Tampa Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer

February 13, 2020 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Child sexual abuse is one of the most abhorrent types of cases seen in the Tampa civil court system. When a compassionate Tampa child sexual abuse lawyer at Dolman Law Group takes on your child's case, you can seek justice while also focusing on their well-being. 

Your family can seek compensation for your child's suffering. Our Tampa child sexual abuse lawyers can handle your case with the care and compassion it deserves. 

Helping Victims Pursue Civil Action

Child sexual abuse is a tragic crime on many levels. Such crimes often leave children with scars that follow them throughout their life. From organizations to individuals, those entrusted with our nation's youth have a responsibility to keep them free from harm. 

When that trust becomes broken due to the criminal actions of a dangerous person, pursuing civil action is an option. If you were a victim of childhood sexual abuse or your child experienced such a horrific event, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. Contact our Tampa sexual abuse lawyers today. We want to help you.

What Defines Child Sexual Abuse?

A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity. Those who sexually violate children are criminals, and if convicted they face lengthy prison sentences, large fines, and may have to register as sex offenders.

Child sexual abuse does not have to involve physical activity. It can include one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Fondling
  • Digital interaction such as sending lewd photos via text
  • Exposing oneself to a minor
  • Any activity involving pornographic images or videos of children
  • Sex trafficking
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Actions involving masturbation

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), child sexual abuse most commonly occurs by someone the child knows. In fact, RAINN reports that as many as 93 percent of victims under the age of 16 know their abuser.

Predators prey upon the vulnerability of their victims. They often manipulate them into not reporting the abuse. If you suspect your child is acting differently due to possible sexual abuse, watch for these important signs:

  • Changes in the genital area – Symptoms include difficulty walking, painful urination, and yeast infectionsFear of physical contact—Your once loving child is now afraid to give and receive hugs
  • Acting out – A child tries to run away or attempts self-harm
  • Declining hygiene – The child refuses to bathe or wear clean clothes

Any changes in your child's physical or behavioral activity can signal possible sexual abuse. Spending quality time with your child can help you determine why your child is developing new habits and what is driving the changes.

Why Organizations Deny or Ignore Allegations of Sexual Abuse

News reports tell the stories of countless missed opportunities for reporting allegations of child sexual abuse. One example of persons in a position of power failing to report allegations is the Penn State sex abuse scandal. The allegations were tied to the university's popular—and lucrative—football program.

Several factors drive an organization or business's desire to remain quiet instead of reporting sexual abuse. These factors include:

  • Brand reputation
  • Donor reaction
  • Preservation of the organization's community
  • To maintain power

This list contains just a few examples of why so many people who should report abuse fail to take action. The risk to the overall company, club, organization, church, or business often takes priority over protecting victims.

There is no excuse for knowing of the abuse and internally taking steps to avoid a scandal. If you were the victim of sexual abuse as a child and you want to learn your options for a civil action, contact the Dolman Law Group as soon as possible.

Determining Liability for Sexual Abuse Crimes

Major organizations have recently come under fire for ignoring possible signs of sexual abuse. These organizations serve children in a variety of activities or events. The following are examples of recent cases that have drawn national attention:

Boy Scouts of America

Hundreds of men have come forward in recent years to report their experiences of sexual abuse as Boy Scouts. Just how deep and widespread the abuse occurred isn't known. As many as 800 former scouts pursued legal compensation for their alleged abuse, years after the crimes occurred.

While the scouts have issued an apology, that isn't enough. Facing potential bankruptcy, the organization claims it wants to fairly compensate victims. If you were sexually assaulted as a Boy Scout, the time to pursue legal action is now.

Whether the abuse occurred when you were seven years old or 15 years old, contact the Dolman Law Group without delay for a free case evaluation. Upon review of your case, our legal team will determine the best course of action for pursuing the compensation you deserve.

Girl Scouts of the USA

A New York man who served as a Girl Scout Leader was recently sentenced to probation for sexually abusing two teen girls. Weekend camping trips and other overnight activities can expose children to inappropriate touching while they sleep. The need for volunteers in any organization can lead to dangerous situations and outcomes for our nation's youth. The Girl Scouts of the USA now face competition from the Boy Scouts for members, as the Boy Scouts now allow girls to join their organization.

The Catholic Church and Pontifical Secrecy

Perhaps no organization contained such a level of secrecy as the Catholic Church. Pontificial secrecy protected child sex abuse predators and kept secret allegations of abuse. The pontifical secret was a rule of confidentiality protecting sensitive information regarding the governance of the church. For comparison, a pontifical secret was similar to classified information.

Pope Francis recently abolished pontifical secrecy previously applied to allegations of child sexual abuse. The new rule encourages cooperation with law enforcement and other civil authorities. Removing this layer of secrecy is a positive outcome for victims—as long as those who hear of the abuse follow through and report it.

Before the abolishment of pontifical secrecy, reports of abuse by priests and others within the church typically led to dismissals. Priests accused of serious child sex abuse allegations quietly left the church, with some moving on to work in schools and daycare centers.

The Catholic Church sex abuse scandal first made news more than 20 years ago. Victims continue to come forward, driven by the courage of others. If you or your child was the victim of sexual abuse by a respected church member, contact the Dolman Law Group to schedule a free case evaluation as soon as possible.

Why You Need Our Personal Injury Attorneys

In a move to protect their brand identity, reputation, or donor contributions, an organization or business may offer you a settlement. Their priority is to make the case go away with as little attention as possible.

