You probably know that someone who inflicts a sexual assault on another person is criminally liable. But did you know that they may also be civilly liable? The criminal justice system punishes people for crimes by taking away their liberty for a time period. The civil justice system seeks compensation for the person who was harmed. This compensation comes in the form of money damages.
We award money damages when someone has been injured because there is no way to make the harm go away. Instead, we try to compensate them for the harm, or “make up” for the harm. Whether someone is injured in a sexual assault or a car accident, they were still injured because of the actions of someone else. Money damages may be awarded to try to make up for the pain, suffering, or disability that someone has to live with. In addition, money damages may be awarded to cover future medical or therapy costs for the injured person.
There have been a lot of stories about teacher sex crimes, and Mary Kay Letourneau was even involved in a civil lawsuit brought by her “victim’s” family. In fact, the Tacoma News Tribune recently reported that Pierce county prosecutors have charged a 24 year old teacher with sexual crimes against a 17 year old boy.
Sometimes, it’s obvious that a victim has suffered great harm, as in the cases of young boys being molested by trusted Catholic priests. Sometimes it is more difficult to tell if the person was actually harmed, as in the case where the “victim” married his “assailant”, Mary Kay Letourneau.
If you have been injured by someone in this way, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. You may be entitled to money damages to compensate you for the harm that was caused.