Sexual assault of adults occurs in an array of situations, including residential care facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, college campuses, and in the workplace. In many cases a lawsuit against the actual perpetrator of the assault would be a fruitless endeavor because the perpetrator has insufficient assets (money) to compensate the victim for the harm done. Often there are entities whose negligent conduct contributed to allowing the assault to occur, or which have a legal responsibility to have protected the victim. In those circumstances, the entity could be held accountable and required to compensate the victim for their injuries.
Sexual assault in residential care facilities and nursing homes
The experience of a family member being sexually assaulted in a nursing facility is horrific. Holding the facility accountable for its negligence in allowing such an act to occur is important not just to compensate the victim, but also to imprint on the facility that no one ever again be subjected to such an experience. When sexual abuse happens in these facilities, it is often because the home has failed to do a background check on the staff member who commits the act, or the patient has been left unmonitored in contravention of the entity’s policies. Reports by patients get ignored. In those situations, the facility may be held responsible in a civil lawsuit.
Sexual assault on college and school campuses
Sexual assault is a foreseeable danger on college campuses. Students are assaulted on campus, in dorms, at fraternity parties, and at events sponsored by the school. The liability of the school for the harm caused to the victim of a sexual assault depends on various factors such as where the assault occurs, on campus vs. off campus, what information the school had before the assault occurred, what control the school had over the conduct of the perpetrator (such as recruiting a known sex offender to one of its sports teams), and how the school responds to the assault.
Many sexual assaults actually become lawsuits because of the deficient response by the university to the report of the assault. When a student is sexually assaulted and the university ignores the student’s complaint, or fails to take action against the perpetrator, the school can be liable to the victim under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any educational program receiving federal funding. Basically, when schools act with deliberate indifference to known acts of harassment in its programs or activities, and victims thereby miss out on parts of their educational experience, the victims are being subjected to discrimination and the school can be held accountable.
Our attorneys are experienced in representing students who have been sexually assaulted at fraternity parties, on campus, by student athletes, and involving Title IX violations.