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Columbia, SC Sexual Abuse Attorney

Fighting for Child & Adult Sexual Assault Survivors in South Carolina

The impact of child sexual abuse and exploitation can last a lifetime. Not only can the physical violation be extremely traumatizing, but it can also lead to psychological and emotional scars, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts, especially when the abuse was committed by a trusted adult and spans a lengthy period of time. Unfortunately, sexual abuse of children is a widespread issue and affects thousands of Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and gender, but there are several legal remedies available for survivors.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse in South Carolina, our Columbia legal team at the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC is ready to help survivors obtain the justice they deserve and maximize the compensation from the institutions that failed to protect them. We understand that no amount of money can ever undo the abuse you suffered, but it can help you obtain therapeutic and rehabilitative services you need to build a brighter future.

Our firm represents survivors of sexual abuse by:

  • Family members

  • Priests and the clergy

  • Teachers and school staff

  • Childcare and healthcare providers

  • Coaches and mentors

  • Camp counsellors and scout masters

  • Any organization with a duty to protect children

Do not hesitate to call (803) 359-3301 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation.

What is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse or sexual assault involves non-consensual sexual contact. Legally and morally, children—minors under 18 years of age—are unable to provide consent to such activity. Any sort of sexual contact to a child is a serious crime.

Common forms of sexual abuse include:

  • Sexual intercourse

  • Oral sex or sexual contact

  • Groping or fondling

  • Indecent exposure

  • Creation or distribution of child pornography

  • Harassment

  • Stalking

In addition to criminal charges, survivors may bring a civil lawsuit against their abusers and seek financial compensation for the abuse they suffered. Our legal team is here to help survivors and their families navigate the complexities and difficulties of these cases.

Seeking Damages in Child Sex Abuse Cases

A civil lawsuit stemming from sexual abuse is separate from a criminal case. If an abuser is convicted in criminal court, he/she may face incarceration, fines, and other serious penalties. In a civil case, on the other hand, survivors and their families may recover monetary damages and other compensation from the abuser and other liable parties.

Another difference between a civil case and a criminal case is the burden of proof required for each court. In order to be convicted in criminal court, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant committed the offense “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The civil court will decide whether to award damages based on the “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that the defendant’s actions “more than likely” led to the plaintiff’s injuries.

Although sexual assault is not a legal ground in civil law, the following are other legal theories a survivor may wish to abuser liable:

  • Assault and/or battery

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress

  • Negligent infliction of emotional distress

In addition to a civil suit being brought against the abuser, survivors may also sue other parties. For example, if the incident occurred in a school, campgrounds, place of worship, place of business, or any other institution, that entity or even the abuser’s employer may also be held responsible for negligent supervision, negligent security, or failing to adequately protect young and/or vulnerable individuals.

If an abuser has been convicted in criminal court, then it may be easier to recover compensation in civil court. But even if the abuser is not convicted, he/she may still be held responsible for civil damages.

According to the statute of limitations in South Carolina, a child sex abuse victim has six years after he/she turns 21 years old, or three years from the date that he/she realized his/her injuries stemmed from abuse (whichever is later), to file a civil lawsuit. Damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, expect costs for future therapy and counseling, and even punitive damages.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you and your family!

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