Child molestation is one of the most horrific forms of abuse. Victims frequently report lifelong damage from the molestation — especially if the abuser was an authority figure like a teacher, daycare worker, doctor, or clergy member. If you or a loved one were traumatized by child sexual abuse or molestation, the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara can help.
Louisiana’s Child Molestation Laws
Louisiana defines sexual molestation as:
- a “lewd or lascivious act upon the person or in the presence of any child under the age of seventeen”
- Committed by an adult (someone over the age of 17)
- If there is more than a two-year age difference between the two parties.
It is also a crime to aid or tolerate the sexual abuse of a minor child. Under Louisiana laws, certain professionals must report their concerns of child molestation or sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities.
Molestation Victims Might Also Have Personal Injury Claims
In addition to criminal charges, victims can also file a civil personal injury claim against their abusers and organizations that failed to protect them from abuse. Civil claims are separate from criminal ones. While a criminal case seeks a conviction and incarceration, a civil personal injury claim demands compensation for your injuries. The prosecutor will not file a civil case for you — you must do it yourself or hire an experienced child molestation lawyer.
Civil Claims Have a Lower Burden of Proof
It’s also important to understand that civil claims have a lower burden of proof. In a criminal child molestation case, the prosecutor must prove the charges “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a difficult standard to prove. However, you only have to prove a civil personal injury claim by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that you must have significant evidence proving your claims of child molestation or negligence, but a jury might award damages even if there is some contradictory evidence in the record.
Demanding Compensation for Damages
In a civil child molestation claim, you can demand compensation for your damages, including the cost of your medical and mental health treatment, pain and suffering damages, and punitive damages. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your claim, you might have personal injury claims against the abuser, his or her employer, and other parties that failed to protect you from abuse.
To learn more about your potential claims and their value, schedule an appointment with an experienced child molestation lawyer at the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara. We’ll listen to your story and help you understand your legal rights.
Are There Filing Deadlines on Child Molestation Claims?
Most states impose “statutes of limitation” on personal injury claims. If you do not file your child molestation case within a certain period of time, you will lose their right to file a claim. In Louisiana, we call these deadlines “prescription.”
The child molestation prescription deadline does not begin to run until the alleged victim turns 18 years old. Once the claimant reaches this age of majority, he or she has ten years to file a child molestation claim. For example, suppose a 10-year old child is sexually molested. The will actually have 18 years to file a complaint against the alleged abuser (8 years until he or she reaches the age of 18 + the 10-year prescription deadline).
However, you should never wait until the last minute to file your child molestation-related personal injury claim. Louisiana law imposes additional requirements on civil child molestation claims. As part of your lawsuit, you must file a Certificate of Merit signed by a mental health professional and your lawyer. You’ll need to give your lawyer enough time to investigate your claim and complete this document.
Schedule a Meeting With a Baton Rouge Child Molestation Lawyer
The Law Offices of J. Price McNamara represents sexual abuse and child molestation victims. We are aggressive, experienced, and knowledgeable. We also treat all of our clients with the respect they deserve. And we will guide you through the difficult process of a civil lawsuit. To learn more about your legal rights and our services, request a free, no-risk consultation. All initial consultations are completely confidential.