If You Have Been Taken Advantage of by Someone in Your Life, Our Team Wants to Help.
You deserve the chance to tell your story and hold your abuser accountable. If you are ready to come forward, reach out to a PA Sexual Assault Lawyer at The Villari Firm at (215)-398-7582 to discuss your case confidentially and free of charge.
You deserve the chance to tell your story. Reach out to The Villari Firm, PLLC if you are ready to come forward. We’re available at (215)-600-1363 for free and confidential consultations.
Compassionate Representation for Victims of Sexual Abuse
In the past, many people and organizations have faced no consequences despite harming many because victims were afraid to speak up, or if they did speak up, were not believed. This has changed in recent years as cases of sexual abuse have attracted more media attention and credibility, empowering survivors of sexual violence to talk about happened and see that justice is served.
Those who have sexually abused others, as well as those whose silence has enabled these predators, should be held accountable for their part in these terrible occurrences. They can be held accountable even if they were criminally charged but a lack of conclusive evidence prevented conviction.
If you have been sexually abused or trafficked, know that there is a way to get justice other than the criminal court system. The sexual assault attorneys at the Villari Firm may be able to help you by investigating your claims and by filing a civil lawsuit. Our goal is to pursue justice on your behalf, which in turn helps others by exposing perpetrators and making them pay.
How a Sexual Assault Lawyer Helps You
If your abuser is facing criminal charges, the prosecutor will call you as a witness, however, their priority is to get a conviction, get the defendant off the streets, and deter other perpetrators through your abuser’s sentence.
The prosecutor is working for the state, not for you or your right to justice. Our sexual abuse attorneys will work for you. Let us help you get the justice you deserve. Call us at (215)-398-7582 for your free, confidential consultation.
We Fight for the Rights of Sexual Abuse Victims
We Hold Institutions Accountable for Abuse and Enabling Abuse
Many victims of abuse have been violated by someone who was a trusted authority. When coaches, teachers, counselors, or other adults take advantage of those they should care for, they are betraying everyone’s trust. And all too often, leaders in the organization or institution receive reports of sexual abuse and brush them aside. When organizations close ranks to protect themselves, this is known as institutional abuse.
You are probably aware of one or two recent big sex abuse scandals linked to prominent groups, however, know that this type of mistreatment is widespread. Sexual abusers may be a part of:
- Religious groups or ministries
- Schools or child care organizations
- Foster homes
- Medical organizations (especially residential care/treatment homes)
- Clubs or camps
- Sex Trafficking rings
Any predator in such a situation must face responsibility for what they did to you, and if the institution heard about or knew of instances of sexual abuse and did nothing, you may also have a claim against the institution itself.
Anyone entrusted with the care of others, especially children, should be thoroughly vetted before they are allowed in such a position of authority. Just as important, an institution should take rumors or allegations of sexual abuse seriously, investigate, and inform the authorities if necessary.
If you reported your abuse to authorities within the organization and did not receive help, you deserve justice from those who could have saved you from this nightmare. We can help you.
We Help Victims of Sex Trafficking Get Justice
The Polaris Project estimates the rate of human trafficking jumped 25% between 2017 and 2018. Yet, aside from a few organizations that constantly work to end sex trafficking, the problem is largely pushed under the rug and very few human trafficking criminal cases are prosecuted.
Those who have escaped this brutal situation may be able to file a lawsuit, regardless of whether criminal charges were ever brought. This is true even if you do not know how to find the person who trafficked you. Often, third parties become involved in sex trafficking and can, therefore, face accountability. For example, hotels, night clubs, resorts, and casinos a common venues for sex work. Online marketplaces might also be liable if they host advertisements for the illegal sex trade.
If there is credible reason to believe someone at one (or more) of these establishments was aware it was being used for sex trafficking, we can help you investigate whether the company can be held liable. While the owners and managers of hotels and the like may not be directly involved in trafficking, many of them are aware on some level of what is happening. The honest ones choose to tell the police. Others turn a blind eye because it makes them money. Their negligence makes them complicit in your suffering, and we can help you hold them accountable for it.
