How Survivors Can Get Full Restitution in Criminal Court for Certain Sexual Abuse Violations

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How Survivors Can Get Full Restitution in Criminal Court for Certain Sexual Abuse Violations

How Survivors Can Get Full Restitution in Criminal Court for Certain Sexual Abuse Violations

Aug 23, 2022

At Dordulian Law Group, we represent survivors of sexual assault, abuse, and harassment in civil lawsuits. The types of sex crime claims that we handle often encompass traumatic incidents, such as rape or child sexual abuse.

When a sex crime occurs, a civil lawsuit can be an effective means of obtaining justice and recovering financial compensation for the survivor. A financial damages award for a sexual assault or abuse claim can include compensation for both economic and non-economic losses.

Economic losses represent losses sustained by a survivor which can be proven with a receipt. Examples may include hospital or medical expenses, counseling or therapy costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and more.

Non-economic losses represent intangible harm endured by a survivor. Examples may include pain and suffering, emotional or psychological harm, and reduced quality of life.

However, under California law, if a sexual perpetrator is charged with certain criminal offenses, the attorney representing the survivor in a civil claim can actually seek financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages through the criminal courts via a restitution order. Pursuing damages through this method of litigation can have a number of advantages.

Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) founder and former sex crimes prosecutor, Sam Dordulian, recently handled such a claim on behalf of a childhood sexual abuse survivor. In the sections below, we will review how this law – despite being arcane and, in some instances, even unknown to experienced prosecutors – can help certain survivors of sexual assault and abuse get both criminal and civil justice which includes financial compensation for economic and non-economic losses.

Certain Sex Crime Violations May be Eligible for Financial Restitution Under California Penal Code § 1202.4

California Penal Code § 1202.4 establishes the various ways in which a victim of a crime who endures a loss shall receive restitution directly from a defendant convicted of that crime. The majority of this specific section of the Penal Code addresses how economic losses must be paid by a defendant for things like:

  • Stolen or damaged property
  • Medical expenses
  • Mental health or counseling expenses
  • Lost wages

However, section (F) of California Penal Code § 1202.4 also establishes how certain felony violations entitle a victim to restitution for non-economic losses, such as psychological harm.

There are three felony violations identified within section (F) of Penal Code § 1202.4:

  • Section 288 (a) – (c) (lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 or 15)
  • Section 288.5 (continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of 14)
  • Section 288.7 (sexual acts with a child under the age of 10)

As a result, survivors of such sexual abuse violations who pursue a claim under California Penal Code § 1202.4 in criminal court may be able to secure fast compensation without prolonged litigation in civil court.

DLG Case Study: Advantages of Pursuing Claims in Criminal Court on Behalf of Child Sexual Abuse Survivors

DLG’s Sam Dordulian recently sought full restitution in criminal court on behalf of a childhood sexual abuse survivor who was molested by someone she knew.

By pursuing this particular litigation avenue under California Penal Code § 1202.4, a survivor may be able to secure maximum financial compensation while avoiding some common inconveniences which can be found in civil claims.

Some advantages afforded through this type of child sex abuse lawsuit may include:

  • Survivor secures fast justice by avoiding potential years of civil litigation
  • Survivor likely avoids having to be deposed
  • Case likely goes before a sympathetic criminal judge who is familiar with the sordid history of the defendant (and therefore potentially more sympathetic with a victim of crime when deciding on a final damages award)
  • Judge may award both economic and non-economic damages
  • Survivor may recover maximum compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering or emotional trauma (a criminal defense attorney will rarely hire defense experts to challenge the extent of harm suffered by a survivor)

Once a restitution order from the court is issued, said order can be converted into a civil judgment. Accordingly, as DLG’s Sam Dordulian demonstrated in the aforementioned civil case, a sexual abuse lawyer can then go after a defendant’s assets (per a traditional civil claim).

But by proceeding under California Penal Code § 1202.4, the survivor may actually be able to secure both criminal and civil justice in a much shorter amount of time (while still recovering maximum financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages).

To summarize, if your perpetrator is facing criminal charges under section 288, 288.5, or 288.7 of California Penal Code § 1202.4 as outlined above, you may have an opportunity to pursue a claim for damages quickly and without some of the common inconveniences that may arise in civil courts. In such instances, a dedicated and proven DLG sexual abuse lawyer can help you file a claim through the criminal courts in pursuit of a maximum damages award.

Don’t District Attorneys Usually Conduct Restitution Hearings for Crime Victims?

The short answer is “yes,” in most cases. However, if any of the three charges outlined above apply to a defendant, courts typically permit private civil attorneys like Sam Dordulian and the DLG team of sexual abuse lawyers to directly conduct restitution hearings on behalf of affected survivors. Accordingly, a survivor represented by a private DLG attorney who pursues damages through the criminal courts under California Penal Code § 1202.4 could access all of the aforementioned advantages.

Moreover, it should be noted that although many prosecutors are not familiar with the option for sexual abuse survivors to pursue financial compensation in criminal court for certain crimes under California Penal Code § 1202.4, that should not discourage plaintiffs from filing claims. DLG’s experienced attorneys can help you file your claim seeking swift justice and a maximum damages award today.

Ready to Speak to a Childhood Sex Abuse Lawyer About Your Claim?

California AB 218 currently affords survivors of childhood sexual abuse an opportunity to pursue justice, regardless of how long ago a crime occurred. Under AB 218, the statute of limitations on any child sex abuse crime is currently tolled (paused) for a limited period of time. Through the end of 2022, a three-year lookback window (also known as a revival window) is in effect, and all survivors may file claims against perpetrators to recover financial restitution, no matter when the crime occurred.

Whether your claim is against an individual (an immediate family member, relative, or friend) or an entity (such as the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Southern Baptist Convention, or a school), AB 218 offers all survivors an unprecedented chance at justice.

Contact a sexual abuse lawyer at DLG today for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation via 818-322-4056. Our dedicated team members are available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have about filing a child sexual abuse lawsuit for damages.

DLG’s Four-Tiered SAJE Team Advantage for Sexual Abuse Survivors

DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) is dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of survivors, providing a unique and all-encompassing type of legal representation and support that can’t be found at other firms.

Our four-tiered SAJE Team approach includes:

  • Representation by a former sex crimes prosecutor and team of proven sexual abuse lawyers
  • Access to two licensed and nationally accredited in-house victim advocates
  • Access to a licensed in-house clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience
  • A retired LAPD sex crimes detective with over 30 years of experience investigating your case

As a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian has been fighting on behalf of survivors for over 25 years. DLG’s childhood sexual abuse attorneys have helped countless survivors secure maximum financial damages awards for claims against individual perpetrators and major entities.

When you choose DLG to handle your child sex abuse claim, you won’t have to worry about upfront fees or out-of-pocket expenses. We never collect any fee for our expert legal services until after we successfully secure you maximum financial compensation.

And some of our recent sexual assault and abuse victories demonstrate the dedication to professionalism and excellence we apply to each and every case:

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.

DLG’s proven California child sex abuse attorneys have secured more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts for survivors while maintaining a near-perfect 98% success record. If you’re a survivor of a childhood sex crime, we’re here to fight for justice on your behalf.


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