Sexual Abuse Lawyer in Utah
In recent years, sexual assault and abuse cases have been increasingly taken more seriously. Despite this, many people never report sexual abuse. This is because many survivors are too afraid, embarrassed, or ashamed to come forward. The other issue that keeps survivors from getting the legal justice they deserve is that they have difficulties finding a sexual abuse lawyer who will represent them in a civil action with the compassion and the skill and experience needed to hold abusers accountable for their crimes and wrongdoings. If you or a loved one have been searching for that attorney, call Andrus Law Firm today at 801-535-4645, or fill out our confidential online form on this page, and we'll reach out to you. Randy Andrus and his team are more than another sexual assault law firm – they truly care about the clients they represent and will work tirelessly to get you the legal justice you deserve.
What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault and sexual abuse are very serious crimes and civil wrongdoings. Sexual assault happens when a person initiates sexual contact with a minor or non-consenting adult or forces a minor or non-consenting adult into sexual acts. Utah recognizes multiple degrees of sexual assault and sexual battery, including:
- Unpermitted sexual intimidation or physical touching
- Non-consensual sexual activity
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Unlawful Sexual Activity with a Minor
- Forcible Sexual Abuse
- Forcible Sodomy
The punishment of sexual misconduct ranges in severity, depending on different facts of the case, such as the emotional or physical harm inflicted, the level of violence used, the age gap between the plaintiff and defendant, and whether the victim was underage.
Every case is different and has its own set of facts. Your civil sexual abuse lawyer in Utah will sit down with you to help you understand your specific legal options.
Anyone Can Be a Victim of Sexual Assault
Sexual assault and abuse don't discriminate. Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault, and it's never the victim's fault. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that nearly 1 in 5 women were raped or were attempted to be raped in their lifetimes. While a large majority of sexual assault victims are women, men can also be abused. The CDC reports that nearly 1 in 38 men were raped or were attempted to be raped in their lifetimes. For men, sexual assault crimes frequently go unreported because of the stigma connected to male rape victims and the misconception that men cannot be raped. Women often fear that if they report sexual assault they won't be believed, they will be blamed, or the assailant will retaliate against them if they go to the authorities. No matter your gender or specific situation, know that Andrus Law Firm will be on your side and stand up for you to ensure the attacker is held accountable.
What Is Child Sex Abuse?
Unfortunately, many sexual abusers attack our most vulnerable. Child sex abuse is all too common and the abuser should never go unpunished. Child sexual abuse involves any inappropriate physical or sexual contact between an adult/older adolescent and a child. Some examples of abuse are direct sexual contact, the showing of private body parts, child grooming, and the production of pornographic media involving children. A childhood victim of sexual abuse often experiences deep trauma into adulthood, developing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Victims of child sex abuse might exhibit the following signs:
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Signs of injury in private areas, including unexplained bruising, bleeding, or blood found on sheets and clothing
- Excessive conversation or knowledge related to sexual topics
- A noticeable decrease in talking or increase in the child keeping secrets
- A new hesitation in the child to be left alone with certain people or be away from primary caregivers
- Regressive behavior, like thumb-sucking and bed-wetting
- Increase in the desire to be alone
- Avoidance in the removal of clothing or taking baths
- Excessive compliance
- Altered eating patterns
- Increased aggression and anger
- Sudden change in mood or personality
- Depleted confidence; having a negative self-image
- Loss of interest in school, activities, or friends
- Increase in inexplicable health issues, such as stomach aches and headaches
- Increased worrying and fear
- Self-harming behavior
- Onset of recurring nightmares or fear of being left alone at night
If you fear that your child may be being abused, there are resources you can use, like the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE(4673).
In Utah, the statute of limitations or deadlines for bringing civil claims for sexual abuse, sexual assault, or molestation of a minor can be complex. Your attorney will walk you through associated deadlines and ensure that you meet them in your civil sexual assault or abuse case.
Remember that you are not alone, and there are legal actions you can take when your quality of life and happiness are threatened and harmed by the perverted and unjust abuse of power of others. Andrus Law Firm is here to ensure your family's rights are protected and that sexual abusers are held accountable.
