Jan 3, 2023
Canadian singer/actress Alanis Morissette revealed in a new documentary for HBO that she was raped by multiple men as a 15-year-old pop star. The Washington Post reported that Morissette describes being the victim of statutory rape in the film, “Jagged,” which is currently screening at the Toronto Film Festival.
“It took me years in therapy to even admit there had been any kind of victimization on my part,” she says in the documentary. “I would always say I was consenting, and then I’d be reminded like ‘Hey, you were 15, you’re not consenting at 15.’ Now I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re all pedophiles. It’s all statutory rape.‘”
In the film, Morissette, 47, does not specifically identify any of the alleged abusers. She does, however, note that calling attention to the issue as a teenager years ago never resulted in any action.
“I did tell a few people and it kind of fell on deaf ears. It would usually be a stand-up, walk-out-of-the-room moment… You know, a lot of people say ‘why did that woman wait 30 years [to report rape]?’ And I’m like, f*** off. They don’t wait 30 years. No one was listening or their livelihood was threatened or their family was threatened.”
Morissette reportedly alludes to additional incidents of sexual harassment in the documentary, stating that the only two possible outcomes when such incidents occurred were to either never work with that person again or “there’d be just some big secret that we’d keep forever.”
Morissette began her music career at 15, and was eventually signed to MCA Canada in 1990. She started recording her debut album, “Alanis,” at age 16.
Morissette has reportedly declined to participate in any press for the documentary, with the Washington Post citing “unspecified reasons.”
In California, the legal age of consent is 18. Accordingly, an adult engaging in sexual intercourse with an individual 17-years-old or younger is committing a crime. The age of consent applies to both males and females.
The only exception to the age of consent involves two parties who are legally married.
Statutory rape in California is what’s known as a “wobbler offense.” A wobbler offense is a crime that can be charged or punished as either a felony or misdemeanor.
For the purposes of this blog, we’ll look at what options statutory rape survivors have for obtaining justice through civil lawsuits.
Yes. While statutory rape may be prosecuted criminally by the District Attorney’s Office, survivors also have the option of pursuing justice on their own terms through a civil lawsuit seeking to recover financial compensation. Unlike criminal lawsuits where the perpetrator could face a fine and/or jail sentence as punishment, a civil lawsuit seeks to recover financial compensation for the victim.
In the example of Alanis Morissette, she alleges multiple men over the age of 18 engaged in sexual intercourse with her when she was a minor. If those incidents had happened in California, Morissette would be eligible to file a civil lawsuit against each offender under AB 218.
AB 218 is recent legislation that temporarily tolls (pauses) the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse crimes through the end of 2022. Under AB 218’s limited three-year lookback window clause, any survivor of childhood sexual abuse is eligible to file a civil lawsuit in pursuit of financial compensation – regardless of how long ago the crime occurred.
However, AB 218’s lookback window is only available through December 31, 2022. After that date, the standard statute of limitations resumes, and survivors who have not filed a claim will likely be left without legal recourse.
To file a claim under AB 218, contact a trusted and experienced member of Dordulian Law Group’s team today at 818-322-4056.
Moreover, AB 218’s treble damages clause allows the courts the latitude to issue triple damages awards in cases of childhood sexual abuse where a cover-up occurred. In an effort to severely punish bad actors who engaged in systemic sexual abuse cover-ups, the treble damages clause was included in AB 218.
As a result, if your AB 218 childhood sexual abuse lawsuit resulted in a $1 million settlement and a cover-up was proven, the courts could thereby increase your ultimate damages award to $3 million.
Dordulian Law Group (DLG) pursues treble damages on behalf of survivors in all applicable AB 218 cases.
Civil lawsuits are filed in an effort to recover financial compensation for various types of losses or damages sustained by the survivor.
Some common damages that may be recoverable after a statutory rape or sexual assault lawsuit include:
If you’re considering pursuing justice against your perpetrator, a civil lawsuit can be a means of achieving that goal and moving forward on your own terms with the financial compensation you deserve. Additionally, the majority of sexual assault civil lawsuits reach a successful conclusion without having to endure a lengthy or difficult jury trial.
Regardless of when the crime occurred, filing your civil claim as soon as possible is strongly recommended. Filing your claim timely increases the potential that it will reach a successful conclusion (and all civil lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations).
DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County who successfully obtained life sentences against countless dangerous sexual predators.
With more than 100 jury trial victories and over 25 years of litigation experience, Dordulian offers survivors a level of expertise and dedication that simply can’t be found at most other sexual assault law firms. As a sex crimes prosecutor, Dordulian saw first-hand how sexual assault survivors often require additional resources beyond mere legal expertise as they navigate the justice system.
Accordingly, Dordulian created the SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) within DLG’s Sex Crimes Division to offer survivors a four-tiered support network of dedicated professionals.
With DLG, survivors have 24/7 access to all four tiers of our SAJE Team:
Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.
Survivors choose DLG to gain peace of mind, knowing we’ll always fight to recover maximum financial compensation for your sexual assault civil claim. Our past experience and proven results are an indication of the personalized attention and dedication we offer every sexual assault survivor client:
Contact us today online or by phone for a free, discreet, and no obligation consultation. We’ll listen to the facts of your case (DLG team members believe survivors), launch a thorough investigation led by our SAJE Team member and in-house Chief Investigator, Moses Castillo, and develop an aggressive but precise legal strategy based on our years of experience and past results. We’ll always fight to ensure you recover the maximum financial damages award you deserve for your claim, allowing you to move forward on your own terms.
DLG’s No Win/No Fee Guarantee means survivors never have to worry about paying any upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses. We accept all cases on a contingency fee basis, and you do not pay anything until we recover maximum financial compensation for you.
DLG represents sexual assault survivors in California and throughout the entire nation.
Survivors trust DLG to handle their claims because of our experience, dedication, and proven results. We are here for you as your dedicated legal advocate when you’re ready to take the first step towards pursuing justice.
Contact a member of DLG’s SAJE Team today to learn more about how we can help you obtain the justice you deserve.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.