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Sexual Abuse Claims

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Sexual Abuse Claims

Brien Roche

Factors To Look At In Sexual Abuse Claims

Children are the most frequent victims of abuse. They need to be protected. The predators who engage in sexual abuse are indeed predators. They are cunning. Abusers seek out places to prey on their victims. They are patient. They may stay in place for years before striking. Abusers prey on the most vulnerable. The child who is least popular is their frequent victim. There are several things to look at in these claims

Background Checks

What type of a background check has been conducted on each person who will be in contact with the child.  Also it may be worthwhile to take a look at the Facebook or MySpace page of any such person. Are they high school students,college students or beyond? Has the organization volunteered background info about these people? If not that may say a great deal.

Ratio

Another factor to look at is the ratio of adults to children. The American Camping Association requires a specific ratio at all times. 

Physical Layout

The physical layout of the facility is important. Are there areas where inappropriate behavior might go on that would not be seen by other adults.
If you or a loved one have been abused or injured as a result of this type of misconduct contact Brien Roche, serving the Fairfax, Virginia and D.C. area for over 40 years.

Stamina of The Victim

These claims require that a determination be made early on as to whether or not the victim has the stamina to proceed with such a claim.

Defenses To Sexual Abuse Claims

One of the first issues that needs to be addressed is whether or not the claim may be barred by the statute of limitations. Some states have tolled the statute of limitations where there is evidence that the wrongdoer has in any way fraudulently concealed the abuse. If that circumstance exists, then the statute of limitations may not have expired.

Another defense frequently asserted is a constitutional defense premised upon the separation of church and state. Most courts have rejected that defense on the theory that these claims do not involve the state trying to regulate church behavior. Instead they involve the employer/employee relationship.

ACE Studies Should Be Reviewed

If you handle child sexual abuse claims you should go to the site maintained by the Center For Disease Control and view the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies. They go in to some detail in analyzing the effects that childhood sex abuse and other forms of abuse have on children. These are a must if you handle these types of cases.

Sexual Abuse Claims From Camps

This is the age of summer camps of all types. They range from sports camps to computer camps to mathematics camps. Camps can be held to certain professional standards . You need to know those. In addition what proof do they have of compliance with those standards. 

Sexual Abuse Claims and The Clergy

In terms of framing a lawsuit based upon clergy negligence or abuse, it is important that the pleading not reference church doctrine or policy. The state has no authority under the U. S. Constitution to regulate church doctrine or policy. Likewise, these claims should not be framed as malpractice claims but rather simply as either abuse or negligence claims.

Sexual Abuse Claims From The Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America has released huge files on child sex abuse. This abuse has occurred within the Scouts over the last 50 years.  These files consist of 15,000 pages of horror.  The records were released by Court Order.

Details Of Horror

The files detail many instances of abuse by scout masters and others. They consist of one man who began in 1974 taking nude pictures of boys. When detected he was forced to leave scouting. He then came back into scouting two years later. He was then accused of child sex abuse.  That same man was later found guilty of improper conduct with a minor.

Another Scout leader in the D.C. Metro area was found guilty in 1987 of sexually abusing boys and sentenced to 15 years in prison. In spite of that it took the Boy Scouts of America until 2010 to adopt rules that require local Scout leaders to report sex abuse claims to the police. If you or a loved one have been abused or injured as a result of this type of misconduct contact Brien Roche, serving the Fairfax, Virginia and D.C. area for over 40 years.

Pattern Of Behavior

The pattern that these abusers have followed is much the same as what has been seen in other outfits. The abuser can come in the form of teachers, counselors, coaches or in this case scout masters. They tend to jump from one place to another once they are found out.

An example that should outrage all involves a Dr. Horowitz. He was a child psychiatrist who had built a host of ways to surround himself with young boys who he could then abuse.

The facts from these files show that these people do not quit.  They try to live what appears to be a normal life. They go on preying on young people.

Hazing as a Type of Abuse

A young band member at Florida A&M died from injuries as a result of hazing on a bus. This included severe body blows from fellow band members.  Many of these hazing cases involve forced drinking of liquor. Some involve physical beatings. Some of them result in death.

One Florida congresswoman has proposed legislation that calls for stiffer sanctions for hazing. She is also requesting that any student found guilty of hazing would no longer be able to receive financial aid.  In addition, there have been proposals that would restrict U.S. transportation funds to those states that fail to enact stiff hazing laws.

