The lawsuit alleges that the doctor sexually abused patients for over 40 years and disguised this behavior as medical care.

Due to the number of plaintiffs tacked on to the lawsuit, the cases have been divided into two groups: 1.) acts that happened within the past four years and 2.) acts that happened prior to four years ago.

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) sets forth what is known as the Principles of Medical Ethics, requiring doctors and medical providers to provide sound medical care that respects that rights and dignity of all humans. With that said, doctors sexual abusing patients is one of the most common acts of misconduct that results in disciplinary action by state medical boards.

Florida-300x300Sexual abuse does not just mean having sex with patients. This can actually be various actions, such as taking nude pictures of patients, sodomy, rape, unwelcome fondling or touching, digital penetration, masturbating in the presence of patients, etc. In the majority of cases that our Florida Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have seen, most medical doctors and the facilities where they practice create a cover story to allow for the sexual abuse to continue, including that the abuse is part of a legitimate medical procedure. Our Sex Abuse Injury Lawyers know that this behavior is 100% unacceptable and a betrayal of trust that can cause irreparable damage.

The aftermath of sexual abuse can be depression, shame, guilt, attempts of suicide, the development of eating disorders, anxiety, insomnia, alcoholism, drug addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, relationship problems, sexual problems, and more. The betrayal by a doctor to a patient can be severe enough to keep patients from seeking treatment for medical issues, which is something that can last a lifetime. Continue reading

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, has reached a settlement of $87.5 million to be shared in a trust between about 300 or victims of child sexual abuse by members of the clergy.

According to reports from CNN, the settlement will be funded over four years, and all the victims with receive their funds from an allocator.

Both the Camden diocese and the survivors’ attorneys’ have agreed to the terms of the settlement, but the court will need to approve of the terms to make it official, which is slated for early June.

The settlement comes from numerous allegations that the Catholic church covered up instances of sexual abuse by clergy members spanning decades. Due to these allegations across the country, not just in New Jersey, many Catholic dioceses have filed for bankruptcy protection.

Florida-Sexual-Abuse-Injury-Attorneys-Whittel-Melton-300x300Claims Against the Catholic Church in Florida

If you or your son or daughter was sexually abused by a clergy member of the Catholic church, or any other religious organization, in the state of Florida, then please know that our Florida Sexual Abuse Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you figure out what steps to take next. You may have a case against the perpetrator of the abuse as well as the Church. The perpetrator may be held liable in criminal court as well as civil court, but the perpetrator may not have the resources needed to pay out the significant damages you are likely entitled to, and their access to children was likely gained through the Church itself, thus making the Church liable for their role in the abuse. Negligence, among other things, could be a basis for a lawsuit against the church as they should conduct through background checks on all their priests and employees to be certain they can safely work around children. Likewise, if they knew about child sex abuse complaints and failed to take appropriate action, they can be held liable for misrepresentation or fraud. Continue reading

A bill approved Tuesday allows victims who suffered abuse at two Florida reform schools to seek financial compensation for their suffering. 

The passing of the bill (6-1 by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee) means that former inmates at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna and the Florida School for Boys at Okeechobee are now eligible to get state certification for any instances of physical, mental or sexual abuse. This in turn allows the victims to file lawsuits for their claims of physical and psychological abuse that occurred at the reform schools between 1940 and 1975. 

Family members of any former inmates who have passed away would not be granted the right to file a claim on their behalf. 

teenager-422197_1920-300x199A formal apology by the Legislature for the abuse at these facilities was issued in 2017. The Dozier reform school opened its doors in 1900 and closed down in 2011. In 1995, the Okeechobee school was opened to help with overcrowding at Dozier. 

There were 55 nameless graves found at some point over the years at the Dozier School, and it is believed that the facility is responsible for at least 100 deaths. 

Reform schools were started as an alternative for jail or prison for troubled youth. These facilities are now called youth correctional institutions and are highly regimented and follow a penitentiary-like model with the hopes of providing youth that are struggling with emotional, behavioral, and mental health issues the support, structure, and personalized help they need to create a better life. However, many of these facilities are rampant with predators who harm the juveniles in their care, and sadly this abuse often goes unreported. 

Minors in reform schools or youth correctional institutions reside in dormitory-like rooms or jail cells. Administrators, police officers, teachers, and other adults working in the facility tend to become surrogate parents and spend most of the day with the youth in their care and even supervise them at night. This additional access makes it even easier for instances of abuse to occur. Sexual predators are able to abuse innocent children countless times. Due to the fact that children in these facilities are already labeled as “troubled” or “criminals” they are less likely to report any abuse because they do not think anyone will believe them or that the abuse will be worse if they do tell.  

