Victims of sexual assault or abuse can suffer a lifetime of emotional and physical damages. Oftentimes, the criminal justice system lets these victims down by failing to prosecute the sex offenders or failing to obtain a conviction against these offenders. Many sexual assault incidents are not prosecuted because of the difficulty of overcoming the burden of proof required by the criminal justice system. Civil sexual assault cases have a lower burden of proof, which may allow victims to recover damages and to hold the defendants liable for their wrongful acts even if the defendants are never criminally prosecuted. This is where an experienced civil attorney can step in to achieve justice for the victims by prosecuting a civil claim against the perpetrator(s) which may be found liable for money damages. The legal issues in a civil trial for sexual assault and battery are, whether the assault occurred, whether there was consent and the damages.
California evidence limitations in sexual assault claims in civil actions for money damages are set up to protect the victim from having their entire sexual history made “fair game.” California statutes and case law have set up special rules on the admissibility of so-called “character evidence” to prove any allegation of plaintiff’s consent or the absence of physical injury related to the assault. In general, California law protects the victims of sexual assault and battery from being the subject of “character assassination”. It places very strong requirements on attempting to introduce any evidence of prior sexual history.
Given the complexity of these evidence code provisions and other laws related to civil claims for sex abuse or assault, it is imperative that the victim consult and retain the services of an experienced California sex assault lawyer promptly following any incident of sexual battery, harassment or abuse. The victim can say and do things that may be “used against them” in a deposition or trial not knowing the scope of their legal rights and how to protect their privacy and limit such attacks.
Maho and Prentice has many years of experience representing the victims of sexual assault and abuse in Santa Barbara. Sexual assault cases are emotionally charged for the victim, and both Tyrone Maho and Chad Prentice have experience effectively supporting our clients emotionally and legally throughout their entire case while successfully obtaining the maximum monetary compensation. For a free consultation on any personal injury claim related to sexual misconduct, please call our offices at 805-964-1904 or visit our Maho Prentice, LLP website.
Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center –sbstesa.org – or call their 24-hour hotline: 805-564-3696