Across California and the nation, Girl Scout chapters, and other youth organizations, maintain clear and firm policies that prohibit any form of child abuse and neglect. The organization also maintains strict reporting policies in the event of a suspected abuse. Any employee or volunteer who believes a child has been the victim of sexual assault or abuse must immediately report the incident to local authorities. Not only is there a criminal element to these cases but there is also a civil element. According to California personal injury law abuse, assault and molestation victims may be entitled to benefits and financial compensation for their injuries, pain, suffering and medical issues (both physical and psychological)
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault by a Girl Scout leader, you have more rights than you may realize in taking legal action. The child assault lawyers at The Cifarelli Law Firm want you to understand your rights and the legal courses of action you can take to seek justice for this heinous crime. Our attorneys serve abuse and injury victims all over California including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego.
History of Sexual Assault in the Girl Scouts
Child abuse, or sexual assault, is a very serious crime with strict criminal consequences for the perpetrator. In 2012, a Bellingham, Washington Girl Scout volunteer was sentenced to three years in prison for the sexual abuse of a teenager and asking another minor girl to text nude photos of herself. The defendant, Andre Acosta-Ruiz, was sentenced to 3 years in state prison for the crime. Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts issued a statement assuring the public they are doing everything they can to protect their members from these incidents.
However, a similar story from Kissimmee, Florida suggests there is a pattern of this behavior in the nationwide organization. Eight girls reported that they were molested by their Girl Scouts leader David Wayne Fisher. The girls were between the ages 10-11 at the time and were assaulted during a camping trip to Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness resort. Fisher is now serving a 15-year sentence in state prison. Fisher had previously served as a substitute teacher with a local school district but was asked not to return due to inappropriate behavior with the students.
Legal Rights of the Victim
From the cases above, you can see that the defendants themselves were not the only ones guilty or responsible for the crime. Both the Girl Scouts organization and the public school district can and should be held responsible for failing to protect the children in their care from sexual predators. In cases like this, there are more legal options available to the victim and/or victims’ family than you may be aware.
These liable parties can and should be held responsible for their negligence. In all crimes involving the sexual assault of a minor, both criminal and civil suits can be filed. In fact, you do not have to wait for the verdict from the criminal trial to file a civil suit. In addition to seeking criminal justice, you can file an action against any person or organization that was mandated to report the abuse but failed to do so. Filing a civil action allows you to receive compensation for emotional distress and physical pain, as well as medical expenses and psychiatric care. The attacker is considered liable for the abuse even if the minor consented to the sexual act.
Child abuse causes undue emotional, physical and mental damage to both the victim and victim’s family. Do not let the parties involved in this horrible crime walk away without facing the consequences of their actions, or lack thereof. Instead, consult an experienced personal injury attorney to review the details of your case. We can use our years of experience in these cases to help you achieve the justice you deserve on behalf of your child.
What Should I Do if I or a Loved One Have Been a Victim of Girl Scouts Abuse?
If you or someone you love has been the victim of sexual abuse while participating in Girl Scouts, it is essential that you speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Even as adults, victims of child sexual abuse have the right to seek justice through legal action.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
In California, victims of childhood sexual abuse have until the age of 40 or five years after first discovering the abuse to take legal action. It is best to take action as soon as possible. Waiting to file can complicate legal action.
Abuse that occurs within Girl Scouts may be suppressed for years. The extended statute of limitations allows victims of childhood sexual abuse in California to hold their attackers to account even decades after the abuse occurred. If you were sexually abused in Girl Scouts, get in touch with our firm today to schedule a private and complimentary consultation where we can discuss your rights, your options, and the best path toward recovery.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for My Childhood Sexual Abuse Case?
Victims of childhood sexual abuse need support, including counseling and other therapeutic services, to address the horrible mistreatment they faced. The physical and mental consequences of sexual abuse during childhood are profound, and may result in mood disorders, PTSD, substance abuse, and ideation; seeking help is often emotionally and financially draining.
Fighting for compensation for these types of damages helps victims of Girl Scout abuse receive the financial support they need to seek the support they deserve.
How Do I Know if I Have a Case?
If you were sexually abused as a Girl Scout, you should talk to an attorney immediately to learn about your options. Childhood sexual abuse is vast and can include physical violence, such as sexual touching and penetration, and visual violence, such as an adult exposing their body, showing a child pornography, or watching a child go to the bathroom.
If you suspect you were the victim of any type of abuse while participating in Girl Scouts, talking to an attorney can help you determine the best course of action.
Why Should I Choose the Cifarelli Law Firm to Handle My Case?
The childhood sexual abuse attorneys at the Cifarelli Law Firm have a long and proud history of helping victims of abuse get justice. We have been involved in child sex abuse cases that garnered national attention, but we place just as much importance on those cases that often go unnoticed. We believe victims of childhood sexual abuse and are here to fight tirelessly for the justice they deserve.
If you need a Girl Scout sexual abuse attorney, we encourage you to get in touch for a confidential and obligation-free consultation where we can listen to your story and discuss all of your legal options.