Copyright © 2020 Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduced with Permission.
Ohio child sexual abuse cases are troubling and difficult to try, especially when an institution is involved that tried to cover up the perpetrator’s conduct. However, pursuing the institution is often essential, as most perpetrators are judgment proof and would be unable to pay any verdict. Potentially liable institutions may include schools, daycares, churches, and others trusted with the care of children.
It is every parent’s worst nightmare: discovering that your child was sexually assaulted. Too often, this horrific crime is committed by someone you have trusted to care for your child.
As soon as the crime is discovered, there are extremely important steps that must be taken to preserve the well-being of both the child and the child’s legal rights. We want all parents to know what they should do if they suspect that their children have been harmed in any way. Our hearts go out to the young victim and his or her family.
1. Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Take your child to the nearest emergency room and obtain referrals for doctors who specialize in child sexual abuse.
2. Contact the authorities immediately. Many times the police department will send a professional trained in working with children to open the investigation.
3. Document your conversations. Write down what you can remember about every conversation that you had with your child, spouse, and doctors surrounding the assault, both before and after the crime was discovered.
4. Find a child psychologist. It is a good idea to find an expert in the field of child psychology to treat your child to give him or her the best chance at recovery.
5. Start a file for all paperwork related to the assault. Make sure to keep in one place all police reports, daycare incident reports, medical records and bills, photographs, and witness statements.
6. Do not speak with anyone from the daycare without first speaking with an attorney. This includes teachers, administrators, assistants, and part-time staff. Many parents may feel obligated to address the situation, but it is in your child’s best interest to not engage anyone from the company.
7. Do not sign anything before speaking with an attorney. Paperwork from the daycare’s insurance company or legal team should first be reviewed by your own lawyer before you respond to or sign anything, including medical authorizations or settlement agreements.
One of the keys of successfully pursuing Ohio child sex abuse cases is factual research. This is necessary in order to fully understand the connection between the perpetrator and institution. The most likely causes of action in child sex abuse cases under Ohio law are negligent hiring and negligent supervision. Depending on the situation, these causes of action may apply to paid employees as well as volunteers.
Another one of the keys to pursing the institution is proving the institution’s actual notice of the danger of the individual or that the institution would have been on notice had it exercised due diligence. In discovery, it is essential to find out “who did what?,” “when did they do it?,” “who knew about it?,” “when did they know about it?,” and “what did they do about it?”. The answers to these questions may show institutional awareness and may also show an attempt to cover up the abuse.
For any Ohio child sex abuse cases, depositions should be taken of all potential witnesses with a special emphasis on making sure that all relevant documents have been turned over in written discovery. Video depositions are recommended so that witnesses can be impeached on video, which is more powerful than just having a transcript. Depositions are also a good way to expose lax employee screening or attempts to hide the truth from coming to light.
As for the victim’s own witnesses, forensic psychologists are generally able to provide excellent testimony regarding psychological effects. They are often more adept at handling tough defense questioning as opposed to treating doctors. Trying the case at least one time in front of a focus group can be essential to make sure that all of your bases are covered from both a factual and argument perspective.
Trying an Ohio child sex abuse cases can be a challenge. The goal is to get the jury to conclude on their own that the institution is responsible for the perpetrator’s conduct. Oftentimes, the key is to focus in on all of the choices that were available to the institution to keep the child safe, versus the choice it made which led to the child being abused.
The over-arching message should be that the defendant institution broke safety rules that are intended to protect everyone. When a genuine case of abuse combined with institutional awareness has been proven, there is a strong chance that a jury will speak loud and clear in holding the institution accountable with its verdict.
If you know or suspect that your child has been the victim of sexual abuse, or even if you yourself were abused as a child and are experiencing lingering effects, call the lawyers at the Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC today at 419-241-1395 or 1-800-637-8170. We offer free consultations and are here to answer your questions.
Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC