When we hear about sexual assaults on the news, we often think of these cases in terms of a criminal prosecution.
However, if you have been sexually assaulted, you may not only have a valid civil case against your assailant, but also his or her employer or other entity/agency which may have negligently allowed the attack to occur.
According to a recent news article from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, a rape victim at the University of Massachusetts was forced to face her alleged assailant during a student disciplinary hearing and testify. The school then allowed him to remain a student and maintain his residence on campus.
Protestors are upset the school did not provide a way for this victim to give her testimony in private, so she did not have face this man at the hearing. Students are demanding the school adopts what they refer to as Survivor’s Bill of Rights. They believe such a policy would provide more protection to sexual assault victims and more consistent punishment to assailants.
The leader of this student-run organization hopes to stop rape culture on campus and is demanding justice for survivors and students.
Sexual assault victims’ attorneys in Boston regularly handle civil matters involving students who were attacked in a school environment.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there are basically three types of torts. A tort is basically the civil equivalent to a crime. However, instead of the prosecutor asking defendant to go to jail, a plaintiff’s attorney will be asking defendant to enter into a financial settlement or asking a jury to return a verdict in favor of his or her client.
The three types of torts are negligent torts, intentional torts and invasion of privacy torts. Negligent torts are typically found in accident cases. In the case of a sexual assault, the act itself is an intentional tort such as assault and/or battery. Your attorney may also file a negligence-based tort against another defendant who owed a duty to prevent this assault from occurring under their general supervision.
For example, if a child is sexually assaulted at a daycare, the daycare worker could be liable for a sexual battery and the daycare center could be liable for negligent supervision, negligent retention and other negligence-based torts.
Many of these assaults will also involve a criminal prosecution. While it is important to cooperate with police and prosecutors, it is best to speak with your civil attorney before making any statements to the government.
While most prosecutors do care about sexual assault victims, they are likely less concerned with victim’s rights in an upcoming civil suit. Some of the things you say in a criminal case may affect your rights in your personal injury lawsuit, so it is best to speak with some who owes you a duty to protect your best interests in connect with your civil case.
While it may be difficult to talk about what happened, it is best to speak with an attorney while the events are still fresh in your mind, and it will be easier to remember all of the important details, which may be forgotten over time.
Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
Demonstrators at UMass call for sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights , March 9, 2015, Daily Hampshire Gazette
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