How Do I File a California School Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

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How Do I File a California School Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

How Do I File a California School Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

Feb 10, 2024

Sexual Abuse is an unfortunate and traumatic experience for many kids in the U.S. But when it occurs in a school, which is supposed to be a safe place for children, it shows blatant institutional failure. The statistics on school sexual abuse in the United States are alarming. In 2015, 3,5 million students from 8th-11th grades reported having sexual contact with adults.

How Do I File a California School Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

Experts attribute this increase to a number of factors, including constant internet access and social media. All children have smartphones and spend hours online unsupervised. As a result, according to the Education Department, sexual violence has increased dramatically over the past few years.

During the 2017-2018 school years, U.S. elementary and secondary public schools reported an increase of more than 50% in sexual assault allegations. American schools reported nearly 15,000 incidents of sexual assault, a 55% increase over the previous school year.

The following statistics have been confirmed among the 15,000 incidents of sexual assault reported in American schools:

  • More than 14,100 incidents were classified as sexual abuse.
  • The most significant increase was reported in incidents classified as sexual abuse – 53%.
  • Around 780 incidents of attempted or actual rape were reported by schools.
  • The number of reported incidents of rape and attempted rape has nearly doubled compared to incidents in the 2015-16 school years.

You and your family are entitled to legal protection if an adult or a student from school abuses your child. You should consult a seasoned Dordulian Law Group attorney and also make every effort to find any support resources that are available for you and your child.

Washington Post Report: Alarming Sexual Abuse Statistics as ‘Underestimate’

The above statistics are alarming for parents and students, but the extent of the problem could be greater than they suggest. Shiwali Patel, of the National Women’s Law Center, told the Washington Post recently that reported cases of sexual assault in schools are likely still “underestimated.” According to the National Education Association, sexual violence will “reemerge,” as the nation slowly recovers after the COVID-19 epidemic and more students begin to return to school.

Additionally, in a recent FOX News article, it was revealed that between January and September of 2022, at least 269 educators had been arrested for sexual misconduct. This staggering figure equates to approximately one educator being arrested per day.

According to FOX, the breakdown of 269 arrests is as follows:

  • Four principals
  • Two assistant principals
  • There are 226 teachers in the classroom.
  • Teacher’s Aides 20
  • 17 substitute teachers

At least 199 arrests or 74% of them reportedly involve crimes against students.

California School Sexual Abuse Statistics

California School Sexual Abuse Statistics

Californians are increasingly concerned about the issue of sexual violence in schools. Every week, there’s another news headline about a teacher, coach or administrator in California who has allegedly sexually abused students.

The Redlands Daily Facts has published a report that highlights the problem of sexual abuse at California schools.

The report provided the following statistics

  • By the time a student graduates from high school, one out of ten will have experienced sexual misconduct at school by school employees.
  • 53% of incidents happen at school or during a school-related event.
  • Online, 19% of incidents are reported.
  • 79% of sexual assaults in schools involve skin-to-skin contacts.
  • 14 % of sexual assaults in schools do not involve any contact.
  • 56% of victims of sexual violence in schools are women
  • The average age for a victim of sexual assault in school is 15 years old.
  • 67% of perpetrators of sexual violence in schools are men
  • The average age for a sexual predator in a school is 36.
  • Only 53% are ever convicted.
  • Only 51% school sexual offenders are listed on the state registry.

How Do I File a California School Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

The extent of the problem is difficult to quantify. There is no national database that tracks incidents of sexual abuse by K-12 school employees. The Redlands Daily Facts reported that “anecdotal reports, which are strewn across newspapers and news sites in the United States, suggest something close to an outbreak.”

Recent California School Sexual Abuse Settlements

Multi-million dollar settlements have been reached in lawsuits filed by survivors of sexual assaults at California schools.

Recent examples of this include:

  • A San Jose school was ordered to pay $7.5 million to five men who were sexually abused by their elementary school teacher in the late 1970s and early ’80s.
  • Survivors of a former Sun Valley high school wrestling coach were awarded a $52 million settlement in October 2022. The complaint alleged that the Los Angeles Unified School District knew of prior sexual misconduct and did nothing about it.
  • A jury awarded $102.5 million in March 2022 to two women who sued a Northern California school district. The complaint alleged that officials failed to stop a middle school teacher from sexually grooming and abusing them as minors.
  • In April 2022, a $13.7 million settlement was reached with the Riverside Unified School District after 10 students alleged sexual abuse by former school technology aide Fernando Figueroa. The survivors ranged between the ages of 7 and 11 at the time of the abuse.
  • An $11 million school sex abuse settlement was reached between Redlands Unified School District and seven survivors. The plaintiffs, initially named in four separate lawsuits, accused a former Clement Middle School teacher, Sean Ramiro Lopez, of various sex crimes (Lopez is currently serving a 74-year prison sentence for sexual abuse).