Filing a Sexual Abuse Claim in PA
Suing your abuser and perhaps institution that enabled the abuse in civil court in PA involves filing pleadings naming the defendants, alleging that the defendant perpetrator harmed you, causing damages, and alleging that the defendant institution or organization’s negligence allowed the abuse.
The following claims may be made against institutions, among others:
Negligent and Insufficient Security
This allegation is grounded in premises liability. In Pennsylvania, property owners have a duty of care toward visitors to keep the property reasonably safe. Visitors may include guests, patrons, renters, and employees. If the owner of the property where you were attacked should have foreseen the danger of sexual assault on their property and have taken proper security measures but failed to do so, you may have a negligent security claim against them.
Violation of Title IX
Students should be able to pursue a college education without fear of sexual assault. However, assaults on campuses happen all too frequently.
Title IX protects the rights of sexual assault and harassment victims at any public school, including college campuses. The law provides for investigation and the victim’s privacy and safety regardless of whether criminal charges were filed.
If a business, institution, or organization fails to check the background of someone before they hire them, and that person sexually assaults or abuses another person in that workplace, the business, institution, or organization may be held liable.
For example, if a religious institution employs someone with a known history of abusing children, and that employee abuses more children at that religious institution, the institution can be held liable. If a sexual abuser is hired as a camp counselor and sexually abuses campers, the camp itself may face liability.
Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Lawyer FAQ
What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault Cases in PA?
Pennsylvania law currently allows survivors who were abused as adults two years from the incident to file a civil lawsuit for sexual assault. Those who were abused as minors must bring a civil suit against their abuser before age 30, but have until age 50 to file criminal charges against their abuser.
Our legislature is currently reviewing bills that could expand the statute of limitations for children and adults. Our team is closely following this effort and we support the cause of bringing more abusers to justice.
What is the Difference Between Civil & Criminal Sexual Abuse Cases in PA?
A civil case against a sexual abuser is intended to hold the abuser accountable to their victim, while a criminal case holds the abuser defendant accountable to the state. While the state initiates and prosecutes a criminal case of sexual abuse, the sexual assault survivor initiates and controls a civil sexual abuse lawsuit.
In a criminal case, the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. In a civil case, there is no such presumption and both parties are equal before the trial judge.
The results differ between a criminal case and a civil lawsuit. If a criminal defendant is found guilty of a sex crime, they are subject to a jail sentence and government fines and fees. If a civil trial judge finds for the survivor-plaintiff and holds the abuser-defendant liable for the survivor’s damages, the abuser will pay a money judgment to the survivor to compensate the survivor for medical costs, therapy, and lost wages. The judge may also award the survivor compensation for non-economic damages such as psychological damage, pain and suffering, and damage to family relationships caused by the abuse. The judge may also impose punitive damages on your abuser, to financially punish them and to deter others.
What is the Age of Consent in Pennsylvania?
If someone is 16 or older, they can legally consent to sexual activity with anyone they choose, as long as the other person does not have authority over them as defined in Pennsylvania’s institutional sexual assault statute.
Schedule Your Free, Confidential Consultation and Talk with a Sexual Assault Attorney in PA at the Villari Firm
We know that the trauma and injury caused by sex abuse lingers long after you have escaped the person or people who took advantage of you. Bringing a case in civil court may help you heal and bring closure. Though we hope to see abusers face criminal justice as well, filing a civil suit allows you to confront those who hurt you and hold them accountable for their actions.
We understand how hard it can be to open up about your sexual abuse, and we are on your side. We will never push you to do something you are not comfortable with. In a free and confidential consultation, our team will listen to your story and let you know what your legal options are.
When you are ready to pursue your case, we are here to support you.
Contact our team at (215)-398-7582 if you are considering filing a suit against your abuser. We guarantee confidentiality.