If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse in California or anywhere else in the United States, arrange at once to speak with a nationwide sexual abuse attorney to discuss your rights and legal options. Even if the abuse happened years ago, you have the right to seek justice.
When sexual abuse is “institutional,” someone has used an authority position in an institution to abuse one or more of the persons in the institution’s care. The leadership at that institution may have partial liability for the harm and damages that the sexual abuse victims have suffered.
Sexual abuse is a heinous crime that happens far too frequently in institutional settings. In 2020, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that 41 children had suffered sexual abuse over a period of 25 years at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health facilities in California and a number of other states.
What is Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health?
Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health operates residential care facilities that specialize in the care of children with mental disorders, intellectual disabilities, and trauma throughout the United States.
Several cases based on claims of institutional sexual abuse against Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health have already gone to court. A jury has awarded one victim $60 million in damages for sexual abuse she suffered at age 15 at a Devereux facility in Cobb County, Georgia.
If you have been sexually abused at a Devereux facility anywhere in the United States, a national sexual abuse lawyer with substantial experience handling institutional sexual abuse cases will provide a free case review, explain your rights and options, and help you win justice.
What Happened at the Devereux Residential Facilities?
The young people abused at Devereux residential facilities were children who were sent there to receive treatment and healing for trauma including trauma related to sexual abuse. But instead of helping, some of the employees at these facilities were the cause of even more suffering.
After the original Philadelphia Inquirer report, more abuse survivors came forward, bringing the number of known abuse victims at Devereux residential facilities to 54. A number of lawsuits are currently pending, and survivors are continuing to come forward with new claims.
The Inquirer report pointed out a number of factors that contributed to the widespread institutional abuse at Devereux residential facilities, including:
- a lack of supervision of employees and patients
- a failure to follow Devereux’s own established policies and regulations
How Can Sexual Abuse Survivors Win Justice?
If you’re a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and if you haven’t already obtained counseling, it is important to do that and to start the healing process. You should also consider these legal options: seeking a criminal prosecution or filing a lawsuit for sexual abuse.
If you go to law enforcement with a sexual abuse claim, it is possible that your abuser could be convicted and sentenced to prison. Police officers will conduct an investigation, and if the evidence supports your claim, that evidence will be sent to the district attorney’s office.
A district attorney will decide whether to file charges and proceed with a prosecution. However, and particularly after years or in some cases decades, it may only be your word against your abuser’s, and it may be impossible for a prosecutor to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
However, winning a sexual abuse lawsuit is not as challenging as obtaining a conviction in criminal court, and if your civil lawsuit is successful, you may recover compensation that reimburses you for the costs of your treatment, counseling, and related losses and damages.
What Steps Should an Abuse Survivor Take?
The first step that an abuse survivor should take is to arrange for a free case evaluation by a nationwide sexual abuse attorney. It does not cost anything to receive the personalized legal advice you need and to have a knowledgeable sexual abuse attorney evaluate your case.
In institutional sexual abuse cases like those emerging from the Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health facilities, your attorney will determine if the institution itself has any responsibility for the abuse. If it does, a sexual abuse survivor may sue the institution as well as the abuser.
Civil sexual abuse attorneys represent clients on a contingent fee basis. You pay no attorney’s fee unless and until your attorney recovers compensation on your behalf. If for any reason you are not compensated at the conclusion of the legal process, you will owe no fees to your attorney.
Isn’t There a Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit?
In the past, many states did not give childhood sexual abuse survivors enough time to seek treatment, process their pain, heal, and then take legal action. Probably thousands of sexual abusers and predators were never prosecuted and went unpunished.
However, especially over the last two decades, many states have expanded their statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims. In California, childhood sexual abuse survivors now may file a childhood sexual abuse lawsuit until they are age forty or within five years of realizing that their psychological injury was caused by childhood sexual abuse.
Throughout the United States, the laws regarding sexual abuse, sexual assault, and statutes of limitations are changing rapidly, and several states have entirely abolished their statutes of limitations for filing a civil childhood sexual abuse claim.
When Should You Contact an Attorney?
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse at a Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health facility, the time to come forward is now. From anywhere in the U.S., a national sexual abuse lawyer can advise you about the deadlines and rules in your state for filing a sexual abuse claim.
Crimes against children, and especially sexual crimes, must never be tolerated, and no one needs justice more than a childhood sexual abuse survivor. However, you must take your case to a sexual abuse attorney as quickly as possible.
It is important to start compiling evidence, identifying witnesses, and determining if other parties have liability before even more time slips by. But no matter how many years may have passed, speak to an attorney now.
The best way to seek justice is to discuss your childhood sexual abuse claim – before taking any other legal steps – with a sexual abuse attorney who can investigate the details of your claim and provide you with personalized legal advice about the best way to proceed and to win justice.