California Childhood Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Abusers: Your Time is UP.
Childhood sexual abuse is an indelible trauma that can have deleterious effects on a survivor’s physical and psychological wellbeing. The effects of childhood sexual abuse can persist long into adulthood, potentially tainting relationships, impairing job performance, and diminishing quality of life.
While no reparation can truly atone for the injustice these survivors endured, civil litigation may be an empowering and effective opportunity for the survivor to confront their abuser and obtain some compensation to begin a more hopeful healing journey. One cannot reclaim a stolen childhood, but together we can help bring perpetrators to justice and ensure safeguards are put in place by the institutions that enabled the misconduct. Together, we can save future children from these unspeakable acts.
At Boucher LLP, we have helped hundreds of survivors of childhood sexual abuse make their claims against their abusers and the responsible organizations. We are a team of attorneys who are committed to compassionate care and will fight tirelessly on behalf of our clients to reclaim their lives and end ongoing abuse.
Types of Child Sexual Abuse
Children naturally trust adults in positions of authority, such as their pastor, clergy member, coach, teacher, doctor, or scout leader. Predatory authority figures will often take advantage of their virtually unlimited and unsupervised access to children and begin to “groom” them–that is, to form a relationship with a child or young person with the intention of sexually abusing them.
In some instances of grooming, an abuser may give a child special treatment or attention, or even infiltrate the family through manipulation and seemingly kind acts of generosity. For example, predatory priests in the 1970s and 80s provided families with lavish resources, including cars and school tuition; they invited children to serve at special masses or help at orphanages, and they charmed children with field trips, candy, movies, and vacations.
Once the trusting relationship is established, an abuser may gradually turn the relationship toward sexual conduct, such as sleeping in the same bed. Indeed, not all forms of sexual abuse will involve physical touch. California Penal Code enumerates the various forms of childhood sexual assault, which may include sending obscene matter to a minor, having them pose for explicit photos, masturbating in front of a minor, or any “lewd or lascivious” conduct with a child under the age of 14 for sexual gratification. Any act that is indecent or of a sexual nature with a minor is reprehensible and our attorneys will fight to hold them accountable.
Warning Signs of Child Sexual Abuse
The physical signs of childhood sexual abuse can present as physical injuries, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), or pregnancy. However, most children endure additional psychological effects, such as fear, shame, and self-blame. These internalized thoughts may lead to school problems, hyperactivity, and nightmares, and adolescents may face depression, generalized anxiety, suicidal or self-injurious behavior, sleep disorders, and substance abuse. Boys may take extra steps to prove their masculinity or sexuality, often picking fights or bragging about sexual conquests.
What to Do if You Suspect Child Abuse
Contact your local child protective services office or law enforcement department if you suspect child sexual abuse. It is crucial that we pay attention to the signs and ensure children feel comfortable, heard, and understood as they are unlikely to report their abuse. In fact, studies show that only 16 to 25% of children will formally disclose it and older children will often tell their peers before seeking a parent or official. Most will not report their abuse until adulthood as they begin to struggle with the long-term effects. If you are one of these adults, you still have a chance for justice.
California recently updated its childhood sexual abuse laws and extended the time for survivors to bring a claim. Additionally, you do not have to limit your claim to the perpetrator. Under the new law, survivors can sue the organizations, religious institutions, and/or schools that facilitated the abuse or attempted to conceal it. As experienced child sexual abuse lawyers, Ray Boucher and his team are committed to bringing the responsible leaders, supervisors, and administrators to justice.
How Childhood Sexual Abuse Attorneys in California can Help
The attorneys at Boucher LLP have substantial experience with childhood sexual abuse cases, including sexual abuse by the California clergy, teachers, and members of the entertainment industry.
If you or your loved one is a survivor of sexual abuse, we invite you to partner with our committed team of attorneys to seek justice and begin your path to recovery. We will listen to your story with the utmost care and consideration and explain your options on how to proceed with your claim. Our trauma-informed team recognizes the strength required to report abuse at any stage of life and we commend you for sharing your story. Together we can bring the truth to light, effect change, and empower others to do the same.
As more survivors speak up, fewer institutions and organizations can continue to cover up this depraved misconduct. While healing from such atrocities can be a complex journey, our childhood sexual abuse attorneys believe that compensation can offer some measure of closure and it would be our privilege to help you in the fight for justice.
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Our attorneys are here to listen to you and determine what we can do to win justice on your behalf. Please contact us online or callus at 818-340-5400 today for your free case evaluation.