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When Sexual Abuse Is a Personal Injury


The issue of sexual abuse in conjunction with certain religious figures has been rampant in the news lately, not only implicating particular churches, but some schools as well. For example, on Monday, May 22, 13 former faculty and staff members were named in conjunction with investigations involving substantial claims of sexual misconduct involving students. Investigators suspect that additional former faculty and staff members could also be implicated, but have not yet been able to substantiate claims against these individuals.

While many people realize that, of course, sexual abuse of minors is clearly an issue of criminal prosecution, many do not realize that victims can also file personal injury (civil litigation) claims against their perpetrators for the various injuries they’ve received, including emotional distress and any pain and suffering.

Widespread Abuse

St. Paul’s school in New Hampshire—the “elite” private school recently exposed for sexual abuse between 1948 and 1988—isn’t alone in its history of sexual misconduct towards students; it’s simply added its name to a long list of similar schools with allegations of sexual abuse from all over the country. Most of the individuals named as perpetrators of the abuse are teachers (as well as one admissions official).

Sexual Assault Victims & Civil Claims

Victims of sexual abuse often file civil claims against the perpetrator in an effort to obtain compensation to address the many emotional, mental, and physical injuries they suffer from—and the rehabilitation they need—as a result of the sexual abuse. These claims are often predicated on causes of action such as battery, assault, and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Interestingly, reports of alleged abuse at St. Paul’s in particular appeared to cease around the same time when the school’s leadership began to undertake efforts to establish written policies on boundaries regarding sexual abuse and harassment and to educate faculty on mandatory child abuse reporting laws. This arguably indicates that not only are the individual perpetrators responsible for the abuse, but the school which, prior to having these policies in place, arguably failed to protect students from sexual abuse and misconduct, shares in some of that blame In fact, it is not out of the ordinary for civil suits to also be brought against an additional party (in addition to the perpetrator) based on a negligent supervision and/or security claim.

Boca Raton Personal Injury Attorney

Living with the aftermath of sexual abuse can be beyond painful and disheartening, and justice requires that the injured party—the sexual abuse victim—be compensated by the person responsible for causing these injuries. Although the law provides a means for an injured party to recover compensation, navigating the system and achieving fair compensation—in addition to having to psychologically deal with the aftermath of sexual abuse—can be difficult without the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

At Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A., we have a history of bringing successful claims on behalf of sexual abuse victims here in Florida. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you move forward in achieving justice.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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