Parents who must leave their children in these facilities must place a  great deal of trust in the institution’s ability to protect their children from harm and provide a safe haven. Our Florida Sexual Abuse Victims Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you hold the institution responsible your abuse or your child’s abuse accountabel for failing to protecting the youth left in their care. Even if the abuse occurred years ago, we are here to go over all of your legal remedies with you. We want to make sure you fully understand all of your legal options for achieving justice.  Continue reading

A youth track and field coach in Miami Gardens was recently arrested for raping a 14-year-old athlete in 2010 and molesting her sister last year, according to reports. 

The 45-year-old coach was charged with numerous counts of sexual battery on a minor and lewd and lascivious molestation on a child. 

The man’s accuser, now 24, said she recently found out the man molesting her younger sister which gave her the courage to speak up now about what the man did to her. 

race-4187747_1920-300x200The woman told police that the man sexually assaulted her three times when she was an athlete on his track team. She said he had sex with her twice in his car and once at his apartment. She was at the man’s apartment because she was spending the night due to an early track meet the next day. 

The woman told authorities she never reported the abuse when it was happening because she knew the man was well liked in the community and she did not want to get in trouble. 

The woman went on to tell police that the man made sexual advances against her younger sister in 2018 when she was 14. In July of 2019 he allegedly offered the teen $200 in exchange for sex. Then, reports indicate that later that month the man apparently came to the teen’s home unannounced while she was alone and tried to kiss her and pull her shirt down in her bedroom, but she was able to get away from the man. 

He is currently jailed with no bond. 

The man is claiming he is innocent and will fight the charges. 

Athletic coaches are placed in a position of trust and authority with children. We don’t like to think that someone that devotes their time to young kids would mistreat or harm them in any way, but the sad truth is that sexual predators are everywhere and they only think of themselves and their deviant needs. 

Those that are victims of sexual assault by their athletic coaches usually suffer emotional and psychological harm that far exceeds any physical injuries. They are often left unable to trust or build meaningful and fulfilling relationships with others, which can lead to self-destructive behavior due to their shame and low self-esteem all dating back to the abuse. 

Our Florida Athletic Coach Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have significant experience throughout the state wherein child abuse is alleged and brought to light in the courtroom. By working together we can provide you with the support, understanding, and legal expertise you need to expose what happened to you and achieve a sense of justice for the physical, emotional, and psychological damage that was unfairly inflicted upon you. 

We know how brave abuse victims are to come forward and share their story. We encourage anyone that might be afraid to speak out to let us help. Research studies have been conducted that indicate that 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 12.5 boys will be victims of child sex assault/abuse. Moreover, around 80% of child sex abuse victims will not tell anyone about their trauma until they are adults. We want to assure you that there is absolutely no shame in confronting what was done to you. We will keep your case and any details you share strictly confidential while we guide you through what to expect from the legal process. We will always strive to meet your best interests.

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The Louisiana State University athletic department is accused of ignoring numerous complaints regarding sexual assaults involving a top running back in 2016 and 2017, Derrius Guice.

Two women made complaints to LSU officials regarding the football player raping them and another said the man snapped a nude photo of her and shared it with his teammates, but the school did nothing to investigate the complaints despite the fact that the school’s own policies along with federal laws require them to take all sexual misconduct allegations seriously and report them to the Title IX office for investigation as well as campus police when these alleged incidents occur on school property. 

USA Today looked into the the school’s alleged misconduct and found that the school ignored sexual misconduct repeatedly, not just with their star running back. 

Their investigation found that at least seven LSU officials were aware of wide receiver Drake Davis strangling and physically abusing his girlfriend, but failed to take action against the man and continued to let the abuse occur. 

In another incident, a fraternity member sexually assaulted two women, but the school refused to move him out of classes he shared with one of the victims and ignored a third complaint made against him by a third female victim. 

There were three other cases where male students were found responsible for sexual assaults and LSU let them stay in school rather than suspending or expelling them. The men received a probation period called a “deferred suspension.” 

And in a fourth case, a male student who was found to be stalking and sexually harassing another student was also given a deferred suspension. 

LSU has released statements saying they are focused on putting an end to sexual assaults on campus, but their actions show otherwise. 

