Child Sexual Abuse in Florida
Children, because of their young age and vulnerability often become the victims of sexual abuse. Research reveals that the sexual abusers usually are people who are close to children. As far as child sexual abuse in Florida is concerned, neighbors, acquaintances, teachers, or for that matter anyone who spends a significant amount of time with children can sexually abuse them. When sexual abuse is done by someone involved with the Catholic Church, it is referred to as clergy abuse, priest abuse, or minister sex abuse.
Similarly sexual abuse in school, camping or scouting trips comes under the category of child sexual abuse. The acts no doubt are horrendous and are tried under the civil or criminal code. The biggest hurdle however is often the statute of limitations pertaining to sexual abuse of children which specifies the timeframe within which the crime needs to be reported for a successful conviction. Cases of child abuse in Florida are no different.
Florida Child Sexual Abuse at a Glance
However complicated the statute of limitations can be in Florida can be understood with the following example. Paula Herndon, in 1991, sued her stepfather Kenneth Graham for childhood sexual abuse in the Florida courts. Paula accused that her father sexually abused her from the period of 1968 to 1975. The lawsuit however did not proceed as Florida’s statute of limitations specifies that a child sexual abuse incident or crime needs to be reported within a four year period. In 2000, the Supreme Court of Florida, decided to engage this case. It was taken into consideration that trauma can lead to memory loss, which can be considered as superseding the statute or that 4 year window. So basically, if there is trauma involved in a childhood sexual abuse case, a complaint can be made after 4 years has passed by from when the abuse last occurred.
Clergy Sexual Abuse in Florida
Florida has a terrible distinction of being the state with one of the highest number of reported clergy abuse cases. However, the cases were reported much later after they had actually taken place. Some date back to 1938 as well. But again, the statute of limitations proves to be a big hindrance in successfully prosecuting a priest who has been accused of clergy abuse. Successful convictions resulted in settlements running into the millions of dollars, certainly if the case has been handled by an effective clergy abuse attorney.
Florida Sexual Abuse and Clergy Abuse Statute of Limitations
In the state of Florida there is a delayed statute of limitations for actions based on sexual abuse or incest against minors. It does not matter if it was clergy abuse, priest abuse, rabbi abuse, or psychologist abuse. You have seven years after your 18th birthday to file a claim against your abuser. So if you were 10 when the abuse happened, you have until you are 25 years old to file your case.
Florida adheres to the Discovery Rule and the gives you 4 years from the date a victim knew or should have known that the injury and abuse were causally connected. The recovery of repressed memories of abuse also qualifies as “discovery.”
As far as criminal statutes are concerned, there is no statute of limitations for serious sex crimes.
If you were sexually abused by a priest, rabbi, coach, psychologist or any other person who sexually abused you, please don’t feel ashamed. We want to help you.
What Needs to be Done to Stop Sexual Abuse and Clergy Abuse?
If you or someone you know has been a victim of childhood sexual abuse or minister sex abuse, the first thing to do is approach a sexual abuse lawyer or a clergy sexual abuse lawyer. Rather than calling anybody or responding to the first ad you see, it is highly recommended that you speak to Florida attorney and sexual abuse advocate Samuel Rogatinsky. Samuel Rogatinsky will listen to your circumstances and he will respect your privacy. You can reach him on his personal cell phone number at 954.995.3805 and he will respond to you very quickly. If you have been sexually abused, Sam can help you but you must contact him now.
Contact me, sexual abuse lawyer Samuel Rogatinsky at (954) 995-3805 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org