Houston Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer

 

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Sexual abuse of a minor is a serious legal accusation that can lead to heavy punishment in federal and state courts. Sexual assault is damaging to the physical and mental welfare of the victim.  If your loved one has experienced sexual abuse, you may want to hire a Houston child sexual abuse lawyer to pursue justice. Your lawyer will help you file a compensation claim for emotional scars, counseling, and medical expenses against the perpetrator.

Understanding Child Sex Offenses

A minor cannot consent or agree to sexual activity. Any individual who sexually abuses children is a criminal. Acts of sexual abuse against a minor can include indecent exposure, intercourse without consent, child pornography, touching, or lascivious behavior.  Typical child sexual offenses in Houston include:
  • Sexual Assault: This is when an individual has performed a sexual act that involved penetration with a child. Sexual assault of a minor is considered a second-degree felony, and the perpetrator can be sentenced to several years in prison and must be registered as a sex offender after release.  
  • Child Pornography: It is illegal in the U.S. to distribute, purchase, possess, or create pornography that shows minors under 18 years performing sexual acts. The first-time crime of child pornography is considered a third-degree felony. If the perpetrator is found guilty, they can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and registered as a sex offender.
  • Indecency With a Child: This includes any form of sexual contact without penetration and the minor's sex organs were exposed with the intention of gratification or arousal. Indecency with a minor can be termed a second or third-degree felony.
  • Sex With a Minor: If evidence indicates the accused person engaged in sex with a minor, they can be charged with a felony. The defendant is still liable to be convicted even if the minor consented to the sexual activity.
  • Online Solicitation of a Minor: If an individual knowingly sent an electronic message to a minor to solicit in any way, they can be charged with the offense of soliciting a minor online. Also, it is a crime if your intention to communicate with a minor online is to engage in a sexually explicit manner.
  • Ongoing Sexual Abuse of a Child: An individual can be charged with continuous sexual assault if they have committed two or more sex crimes involving a minor within less than 30 days. If convicted, the verdict can range from 25 years to life imprisonment without any possibility of parole.
  • Failure to Report a Child Sex Abuse: Failure to report a sexual crime involving a child is considered a misdemeanor offense unless aggravating situations make it a felony. This accusation is centered on the absence of action instead of affirmative wrongful acts.
You can hire a Houston child sexual abuse lawyer to help you understand the specifics of your case. Your lawyer will protect your rights and assist you in preparing for the legal process.  In addition, the lawyer will conduct investigations and collect evidence like police and medical reports to build your case. Your lawyer can call experts like doctors or psychiatrists to testify and make your claim more credible during the trial.

Sex Offender Registration

After a person is convicted of a sex crime charge, they must register as a sex offender. This is intended to protect other potential victims from future abuse. For most of the child sex offenses discussed above, the abuser must register as a sex offender for life or a period. When registering as a sex offender, the abuser must go to a local law enforcement agency to have their photo taken, provide fingerprints, and fill out paperwork. They are required to register in every place they intend to stay for more than one week. In addition, if they want to relocate, they must notify the police within seven days. Registered sex offenders may also be required to re-register annually with the police in certain circumstances.

Effects of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse survivors usually experience long-term psychological and physical effects due to the abuse. Victims of child sexual abuse crimes are more likely to go through revictimization.  Common physical or psychological effects that sexual abuse survivors experience include:
  • Physical injuries
  • Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Reproductive or gynecologic health issues
  • Chronic health conditions 
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression 
  • Suicide
  • Substance abuse
  • Relationship problems, including intimacy issues in future relationships

Seeking Compensation for Sexual Abuse

Monetary compensation is a remedy in any civil action when seeking justice for sexual abuse. Even though money cannot heal the physical and psychological trauma that sexual abuse has caused, it can help compensate for the cost of treatment during recovery.  Damages in a sexual abuse case might include:
  • Medical expenses incurred  to treat injuries caused during the abuse
  • Payments for mental health or therapy (past and future)
  • Impaired personal relationships
  • Pain and suffering caused by the traumatic experience, both physical and emotional
The recoverable damages may differ as they are awarded based on the circumstances surrounding the specific sexual abuse case. 

Extended Statute of Limitations

The legal system gives children extra consideration because of their age. For that reason, sexual abuse cases against children have extended statutes of limitation. Texas has a statute of limitation of 15 years for sex crimes against children.  Adults who have been sexually abused have a statute of limitation of five years in Texas. If you were sexually abused in another state but are currently residing in Houston, you should confirm the statute of limitations of that state since local governments establish different periods.

Contact Us for Responsive and Confidential Legal Help

Speak with a Houston child sex abuse lawyer at Dolman Law Group if you or your child experienced sexually abused. We will help you hold the perpetrator accountable, whether you want to claim damages or file litigation against the abuser. Our team is ready to guide you through the process. Call us to schedule a free and confidential consultation. Houston Office  6330 Gulf Fwy Suite 110 Houston, TX 77023 Phone: (281) 524-4370

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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