Who's Liable in Sex Abuse Cases?
Not only is the abuser liable in sex abuse cases, but associated organizations can also be held liable.
Many perpetrators set out to groom, manipulate, or win the trust of victims by taking positions of authority in organizations that provide them access to vulnerable people. Most all situations involve a differential in power and control. We've, tragically, seen sexual assault, sexual abuse, and child molestation happen in many settings including:
- Massage therapists
- Doctors or medical professionals
- Coaches and athletic trainers
- Clergy and religious organizations
- Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts leaders
- Schools, colleges, universities
- Dating and other relationships
- Uber/Lyft drivers
- Daycare, child care
- Nursing homes
- Restaurants, bars, nightclubs
- Shopping malls and stores
- And more
Organizations have a legal duty to protect people from abuse. When they don't do so, they can be deemed negligent, thus held liable in a court of law. Some examples of how organizations can become liable in a sex abuse or sexual assault case include:
- Intentional acts and behaviors - Those who commit crimes of sexual abuse and sexual assault can also be held accountable in civil actions.
- Negligent acts and omissions - Negligent hiring, negligent retention, negligent training, negligent supervision, negligent security, negligent safety.
- Attempted cover-up - Legal claims have included numerous cover-up allegations, making organizations and perpetrators legally liable.
- Failure to report - In certain settings in Utah, when someone has reason to believe that a child is being abused, they have an obligation to report it to authorities.
- Permitting abusers to work with children - If an organization allows a known abuser to continue working with children, it can be found negligent.
- An employee commits a sex crime - If an employee commits sexual abuse, sexual assault, or battery within the scope of his or her work, the employer may be held liable. This can be the case in nursing home abuse, daycare, or many other abuse incidents.
Property owners can be proven liable - In the case that a property owner has failed to maintain his or her property and as a result has made the property more susceptible to crime, the owner can be held liable. This can happen in the cases such as negligent security, poorly-lit parking lots, or having inoperable security cameras in a gym.
What to Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted
There are steps you can take if you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted or sexually abused. Though it may be overwhelming and scary, taking certain steps can help ensure attackers are held liable and accountable for their crimes and conduct. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. After you have ensured you are safe, you may consider further measures:
- Preserve physical evidence - Understandably, after an assault, many people want to take a shower. Though it may be difficult, avoid washing, brushing, or combing your body. Don't change clothes. Additionally, try not to touch anything at the scene. This helps police obtain any possible evidence left behind by the attacker.
- Get Medical Attention - Going to the emergency room right after the incident enables you to get the treatment you need, as sexual assault can result in serious injuries. The medical staff will administer any needed emergency contraception and medications to prevent STIs. If you believe you were drugged, make sure to tell your attending doctor or nurse. At the emergency room, they will also use a rape kit, which will collect any forensic evidence of the crime, like the attacker's DNA and signs of physical trauma.
- File a police report - Many assault survivors do not press charges, but this allows criminals to remain unpunished, which could result in them assaulting another person. Additionally, seeking justice can be empowering for survivors. Filing a report may help you get justice sooner.
- Obtain emotional support - Remember that sexual assault wasn't your fault, and you don't have to go through this alone. There are multiple support groups and therapists available who can help you get through emotional trauma. Additionally, The National Sexual Assault Hotline can be reached at 800-656-HOPE(4673).
Hire a trusted and experienced sexual assault lawyer - A supportive, experienced lawyer is waiting to help you get justice at Andrus Law Firm.
Hire a Trusted, Compassionate, and Experienced Sexual Assault Attorney
Don't stay silent and forego the legal justice you deserve. Call Andrus Law Firm today as a first confidential step to holding the abuser accountable for their crimes. For 37 years, we've protected our clients and held perpetrators accountable for their actions, and we are ready to do the same for you. Randy and his team will sit down and listen to your story with compassion and legal skill. Andrus Law Firm is a safe place for you to get justice. Our trusted sexual abuse lawyer in Utah is ready to stand beside you and fight to protect your rights.