North Carolina Child Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Holding Individuals & Institutions Accountable for Stolen Innocence
There is probably no greater taboo in America than the sexual abuse of a child. Yet, we see in the news an apparently endless stream of stories involving adults who betrayed the community’s trust and preyed upon the children in their charge. These stories involve teachers, principals, coaches, pastors, youth ministers, camp counselors, and others who pretended concern but acted for sick gratification. The cost to abused children is dear; studies show that victims of sexual abuse may develop low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness, and a distorted view of sexual relations. Children may become withdrawn, mistrustful of adults, and even suicidal.
At Lanier Law Group, P.A., we fight for justice for injured and abused youth throughout the state of North Carolina. For victims, holding their abuser accountable may be an empowering and liberating experience. Taking action may also deter pedophiles from claiming additional victims and force institutions to reform their hiring and supervision practices.
A History of Success in Child Sexual Abuse Cases
At Lanier Law Group, we are proud to have earned a reputation as aggressive advocates for victims of sexual abuse, including child victims. Our firm has handled more sexual abuse cases in North Carolina than any other injury law firm.
Lanier Law Group represented two of the three child victims in the high-profile case of David Ellis Edwards, a pastor and former middle school principal in Fayetteville who was charged with engaging in sexual activity with young male students on school premises during school hours. During proceedings, it was found that the school had been notified of Edwards suspected behavior on multiple occasions—in 2007, four separate students pressed charges against Edwards for sexual abuse and the school was notified. Around the same time, a school employee met with the school board to discuss his suspicions and concerns regarding Edwards. Yet, the school allowed Edwards to keep his job on all occasions. Over the following four years, Edwards perpetrated more unlawful sex acts against young boys at the school. Lanier Law Group represented two of those brave victims in filing suit against both Edwards himself and the Cumberland County Board of Education for its negligence.
Two Paths to Justice for Sexually Abused Children
The U.S. justice system provides remedies for sexual abuse survivors in both criminal and civil court. The goal of criminal court is to punish a wrongdoer while the goal of civil court is to compensate the victim. If your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, you should demand a criminal investigation. A conviction would be vindication for your child’s suffering and may also help the possible civil case against the abuser or the institution that allowed the abuse to happen.
In a civil action for child sexual abuse, the victim may be able to sue for the physical and emotional harm he or she suffered and continues to suffer. A victim may include as an economic loss the projected costs for psychological therapy over the course of a lifetime. Unlike a criminal prosecution, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil lawsuit only requires proof by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that it was more likely than not that the child was abused. Because of the tender age of the victim and the terrible, haunting consequences of abuse, jury awards tend to be very generous.
However, the unfortunate reality of child sexual abuse cases is that the perpetrators usually don’t have sufficient assets to cover damage awards. Accused child molesters can easily spend every cent they have fighting criminal charges before a civil lawsuit even begins. A perpetrator’s insurance does not cover liability since the abuse of a child is a deliberate act. How, then, can a victim recover?
Holding Institutions Accountable for Hiring & Enabling Sexual Predators
Institutions that offer services to minors are held to a high standard in the hiring and supervision of employees. Schools, churches, daycare facilities, Boys and Girls clubs, camps, sports programs, dance studios, bands, and orchestras that cater to youth must perform background checks, implement protocols to prevent abuse, and investigate actions by adult employees and volunteers that raise the least suspicion. When organizations fail to take reasonable care to protect the children in their care, they may be liable for a dereliction of their duty.
Most youth organizations carry liability insurance that covers their negligence, so they are often able to pay damage awards. However, their insurance companies are highly motivated to defend against negligence claims, and the victim’s attorney must prove that the organization was negligent in addition to proving that the abuse occurred. These complexities are exactly why you should hire a legal heavyweight to manage your case.
Contact Lanier Law Group for Aggressive Representation
At Lanier Law Group, our North Carolina child sexual abuse lawyers fight aggressively on behalf of children abused by sexual predators. To learn how our experienced attorneys may be able to pursue justice for your child, schedule a free consultation at one of our multiple office locations today. When you work with us, there are no upfront costs for you. Instead, our attorneys only recover fees if and when they successfully secure compensation in your case.
Call (855) 757-4204 to request a free, confidential consultation. Se habla español.