State Action

Forty-four states and D.C. as of 2012 have hazing laws but only eight of them class those laws as being felonies.

Almost all national fraternities now have rules that bar hazing.  However, that has not deterred students. On many campuses, it is part of the campus culture. Therefore students that enroll in fraternities know this is something they will have to go through.

Several things have been proposed to control the problem. Banning all fraternities and sororities is favored by some. Another idea is that the housing be made alcohol-free. Live-in supervisory management is another idea. Increased disclosure by schools as to any hazing case would promote prompt reports to the local police. These steps may still not be enough to prevent the deaths and injuries that have been seen in the past.

Sexual Abuse Claims and Vicarious Liability

The doctrine of vicarious liability, may be the linchpin of your case. It needs to be carefully framed within the suit papers initiating the lawsuit. Typically the abusive relationship is something that is cultivated by the abuser. It is cultivated by the abuser by developing a relationship with the victim that may have been initially motivated by a desire on the  part of the abuser to fulfill his church related duties. In that context the church owes a duty to prevent foreseeable harm, including intentional acts, given the fact that the relationship arose in the course of employment with the church. 

Another way to look at the circumstance is that the church is the one that entrusted the victim to the abuser and that imposes a certain duty on the church to protect the victim. The Restatement of Torts (Second) §317 indicates that under certain circumstances an employer has a duty to exercise reasonable care to control an employee even though the employee may be acting outside the scope of the employment.  That rationale may apply to these types of cases. See the post on this site dealing with vicarious liability

Church Secrecy

Within the Catholic Church, Canon 489 provides for a secret archive of certain documentation that may be maintained by a diocese.  It is important that inquiry be made as to what is in that secret archive to the extent that it may relate to your claim. Likewise any communications between the abuser and his supervisor, whether it be a bishop or otherwise, should be fully explored. As long as these documents are not protected by the clergy-communicant privilege, then they should be subject to disclosure.  Likewise, any treatment records of the offender that have been disclosed to the church may be subject to disclosure on the grounds that any privilege has been waived.

Contact a Professional Liability Attorney

If you or a loved one have been abused or injured as a result of this type of misconduct contact Brien Roche, serving the Fairfax, Virginia and D.C. area for over 40 years.

Also for more info on clergy abuse see the pages on Wikipedia.

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Sexual Abuse Claims

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Sexual Abuse Claims

Brien Roche

Factors To Look At In Sexual Abuse Claims

Children are the most frequent victims of abuse. They need to be protected. The predators who engage in sexual abuse are indeed predators. They are cunning. Abusers seek out places to prey on their victims. They are patient. They may stay in place for years before striking. Abusers prey on the most vulnerable. The child who is least popular is their frequent victim. There are several things to look at in these claims

Background Checks

What type of a background check has been conducted on each person who will be in contact with the child.  Also it may be worthwhile to take a look at the Facebook or MySpace page of any such person. Are they high school students,college students or beyond? Has the organization volunteered background info about these people? If not that may say a great deal.

Ratio

Another factor to look at is the ratio of adults to children. The American Camping Association requires a specific ratio at all times. 

Physical Layout

The physical layout of the facility is important. Are there areas where inappropriate behavior might go on that would not be seen by other adults.
If you or a loved one have been abused or injured as a result of this type of misconduct contact Brien Roche, serving the Fairfax, Virginia and D.C. area for over 40 years.

Stamina of The Victim

These claims require that a determination be made early on as to whether or not the victim has the stamina to proceed with such a claim.

Defenses To Sexual Abuse Claims

One of the first issues that needs to be addressed is whether or not the claim may be barred by the statute of limitations. Some states have tolled the statute of limitations where there is evidence that the wrongdoer has in any way fraudulently concealed the abuse. If that circumstance exists, then the statute of limitations may not have expired.

Another defense frequently asserted is a constitutional defense premised upon the separation of church and state. Most courts have rejected that defense on the theory that these claims do not involve the state trying to regulate church behavior. Instead they involve the employer/employee relationship.

ACE Studies Should Be Reviewed

If you handle child sexual abuse claims you should go to the site maintained by the Center For Disease Control and view the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies. They go in to some detail in analyzing the effects that childhood sex abuse and other forms of abuse have on children. These are a must if you handle these types of cases.

Sexual Abuse Claims From Camps

This is the age of summer camps of all types. They range from sports camps to computer camps to mathematics camps. Camps can be held to certain professional standards . You need to know those. In addition what proof do they have of compliance with those standards. 