In the sections below, we will provide details on what types of damages may be included in a California school sex abuse settlement or verdict.

California School Sexual Abuse Laws

California law defines sexual abuse as any act that involves a minor – as anyone under 18 is unable to give consent under the law. Sexual abuse includes different types of sexual assault or exploitation.

  • Sexual Assault

The legal definition for sexual abuse includes a wide range of horrifying acts such as rapes, incest, oral sex, and sodomy. Sexual assault can include penetration with objects, fingers or genitals; sexual contact between the genitals and mouths of two people or between the genitals and mouths of another person; intentional touching of intimate areas or genitals in front of children.

  • Sexual Exploitation

The sexual exploitation of children includes depicting minors engaged in acts that are defined as sex assault. Adults who encourage, coerce or convince a child to take part in nudity modeling, prostitution or live sexual performances or those who help others do so are also included. It is also illegal to coerce a guardian of a minor into allowing the child’s participation.

  • Commercial Exploitation

Commercial exploitation is sexual trafficking, as well as using shelter, food, or money to convince a child to perform sexual acts.

Contact a lawyer and a therapist who specialize in sexual assault cases as soon as your child informs you of any sexual assault. You may be able file a suit even if your case is different from the ones above.

California’s sex equality law states that students have the right to an environment in school free of discrimination. The updated law includes the right to a school environment free from sexual harassment and violence.
If schools fail to take action after an instance of sex abuse is discovered, they may be sued and held responsible for their negligence.

How To File A California School Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

Dordulian Law Group can help you if you have been the victim of any type of school sexual abuse – whether the perpetrator is a teacher, coach, an administrative assistant, or another type of school employee. You may be entitled a large cash settlement if you file a civil suit. Our experienced and proven attorneys for school sexual abuse will fight to get you the maximum amount of financial damages. This includes all damages that may be applicable, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma and psychological distress
  • Loss of future earnings capacity or lost wages
  • Past and future hospital or medical expenses
  • Past and future counseling or therapy expenses
  • Punitive damages

Contact DLG at 866-GO-SEE-SAM to speak with a lawyer about your case of sexual abuse by a teacher or coach. No upfront fees are charged for our legal services. You only pay after you receive a maximum cash settlement or verdict.

What is the deadline for filing a California school sexual abuse claim?

If the school sexual abuse took place before 2024, the deadline for filing civil lawsuits seeking compensation is now 40 years of age.

If you discover a psychological injury such as post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) resulting from childhood sexual abuse, then you have five years to file a civil lawsuit.

California recently passed legislation known as the Justice for Survivors Act or AB 452. As of 2024, survivors of childhood sex abuse in California are no longer bound to any statute of limitations when bringing a civil claim for financial compensation. If the abuse occurred after January 1, 2024, the survivor may sue – whether the defendant is an individual or institution like a school – at any time.

Child sexual abuse attorney and founder of Dordulian Law Group – Sam Dordulian – expressed his support for AB 452 in a February 2023 interview with The Daily Californian.

It takes an extremely long time for children to be able to process what happened to them to be able to come out and tell their story,” Dordulian said. “If you put an arbitrary age like 40 or 26, or whatever age you pick, you are still going to limit a lot of people who are not ready to come forward and tell their story from ever getting justice.”

It is important to file civil lawsuits as soon as possible, even though recent legislation gave survivors of childhood sexual assault more time in which to make a claim. This will help ensure that victims of school sexual assault have the best possible chance to obtain justice.

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.

Dordulian Law Group offers a confidential and free consultation to all victims of school sexual abuse. Our team is dedicated to getting justice for survivors of sexual abuse. We have secured more than $100,000,000 worth of settlements and verdicts in behalf of clients just like you. Contact Dordulian Law Group today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM to take the first step towards securing justice for your California school sexual abuse case.

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