Child sexual abuse doesn't just “go away,” and neither should you. The physical, emotional, and psychological scars can last a lifetime. For anyone to put profits or reputation over the well-being of our nation's children is unforgivable. At the Dolman Law Group, we believe those who protect predators have a responsibility to their victims. While no amount of money can restore what was lost, it can provide for counseling, freedom, and the tools you need to move on with your life.

Our experience with child sexual abuse cases has taught us what a deeply emotional subject this is for victims. That's why we treat our clients with the compassion and respect they deserve while aggressively pursuing fair compensation for damages.

Who knew what and when they knew it are vital pieces of evidence. Any supporting documents, photos, texts, or other proof that you have can serve as helpful information for your case.

Florida's Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Cases

Child sex abuse victims often suppress their memories of the abuse. Some memories may not surface until later in adulthood. The opportunity still exists to pursue civil action despite a decade or longer since the abuse occurred.

The Florida Statute of Limitations is often quite strict with timelines regarding certain types of personal injury cases. However, recent efforts by the state legislature have expanded the time limits for victims of child sex abuse claims. Pursuing a civil action against a predator and/or an organization that covered for the predator remains your right, years after the event.

New and pending legislation grants victims of child sex abuse options for holding those accountable for their damages. No matter when you experienced your abuse or when you remember it, contacting a personal injury attorney immediately is an important step. The extended statute of limitations still contains specific requirements that must be met to move your case forward.

At the Dolman Law Group, we work hard to secure the best possible outcome for our clients. We understand how difficult it is to come forward, no matter what your age. As we build a case against your abuser, we will keep you informed so you never wonder about the status of your case.

You Are Not Alone

As national cases have shown us, there is often more than just one victim. Predators who work among children often take advantage of their opportunity to sexually abuse different children at different times. Their manipulation of their victims results in a code of silence that they generate out of fear.

When you step forward to pursue civil action, you may discover that others faced similar abuse in the same setting. The abuse may continue if the predator is still in a position of power, and working with children.

Numerous nonprofits, like RAINN, help victims of abuse through a confidential hotline. Volunteers can also help you find local resources including counseling services and support groups.

Sexual abuse is devastating, and traumatic effects extend long into adulthood. It confuses children and often leads them to destructive behaviors. No adult in a position of authority has a right to sexually abuse a child, and no organization has the right to cover up the crime.

While each case is different, you may be entitled to compensation for treatment expenses and the loss of relationships. Fighting for your economic and noneconomic damages is how our legal team can help. We understand the tactics organizations and their legal teams may use to deny or delay a response to your claim.

We are on your side during this difficult time. Coming forward means reliving a very traumatic part of your life. We never pressure you to pursue a certain path regarding your civil claim. Upon a complete review of your case, we discuss your options for moving forward.

Those who steal a child's innocence must be held accountable. No matter what happens with the case in criminal court, your right to civil action remains.

Should we secure a successful outcome for your case, we understand that your fight truly never ends. Financial compensation can include future therapies for dealing with the trauma from your past. Holding your abuser or your childhood organization responsible for your lifelong challenges, phobias, and anxiety as a result of abuse is your right under Florida law.

Tampa Child Sexual Abuse FAQ

When your child has been sexually abused, you may have many questions and concerns about what to do next. We have provided the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below about the civil claims process regarding child sexual abuse in Tampa. If you have additional questions that were not answered here, do not hesitate to contact our office to discuss your concerns further.

Will My Child's Abuser Face Criminal Charges?

It is possible that your child abuser and any other parties who may have facilitated the abuse could face criminal charges. It will be up to the state's prosecuting attorney to determine whether they have enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If they obtain a criminal conviction, your child abuser and other culpable parties could face criminal penalties, including prison time, fines, and other consequences.

Will I Have To Bring My Child to Court?

Many parents have concerns that bringing their children to court could further traumatize them. This is a valid concern. In many cases, you may be able to work with an insurance company to secure a settlement that adequately meets your needs. 

However, if the insurance company is unwilling or unable to compensate you fairly, or if the liable party is not protected by an insurance company, you may need to file a lawsuit against your child's abuser and other liable parties to recover the compensation your child is entitled to.

What Damages Is My Child Entitled To Recover?

Children who have been sexually abused will often suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. In this way, your child has a right to be compensated for every way their life has been and will be affected by the abuse they endured. Some of the more common types of damages you can seek include:

  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Costs of mental health counseling and other medical expenses
  • Scarring and disfigurement

We Help Survivors of Sexual Abuse. Let Us Help You

Let the Dolman Law Group review your case today by scheduling a free, confidential case evaluation. We know that making the first step in reaching out to us is a courageous move on your part. We commend survivors of child sexual abuse, and we stand ready to help those who seek justice. 

With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach us, whether you live in the Tampa area or elsewhere in the state.

The sooner we evaluate your case, the sooner we can get to work for you. Your fight for accountability just might save another child from the same abuse. Our legal team can help you pursue a civil action against your attacker and/or the organization that allowed the abuse to continue.

Get Help From a Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer in Florida 

From youth organizations to churches, child sexual abuse continues to occur within the United States. If you were the victim of child sexual abuse, you may be entitled to compensation no matter when the abuse occurred. 

To find out if your case qualifies for civil litigation, contact Dolman Law Group without delay.

Tampa Office
13513 Prestige Pl. Suite 103
Tampa, FL 33635
(813) 303-0916


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

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 successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $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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