The school has been “hush hush” regarding how they have handled numerous sexual misconduct complaints dating back to 2016 and continuing through 2020, many involving football players that include two prized players from the 2020 national championship team. The school has refused to release several campus police reports, which has resulted in them being sued. 

You can read more about USA Today’s investigation findings here

Title IX and Sexual Misconduct on College Campus

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Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 covers sexual assault, sexual harassment and sexual discrimination in high schools, colleges, and universities. Under federal laws, high schools, colleges, and universities must have procedures in place when it comes to handling claims of sexual misconduct on campus. Once the school has been made aware of a student who is the alleged victim of sexual misconduct, they are required to take immediate action and launch an investigation into the matter. They cannot ignore any of these claims as they are required by law to put an end to the misconduct and prevent any further incidents of misconduct. 

There is Help for Victims of Campus Sexual Attacks 

If you have bene the victim of a sexual assault on a college campus in Florida, you are not alone. Sexual misconduct on college campuses happens at a disturbing rate. Our Campus Sexual Assault Victims Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are ready and able to help you through this difficult time. We take these cases very seriously and will fight aggressively to make sure your abuser and the school that let this abuse happen are held accountable for their actions.  

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priest-3621038_1280-300x169Hearing about sex abuse cases against the Catholic Church is nothing new. But, a new Supreme Court ruling could affect whether individuals who were victims of sex crimes by members of the Roman Catholic Church can still proceed with their cases due to expired statutes of limitations. 

In Pennsylvania, a ruling from Blair County is currently on appeal to the state Supreme Court. The case: Rice v. Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. The Blair County of Common Pleas found that the statute of limitations on this case had run out since the last instance of abuse occurred when the victim was 14 – in 1981. The court ruled that the statute of limitations expired in 1987 and dismissed the lawsuit. 

However, in June 2019, a three-judge panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania reversed the ruling based on the fact that Rice does not claim her suffering stopped in the 70’s and 80’s with the molestation, but she developed new injuries from the civil conspiracy 2016 Grand Jury Report, which if proven could mean that she was well within her two-year statute of limitations. 

A decision is expected in this case by 2021, and could mean a rise in similar cases against the Church. 

An annual audit of Catholic Church sex abuse conducted every year since 2002 shows that 4,434 allegations of sex abuse involving minors was reported for 2019. In 2018, there were 1,451 cases of sexual misconduct reported. In 2017, 693 cases. In 2016, 1,318 cases and in 2015, 903 cases. 

Sexual abuse cases involving the Catholic Church are rampant across the United States. Sadly, the Church made the decision to try and cover up these cases rather than do the right thing and hold abusers accountable for their inappropriate sexual conduct. The cycle of abuse has continued for so long that it is impossible to know exactly how many survivors of this abuse there really are. 

Sexual abuse can involve any type of unwanted or unwelcome sexual activity, such as molestation, rape, sexual assault, indecent exposure, sexual harassment, unwelcome touching with our without clothing, etc. 

The aftermath of sexual abuse can be absolutely devastating. The injuries suffered do not stop when the abuse does, as this case demonstrates. Being the victim of sexual abuse can last a lifetime. Sleep disorders and depression are all common after surviving sexual abuse as well as substance abuse, self-harm, and even suicide. Minors that are victims of sex abuse may experience all kind of behavioral changes, such as eating disorders, partaking in risky behavior, using drugs and alcohol, and even become overly sexualized. 

If you or someone you care about has been the victim of sexual abuse, our Florida Church Sex Abuse Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to help you file a lawsuit against the person responsible for your abuse as well as the institution who failed to prevent the abuse. You may have the right to seek financial compensation for various damages, such as medical bills, bills related to therapy, and loss of income. You may also be eligible to recover punitive damages from your abuser. This is a financial award meant to punish those who have committed sexual abuse as well as the insitututions that allowed the abuse to take place or even tried to hide the fact that it was happening. 

We understand how hard it can be to speak up about what happened to you, but we encourage all abuse survivors to do so as it can hold the person as well as the organization responsible for their actions as well as protect the rights of others who have suffered abuse. When you stand up to an organization, like the Catholic Church, you are fighting for justice for your abuse, but also protecting others from suffering from the same type of abuse. 

We want to help you speak your truth and find some peace. We know that nothing can ever change what was done to you, but we want your voice to be heard so that you can continue to move forward with your life. We want to see you compensated appropriately for your suffering and try and prevent any episodes of further sexual abuse. We want you to know that we are here for you and will fight for your rights. 

