Sexual assault can include different forms of sexual abuse, exploitation, and rape. If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual assault, our hearts are with you. To speak out and file criminal charges for a sex crime is a difficult but important task. Our team of sexual assault lawyers and abuse attorneys is here to help you seek the justice you deserve.
Houston Attorneys for Sexual Abuse Cases
How can we help? A sexual abuse lawyer or sexual assault attorney may be able to help when you are harmed by certain sexual predators. Being sexually abused, especially by someone you believed you knew and trusted is an absolute nightmare for the survivors. These actions are criminal under the law and should be reported to the police. The harm done by these actions may result in a lifetime of physical and psychological care for the survivors. Talk to a sexual abuse lawyer today to learn your rights: (713) 932-0777.
At Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., we have had success obtaining settlements for sexual molestation and sexual abuse cases where the abuser is in a special position of power or knowledge over the victim and/or the victim’s parents such as clergymen, counselors, scout leaders, and teachers. All too often in sexual abuse cases, the criminal is someone who holds a position near you, above you, or is in a relationship that puts them in close proximity near you. The very people you think you can trust take advantage of their situation. We understand the common sexual assault defenses that perpetrators use and will use our legal knowledge to fight for you and help you get the justice you deserve.
What Kind of Sexual Abuse Cases Do We Evaluate?
Our law firm handles many types of personal injury cases. While we treat every client with importance, we view sexual assault cases as some of the most serious. We understand how severely each victim of sexual assault and their family can be impacted by the sex-related crimes done to them. At our law firm, we will review and consider sexual abuse cases involving the following:
- Abuse by pastors, ministers, and clergy while in their official capacity
- Abuse by teachers at private schools & private colleges
- Abuse by a medical or dental professional while the person is sedated
- Abuse of a minor by another minor or adult while visiting that person’s home
- Abuse by Taxi, Uber, or Lyft drivers
- Human trafficking of a minor.
The first 5 above are known as institutionalized sexual abuse and involve someone in a position of power or authority exercising wrongful control over the victim. Get a free consultation with a Houston personal injury attorney to discuss whether your case falls into this category: (713) 932-0777.
What Does Texas Law Say About Sexual Assault?
A Houston sexual assault lawyer will have a comprehensive knowledge of the law and can help you file the correct charges based on the specifics of your case. The Texas penal code defines consent in Texas as absent in certain scenarios, including when:
- Physical force is used to compel participation in the sexual assault;
- The other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist;
- The perpetrator has authority over the other person;
- The sexual assault occurred without that person’s consent or knowledge.
Some other forms of sexual assault in Texas can involve:
- Child pornography;
- Aggravated sexual assault;
- Child sexual abuse.
If any of these situations apply to your experience, you should discuss your case with a Houston sexual abuse lawyer. Sexual assault cases can be complex, resulting in a criminal or civil lawsuit. In a sexual assault case, the state must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the court and the jury must completely believe your story in order to convict on sexual assault charges. This is why we highly recommend contacting our Houston law firm as soon as possible and getting in touch with a Houston sexual assault lawyer. If your case is successful, you may receive compensation for damages like pain and suffering and medical expenses.
Sexual Abuse by Pastors, Youth Ministers, and Other Clergy
Churches should do a background check on anyone they place in a special position of power and trust, particularly when they will work in isolated circumstances with children. When a Pastor or youth minister is not properly vetted or a church ignores reports of sexual misconduct of a church employee, the church may bear responsibility for the harm done. Call us for a free consultation today to understand your legal options.
Sexual Abuse by a Teacher at a Private School, College, or University
Many public schools are shielded from liability for the actions of their employees by the sovereign immunity laws. Similarly, homeowners’ policies will exclude liability for intentional acts by the homeowner.
However, when the school is a private school, private university, or private college, there may be legal recourse if the professor/teacher was not properly screened at the time of hiring. Background checks are critical when placing someone in a position of authority over students. If you have experienced rape or been sexually abused or molested by a school employee at a private school or university, you may have legal recourse. Call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. for a free confidential consultation today.
Sexual Abuse or Molestation by Medical/Dental Professional
We have a right to expect medical professionals and dental professionals to take care of us with respect for our persons and our privacy. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Improper sexual contact may occur when you are under the effects of anesthesia or even when you are wide awake in the exam room. If this happens in Texas, your claim for personal injuries falls under the requirements of the Texas Health Care Liability Act. You must follow the notice and report requirements of the Act to preserve your claim. Contact Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. for a confidential assessment of your case.
Depending on the case, an individual accused of sexual assault who is later convicted may have to serve jail time, attend mental health counseling, and/or register as a sex offender.
Sexual Assault Cases Involving Family Members
When a family member engages in sexual assault, this is a deplorable criminal act that needs to be reported to the police and prosecuted. However, pursuing a civil lawsuit in these matters can present unique obstacles to making a recovery. Typical homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover intentional criminal acts such as sexual assault and sexual molestation. In Texas, like many states, there are homestead laws that prevent the jailing of a debtor to make them pay a debt, thus collecting a judgment against an individual can be very difficult unless the individual just happens to hold substantial assets in his own name that he cannot shield under bankruptcy and homestead laws. Unfortunately, in many of these cases, you can spend a substantial amount of money proving your case as well as have to go through the stressful legal process only to find out that your judgment is uncollectible.
What Type of Family Member Assault Cases Do We Evaluate?
Because of the issues outlined above, in order for our firm to consider a sexual assault perpetrated by a family member, the perpetrator is going to need also be in a position of power by way of their role as a teacher, therapist, counselor, or clergy, or; they will need to be a wealthy individual that has assets we could collect a judgment against. It is not good financially nor emotionally for the survivor of the assault to pursue the case otherwise in our opinion. We may be able to help you find a second opinion from another law firm since other firms may have a different opinion regarding your case.
Extended Statute of Limitations
Children receive extra consideration from the legal system due to their youthfulness. As a result, many personal injury claims based upon sexually-oriented crimes against minors have an extended statute of limitations. In Texas, there is a fifteen-year statute of limitations for sex crimes against minors if it happened before 2019. For acts occurring after 2019, it is now 30 years. This is an exception to the general two-year statute of limitations on personal injuries.
Adults in Texas who have been sexually abused also have a slightly longer statute of limitations than normal. Adults who are victims of sex crimes have a five-year statute of limitations in Texas.
Other states have different periods set by state statute. There is a growing trend right now for states to repeal and or extend the statute of limitations on rape and sexual abuse crimes perpetrated against children. Vermont, Maine, and Maryland have repealed their statute of limitations for institutionalized sexual abuse against children entirely. See the following articles for New York sexual abuse statutes of limitations and the Louisiana Statute of limitations on sexual abuse–both have extended theirs significantly and created “lookback” windows. Three other state legislatures are currently looking at the issue and expected to make changes this year: Massachusetts, Michigan, and Rhode Island. Rhode Island extended the Statute of limitations to 35 years back in 2019. For a state-by-state list of U.S. civil statutes of limitations for sex abuse against minors click here.
Sexual abuse can only be classified as a federal crime if it occurred on government property, or is especially serious. If you think you may have a federal case, speak with a Houston sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible.
Free Confidential Consultation with a Houston Sexual Assault Lawyer
If you or your child has been sexually molested and or sexually abused, one of our Houston personal injury attorneys may be able to help. Simmons and Fletcher, P.C., offers a free, confidential consultation via this online form. If we take on your case, you pay us nothing upfront and no fees or expenses unless we make a recovery for you. Call a personal injury lawyer today: (713) 932-0777.