Sexual abuse begins with a breach of trust: 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.(1) After an assault, rebuilding trust is one of the toughest but most important priorities.(2)
If you’re reading this page, you’re looking for a lawyer or helping a loved one look for a lawyer. Trust is one of the most important parts of a client-lawyer relationship, particularly in cases this sensitive and important. My website isn’t as flashy as most lawyers’ websites; I’ve had the same simple design for ten years. I believe it’s insulting to think clients coming forward for the first time will be impressed by pop-up windows or colorful photos. I’d rather tell you a little bit about myself and my work so you can decide for yourself if you want to call or email.
Sexual assault and rape advocacy and counseling has been a part of my life since before I was even a lawyer, back to when I spoke to my high school’s board of supervisors about their poor handling of complaints, and back to when I was a student Peer Health Educator at Yale University. Since the first day I was a lawyer I’ve worked for injured people, including survivors of sexual abuse.
Our sexual assault legal team is made up of seven lawyers, including a former prosecutor. We handled over one-third of the 33 molestation claims brought against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the primary clergy abuse claims that resulted in prosecution of priests in the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. In our work for survivors of sexual abuse, we have obtained multi-million dollar settlements for our clients, bringing closure without the need for a public trial. But, if we have to go to trial, we will: our lawyers have decades of experience helping seriously injured clients obtain fair compensation, and we have obtained multiple verdicts in excess of $20 million.
One of my proudest moments as a lawyer was representing a sexual assault victim pro bono, when her attacker sued her for “defamation” after she reported the rape. The court refused to dismiss the case, and so I compiled a record so damning of the attacker that his own lawyer abandoned the case before my client had to testify at a deposition, ending the case.
My writings on the law of sexual assault and child molestation have been widely cited by law reviews, including in:
- “Reevaluating Gag Orders and Rape Shield Laws in the Internet Age: How Can We Better Protect Victims?,” Seton Hall Legislative Journal: Vol. 38: Iss. 1, Article 4 (2014). Citation (3).
- “Women Made Whole: How Tort Law Can Change The Lives Of Domestic Violence And Sexual Assault Victims,” Journal of Technology, Law & Policy (2015). Citation (4).
- “The Rape Prone Culture of Academic Contexts,” Gender & Society, February 2016, vol. 30, no. 1. Citation (5).
I’ve compiled some of my articles at the end of this page, so you can read more about how I think about and approach these cases.
Our consultations with potential clients are always held in strict confidence protected by attorney-client privilege. We do not charge any fee for talking with us, and talking with us does not in any way obligate you to hire us.
We handle a wide variety of sexual abuse claims, including:
- Abuse by clergy at religious institutions. In one study, an estimated that 8.4% of Catholic priests and brothers reported sexual misconduct with a minor.(6) There are literally tens of thousands of survivors, many of whom are still coming forward with their stories.
- Molestation at public and private elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. There are no clear studies on the frequency on educator sexual abuse, but many researchers have estimated that it may be the most common type of molestation outside of the home.(7) Many of these attacks occur in after-school programs, or in conjunction with youth sports teams, particularly physical-contact sports, like football, hockey, and wrestling.(8)
- Daycare center abuse. Due to licensing requirements for daycares and nurseries, which set “ratios” that typically require several people be involved in a child’s care, abuse at properly-operated daycare centers is infrequent.(9) Unfortunately, many daycares do not follow these requirements strictly, creating opportunities for abuse.
- Foster care abuse. There are many wonderful foster families out there who not only provide a loving home for children, but who follow guidelines for parenting children who were abused.(10) Unfortunately, there are also circumstances in which predatory individuals take advantage of the foster care system, and there are too many gaps in the foster care system that allow this abuse to occur.
- Boy Scouts abuse. Like the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of America has an extensive history of sexual abuse by counselors and scout-leaders, and has taken extraordinary steps to keep it secret and to to keep the abusers from being brought to justice.(11)
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, use the contact form or the right, email me at email@example.com or call my office at (215) 948-2718 / toll-free (844) 459-8719. We handle sexual abuse cases throughout Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Upper Darby, Scranton, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Bensalem, Harrisburg, York, State College, and Wilkes-Barre. As mentioned above, all consultations are free of any obligation and are strictly confidential. We review Pennsylvania lawsuits from any time: the statute of limitations for child molestation claims has numerous exceptions, and the Pennsylvania legislature is currently considering legislation that would further open up avenues of justice for survivors.
Below are some of my own articles on these types of cases:
- Can Sandusky’s Sexual Abuse Victims Sue Penn State?
- The Legal Effect of Paterno’s Death
- Sandusky Civil Law Update: Insurance, New Lawsuit, and the Preliminary Hearing
- Colleges and Universities Start To Take Campus Rape Seriously (We Hope)
- Hotel Rape Epidemic Back In The Spotlight Again
- The Unique Federal Sexual Abuse Claim In The Kevin Clash (Elmo’s Voice) Lawsuit
- Monsignor Lynn And The Duty To Prevent Child Abuse
- What Did The Prosecution Prove About Monsignor Lynn?
- There’s No “Normal” Way For A Clergy Abuse Or Sexual Assault Victim To Act
- The Ethics Of Fighting An Expired Case In The Press
- The Ethics Of Using Money To Link Criminal And Civil Sexual Abuse Cases
- Do Lawyers Defending The Catholic Church Live On Another Planet?
- Can Match.com Be Sued For Setting A Woman Up With A Murderer?
- Corporations: It’s Our Fault, But You’ll Have To Pay
- Law Professors: Check Legal Blogs Before Adding Your Two Cents
- Can Jaycee Dugard Sue The Government For Negligent Parole Supervision?
- Third Circuit Reinstates Civil Rights Suit Of Rape Victim Arrested For Telling The Truth
- Parx Casino’s Potential Liability For Children Left Unattended In Cars
- How Does An Appellate Court Find A Conviction Contrary To The Weight Of The Evidence?
- Supreme Court Says Extraordinary Children’s Rights Lawyers Are Merely Ordinary
- http://www.hofstra.edu/pdf/orsp_shakeshaft_spring03.pdf and https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/misconductreview/report.pdf