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Changes to Title IX laws are slated to go into effect August 14 that are binding for K-12 and post-secondary institutions. 

The revision, which is 2,033 pages, no longer requires college coaches and other staff members to report any cases of sexual abuse or harassment to the Title IX office. 

football-557565_1280-300x200The new regulations also give schools the choice of what standard of proof they wish to follow and award more protections to those accused. Our Sex Assault Victims Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have outlined everything you need to know to understand the new changes. 

Under the current Title IX laws, college coaches and other staff members are mandated to report any findings of sexual assault or sexual discrimination to the Title IX office or any other appropriate channels. This is what has contributed to so many schools being found liable in numerous high-profile sex crimes cases. A recent case involving Michigan State resulted in the school being fined $4.5 million for failing to handle sex assault allegations appropriately against Larry Nassar, a former sports medicine physician for Michigan State University. 

These new changes are being implemented for the sheer sake of protecting the victim, according to Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education and other government officials. The government believes that many sex crimes victims might wish to keep quiet about their sexual assault incident. The new regulations support a student’s right to not share their personal information or wish to have a formal investigation launched. 

Employees of K-12 schools are required to report any allegations of sexual assault when minors are involved and they must investigate once a formal complaint is filed. 

The goal of the new regulations is to create an environment where all students can learn free from sex discrimination and strengthen protections for victims of sexual assault. However, this could mean the exact opposite for victims. The new regulations could make it more difficult for survivors of sexual assault on campus. 

Title IX revisions may not keep coaches and other staff members from reporting any allegations of sexual abuse. NCAA and the U.S. Center for SafeSport mandate that all coaches, administrators, all other athletics staff, and student athletes report any suspected crimes of sexual violence to campus police or appropriate campus  offices for further investigation. The NCAA recently added on a new policy requiring any sexual acts of violence that resulted in investigation or a criminal conviction to be added into an annual report. This is their effort to address violent sex crimes and keep student athletes from transferring to a different school without them being aware of the transgression. 

With that said, despite the new Title IX revision, colleges and universities very well may still require coaches and athletic staff members to still report any allegations of sexual abuse. Schools can adopt their own reporting policies.  

Unde the new Title IX revisions, schools are now only required to report alleged incidents that happen on campus or during off campus school events, such as a fraternity or sorority event or even a football or basketball away game at another campus. This excludes any students studying abroad as well as any students that are the victims of sex crimes in off campus apartments or houses. 

All allegation of sexual abuse, harassment or assault will require the school to have a live hearing that is quite similar to legal proceedings in criminal court. Cross examinations will be allowed, but students will not be permitted to question one another.  

The new Title IX rules state that college and universities can choose what standard of proof they want to follow: 

  1. Clear and convincing evidence: the evidence is more likely to be true than false. 
  2. Preponderance of evidence: 51% of the evidence demonstrates the accused committed the crime.

It is actually quite common for sexual assaults to happen on college campuses. Often, these cases involve students, athletes, and coaches or team doctors. Doctors, coaches, and other administrative staff are in positions of power and trust, and they can use their authority to take advantage of young adults or even underage minors. 

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A well-known team doctor at the University of Michigan has been accused of sexually abusing former students while performing medical exams. Coaches and other staff members are also accused of being aware of the misconduct, but looked the other way. 

In total, 53 students have accused Dr. Robert Anderson of molesting them. These former students also say they reported the sex crimes to the football coach Bo Schembechler and athletic director Don Canham, as well as others. 

The doctor was with the school for nearly 40 years until 2003. 

The President of the University of South Florida, Steven Currall, along with other school officials, have launched an investigation into alleged sexual assaults that took place on campus involving both former and current students. 

There have been numerous women recounting stories of sexual assault amongst the Greek community on the USF campus. The allegations have all come after a former student took to her Twitter account recently to tell her story. 

people-3154439_1920-300x200The 23-year-old said she was attacked in 2017 by a friend and member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. She said she was taken advantage of after a night of partying led to her having too much to drink.  

pinewood-derby-736434_1920-300x200A new string of lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) were filed Friday in Manhattan Supreme Court related to the organization letting sex abuse to repeatedly happen for decades dating back to its founding in 1910. 

A total of 21 new lawsuits filed charge 14 adult scout leaders with partaking in the sex abuse of children multiple times starting in 1954.

The lawsuit says sexual abuse within the BSA has been going on throughout the organization’s 110 years. 

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