Schlachman, Belsky, Weiner & Davey, P.A.

Baltimore Law Blog

Most Baltimore children place a lot of trust in the adults in their life. Parents, teachers and others are seen as authority figures, leaders and mentors. It is unfathomable that those same adults, or any other adult, could be responsible for injuring the child. Yet, incidents of child injury happen to Baltimore-area children at the hands of adults, with tragic and long-lasting consequences.

When children are injured by an adult, such as in a case of sexual abuse, the injured child and their parent or guardian should understand that there are certain options. Criminal charges are obviously front and center in pursuing action against the adult who committed the act. Beyond criminal law, however, individuals can also hold the adult accountable in a civil case, where the injured party can obtain compensation for the injury.

There are rules in place that govern the civil cases that must be followed. Chief among these rules are statutes of limitation that govern the time limit for bringing a lawsuit against a sexual abuser. If the statute is not followed, the child likely will not be able to bring any lawsuit against the adult, and, therefore, it is essential that the case be brought within the time specified in the statute.

For instance, one individual recently filed a sex abuse lawsuit against a famed director from Hollywood. The director, who directed movies, such as the X-Men movies, is alleged to have offered the person a role in those movies when the person was a child, in exchange for sexual favors. The incident was part of a number of alleged incidents perpetrated against the boy, which included not only the promises of appearing in a movie, but threats if the boy did not give into the sexual demands.

The case was filed in a different state, where some of the abuse occurred, due to a different statute of limitations in that state. The other state allows a short window for old sexual abuse cases to be filed, which permitted the individual to file the lawsuit based on the abuse that had allegedly occurred years earlier.

Individuals should be aware of the statute of limitations in their state, since statutes of limitation vary across different states. Once the claim is determined to be allowable under the statute, individuals can proceed to file the lawsuit and pursue compensation from the abuser who fundamentally changed their life.

Source: CNN, "'X-Men' director Bryan Singer targeted in teen sex abuse lawsuit," Alan Duke, April 17, 2014

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