Why High-Profile Sexual Misconduct Verdicts Are Important for Victims

Sexual harassment document on a table. As multiple juries award victims of sexual abuse compensation for the damages they suffered at the hands of powerful individuals, it is important to note why these types of cases matter. Laws have been written or updated to provide victims of sexual abuse more legal options to confront their abusers in the courtroom.

If you or a loved one were the victim of sexual abuse or assault, our Sacramento personal injury lawyers are prepared to help. We offer a free and confidential consultation to determine what legal options may be available to you.

Below, we discuss noteworthy sexual misconduct cases and what these verdicts could mean for past and future sex abuse victims.

What Are Some Recent Notable Sexual Misconduct Cases?

Sexual harassment, abuse and violence cases are not new. However, these types of cases have been at the center of many national conversations in recent years. The prevalence of these cases is likely due to the high-profile nature of the accused individuals.

Most recent civil cases have been settled out of court. For example, the sexual harassment case against Fox News Founder Roger Ailes or the sex abuse allegations against Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar. There was also the Harvey Weinstein case that began a large-scale social media movement of women coming forward about their own sexual abuse experiences. That civil case was also settled out of court, but Weinstein did get criminally convicted of rape and sexual assault.

There is also the 2023 verdict against former president Donald Trump alleging battery and defamation. The lawsuit was filed in November 2022 by former Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll.

Carroll accused the former president of defamation when he called her sex abuse allegations against him a “hoax” on social media. Carroll was also able to pursue damages for battery due to a recently adopted New York law that allows adult survivors of sex abuse to sue regardless of the statute of limitations. A jury found the former president liable on both counts.

Why Does This Sexual Misconduct Verdict Matter?

The reason this verdict matters is because of the indirect evidence that was used against Trump.

Carroll’s lawyers were able to use contemporaneous reports of wrongdoing by the victim to her friends and family. By Carroll telling her loved ones of her encounter with the former president in that Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s, she was able to have her story corroborated to convince a jury that it happened.

The same thing is happening in the case against former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. There, the Attorney General substantiated harassment after interviewing victims’ friends and family who said they had heard about the harassment just after it occurred.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse Cases?

Victims of sex abuse and other sexual misconduct have the right to pursue compensation for their damages. However, there is a time limit for these victims to take legal action. The statute of limitations for sex abuse cases depends on the victim’s age.

In California, If the victim is under 18 years old, he or she can file a lawsuit on whichever date occurs later:

  • When the victim turns 40 years old
  • Within five years of discovering the “psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority (18)”

For California victims aged 18 years or older, but whose sexual abuse occurred prior to January 1, 2019, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the incident.

Under California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, adults whose sex abuse occurred on or after January 1, 2019, have 10 years after the initial incident, or three years after the victim should have reasonably discovered an injury or illness caused by sexual abuse, to take legal action against their abusers. If the assault happened between January 1, 2009, and January 1, 2019, victims have until December 31, 2026, to file a case.

In 2022, President Biden signed the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, which eliminated the statute of limitations for underage victims of certain federal sexual abuse or trafficking offenses. This means victims of childhood abuse can bring forth a lawsuit against their abusers at any point in their lifetime. However, adult victims of abuse do not have this same right at the federal level.

Need Legal Help? Call Us Today

Victims of sex abuse and other sexual misconduct should be forced to stay silent. These victims have the right to speak out against their abusers and seek justice as well as compensation for their damages.

Our experienced attorneys are prepared to help. We offer a confidential consultation to discuss your case for free. There are no hourly fees while we work on your case, either.

Call 916-777-7777 today to get started.