Sexual Abuse Claims and The Clergy

In terms of framing a lawsuit based upon clergy negligence or abuse, it is important that the pleading not reference church doctrine or policy. The state has no authority under the U. S. Constitution to regulate church doctrine or policy. Likewise, these claims should not be framed as malpractice claims but rather simply as either abuse or negligence claims.

Sexual Abuse Claims From The Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America has released huge files on child sex abuse. This abuse has occurred within the Scouts over the last 50 years.  These files consist of 15,000 pages of horror.  The records were released by Court Order.

Details Of Horror

The files detail many instances of abuse by scout masters and others. They consist of one man who began in 1974 taking nude pictures of boys. When detected he was forced to leave scouting. He then came back into scouting two years later. He was then accused of child sex abuse.  That same man was later found guilty of improper conduct with a minor.

Another Scout leader in the D.C. Metro area was found guilty in 1987 of sexually abusing boys and sentenced to 15 years in prison. In spite of that it took the Boy Scouts of America until 2010 to adopt rules that require local Scout leaders to report sex abuse claims to the police. If you or a loved one have been abused or injured as a result of this type of misconduct contact Brien Roche, serving the Fairfax, Virginia and D.C. area for over 40 years.

Pattern Of Behavior

The pattern that these abusers have followed is much the same as what has been seen in other outfits. The abuser can come in the form of teachers, counselors, coaches or in this case scout masters. They tend to jump from one place to another once they are found out.

An example that should outrage all involves a Dr. Horowitz. He was a child psychiatrist who had built a host of ways to surround himself with young boys who he could then abuse.

The facts from these files show that these people do not quit.  They try to live what appears to be a normal life. They go on preying on young people.

Hazing as a Type of Abuse

A young band member at Florida A&M died from injuries as a result of hazing on a bus. This included severe body blows from fellow band members.  Many of these hazing cases involve forced drinking of liquor. Some involve physical beatings. Some of them result in death.

One Florida congresswoman has proposed legislation that calls for stiffer sanctions for hazing. She is also requesting that any student found guilty of hazing would no longer be able to receive financial aid.  In addition, there have been proposals that would restrict U.S. transportation funds to those states that fail to enact stiff hazing laws.

State Action

Forty-four states and D.C. as of 2012 have hazing laws but only eight of them class those laws as being felonies.

Almost all national fraternities now have rules that bar hazing.  However, that has not deterred students. On many campuses, it is part of the campus culture. Therefore students that enroll in fraternities know this is something they will have to go through.

Several things have been proposed to control the problem. Banning all fraternities and sororities is favored by some. Another idea is that the housing be made alcohol-free. Live-in supervisory management is another idea. Increased disclosure by schools as to any hazing case would promote prompt reports to the local police. These steps may still not be enough to prevent the deaths and injuries that have been seen in the past.

Sexual Abuse Claims and Vicarious Liability

The doctrine of vicarious liability, may be the linchpin of your case. It needs to be carefully framed within the suit papers initiating the lawsuit. Typically the abusive relationship is something that is cultivated by the abuser. It is cultivated by the abuser by developing a relationship with the victim that may have been initially motivated by a desire on the  part of the abuser to fulfill his church related duties. In that context the church owes a duty to prevent foreseeable harm, including intentional acts, given the fact that the relationship arose in the course of employment with the church. 

Another way to look at the circumstance is that the church is the one that entrusted the victim to the abuser and that imposes a certain duty on the church to protect the victim. The Restatement of Torts (Second) §317 indicates that under certain circumstances an employer has a duty to exercise reasonable care to control an employee even though the employee may be acting outside the scope of the employment.  That rationale may apply to these types of cases. See the post on this site dealing with vicarious liability

Church Secrecy

Within the Catholic Church, Canon 489 provides for a secret archive of certain documentation that may be maintained by a diocese.  It is important that inquiry be made as to what is in that secret archive to the extent that it may relate to your claim. Likewise any communications between the abuser and his supervisor, whether it be a bishop or otherwise, should be fully explored. As long as these documents are not protected by the clergy-communicant privilege, then they should be subject to disclosure.  Likewise, any treatment records of the offender that have been disclosed to the church may be subject to disclosure on the grounds that any privilege has been waived.

Contact a Professional Liability Attorney

If you or a loved one have been abused or injured as a result of this type of misconduct contact Brien Roche, serving the Fairfax, Virginia and D.C. area for over 40 years.

Also for more info on clergy abuse see the pages on Wikipedia.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation