South Carolina Sexual Abuse
Many people have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of someone they thought they could trust. Most of us are familiar with cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church due to several media publicized cases of priest sexual abuse, but church sex scandals are just one example of an issue that affects many in South Carolina. South Carolina sexual abuse also occurs at schools, camps, nursing homes, mental health facilities, and other places where circumstances allow like the Laurens, South Carolina case in which a former middle school teacher was sent to prison for six years for having sexual encounters with five male students. Speaking out about sexual abuse is important in two ways: It can stop the abuser from hurting others and it helps bring a sense of closure for the victim. Speaking out can feel intimidating, but you and your loved ones are not alone. Lawyers such as Sam Rogatinsky specialize in helping you find your voice in court.
Unlike clergy abuse, sexual abuse can be perpetrated by anyone and occur anywhere. The most common places for sexual abuse to occur are schools, camps, nursing homes, mental health facilities, group homes, and organizations such as the Boy and Girl Scouts of America. Countless children have been sexually abused in South Carolina by those who were entrusted with their care, such as teachers, Boy Scout leaders, camp counselors, and so on. These adults are supposed to protect children, but instead cause them harm, such as Joshua DiMeo of Liberty who pleaded guilty in Sullivan County Court to charges of sexual abuse stemming allegations that he sexually abused two students.
Adults are also sexually abused. At nursing homes and mental health facilities all over South Carolina, social workers and psychologists take advantage of the vulnerable adults that they are supposed to be protecting. Fortunately, the perpetrators can be made to pay for the pain they have caused, but you must seek representation. Sam will help to make sure that everything possible is done to assure that your suffering has not been in vain.
Although the Catholic Church is not the only venue for sexual abuse, it has been the most publicized due to the lack of bishop accountability. When the media picked up on the fact that bishops were just moving sexually abusive priests to another church, news outlets ran with the story. The truth is that clergy abuse includes not only Catholic priests, but rabbis, ministers, reverends, pastors, office staff at places of worship, religious youth directors, and anyone who works for a place of worship. Such was the case with Robert Hrdlicka, a chaplain who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four boys while serving as a Navy chaplain in Italy and South Carolina. If you or someone you know has been sexually abused by someone in this category, you now have an avenue of help available to you. You do not have to be a victim anymore. Contact Sam to find out how you can take control of what happened and help make sure it doesn’t happen to others.
South Carolina Sexual Abuse and Clergy Abuse Statute of Limitations
South Carolina permits a victim of sexual abuse to bring a case up to 6 years after the victim reaches the age of 21 OR 3 years from discovery of the injury upon the showing of a causal relationship between abuse and injury.
The state of South Carolina also recognizes the Discovery Rule and a Court may suspend the statute of limitations during the period in which a victim psychologically represses his or her memory of sexual abuse. The Supreme Court of South Carolina takes the objective approach and has stated that statute of limitations begins to run on the date that a reasonable person in the victim’s circumstances was no longer repressing memories of abuse and the resurfacing memories would have put a reasonable person on sufficient notice that the sexual abuse caused his or her injuries. There is additional case law that says a victim may attempt to recover damages when those memories are triggered and remembered.
South Carolina does not have any retroactive provisions in the statute and is very clear that the law does not allow claims for sexual abuse or clergy abuse to be filed if those claims expired prior to amendment effective August 31, 2001. Simply stated in case law, a new statute cannot be used to revive a claim that had expired prior to its passage pursuant to the due process clause of the South Carolina constitution.
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.
Contact me, sexual abuse lawyer Samuel Rogatinsky at (954) 995-3805 or send an email to email@example.com