Representing Victims of Sex Assault & Abuse
Our sex assault and abuse lawyers focus on representing victims who were abused by:
Representation by a Team of Former Prosecutors
Three of our firm’s lawyers are former prosecutors who’ve guided victims of crime, including victims of sex assault and abuse, rape and child molestation, through the criminal justice system. Firm founder Brian Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who now leads the firm’s Sex Abuse Victims’ Law Practice. Mr. Kent has handled dozens of sexual assault and abuse cases across the country including the widely covered massage assault cases against Massage Envy.
The group includes attorneys Guy D’Andrea and Stewart Ryan. Mr. D’Andrea served as an Assistant District Attorney at the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office where he tried hundreds of cases. Stewart Ryan who recently joined the firm was one of the lead attorneys in the sex assault case against Bill Cosby, Commonwealth v. William H. Cosby Jr.
About Our Victims Sex Abuse Law Practice
Our firm proudly represents victims of sex abuse in civil lawsuits which are often filed against direct perpetrators (criminal perpetrators of sex abuse).
In one case, Kelly v. Bradley (Delaware District Court), our firm represented a man who filed a civil child molestation lawsuit against a state court judge. The civil lawsuit was the only remedy since the criminal statute of limitations had expired.
Despite receiving backlash from the legal community, the sex abuse victims rights lawyers at Laffey, Bucci & Kent accepted the case and succeeded. The judge admitted to the abuse and was later disbarred. Read the Delaware Office of Disciplinary Counsel digest regarding Judge William Bradley.
In addition to filing civil lawsuits against criminal perpetrators, civil lawsuits may be filed against indirect perpetrators. In many sex abuse and assault cases, especially those involving children, other individuals hide the abuse or worse, protect the abuser. These individuals and the entities that employ them are often guilty of allowing the abuse to occur. Consequently, they can be held liable.
This type of behavior occurs in institutional settings, such as schools, churches, medical treatment facilities, etc. For example, a school or church official or employee receives reports that a priest or teacher is sexually abusing a child. However, that employee does nothing and instead, buries the report, essentially sweeping the report under the rug. The perpetrator is then moved to another parish or school to start over. This is the type of conduct which was the focus of the Oscar-winning movie, Spotlight, which focused on one of the first reports of widespread abuse in the Catholic Church in Boston.
Related: Top Rated PA Child Sex Abuse Lawyer Discusses Why Victims Do Not Report Abuse (February 23, 2016)
Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania Churches and Schools
Pennsylvania is no exception. There have been a slew of child molestation scandals throughout the Commonwealth, such as the Philadelphia Archdiocese priest sex abuse scandal which was the subject of two large-scale grand juries, both of which investigated reports of systemic, pervasive molestation by dozens of priests. Over a decade ago, the first grand jury concluded that priests within the Philadelphia Archdiocese were responsible for decades-long acts of abuse against innocent children and that time and time again, priests were moved from parish to parish where they claimed additional victims.
Fast forward to 2011, when the Penn State Jerry Sandusky scandal broke. Penn State has since paid out millions to the many victims of Jerry Sandusky, men who, as young boys, were subjected to heinous acts of molestation. Our firm is currently representing one of those victims in a recently filed lawsuit (2016) against Sandusky and his now defunct youth organization, The Second Mile.
In March 2016, a grand jury convened by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office revealed that hundreds of children were abused over the course of decades in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, located in central Pennsylvania.
In addition to these scandals, there have also been dozens of sex abuse reports involving teachers and other employees of elementary, middle and high schools throughout Pennsylvania.
Sex Abuse & Assault by Professionals
Sex abuse and assault isn’t limited to children. Oftentimes, businesses attempt to avoid investigations and media attention, thereby protecting sexual predators or sweeping reports of rape or assault under the rug. Sex assault occurs in many settings, including:
- mental health treatment facilities,
- physical therapy facilities, and
- massage therapy businesses.
No business and no profession are immune.
The reality is that sexual predators often hide behind the walls of an institution, whether it is a school, a church or other business, such as a massage therapy spa.
Legal Rights: Criminal Rights & Civil Rights
Victims of sex assault may have legal rights to pursue justice in both the criminal justice system and the civil justice system. Victims of sex assault and abuse are often unaware that they have the legal right to file both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. These two legal rights are separate and do not depend on each other. The key difference between these two types of cases is the outcome. In a criminal case, the outcome is punishment of the perpetrator. In a civil case, the outcome is restitution to the victim, usually in the form of financial compensation.
However, state laws often put a time limit on when cases must be filed. Each state has a different set of statute of limitations laws. Many states have restrictive laws which limit a victim’s ability to file criminal charges and/or a civil lawsuit. However, many states have begun to amend these laws, and some have passed special laws that revive previously time-barred cases. If you would like to discuss the statute of limitations laws in your sex abuse case, please contact our office immediately.
Filing a Lawsuit for Child Sex Abuse Years or Decades Later
One of the most difficult things for people to understand is why children remain silent about sex abuse. The answer has to do with the dynamics of the twisted relationship between the abuser and the child. Even as adults, individuals who were sexually abused have immense difficulty coming to terms with the abuse. It often takes decades before a victim of abuse can come to grips with the abuse.
Sex Assault & Abuse Lawyers
Our attorneys are licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and other states. The firm also has the resources to handle matters across the country and accepts referrals from local attorneys.
PA 215.399.9255 | NJ 609.223.8900 | Toll-Free 800.220.7600
DISCLAIMER: This website does not create any attorney-client relationship or provide legal advice. It is crucial to speak to a qualified lawyer prior to making any decision about your case. Read full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Last reviewed and updated: December 11, 2017