Child Abuse Attorney

Child Molestation & Abuse

Public and Private Schools
Teachers, coaches, volunteers, counselors, and even other students can be sexual predators. Rarely is a student molested in school without warning. Sexual predators know they have time to “groom” their victims, to slowly gain their trust, until the sexual contact occurs, almost as if part of a natural progression. Abuse in schools can occur at any age, from pre-kindergarten through high school.

School employees and officials are legally required to exercise reasonable care in the supervision of children, but because of tight budgets, understaffing, or just plain denial, children fall prey to sexual predators. Staff is hired without adequate background checks, volunteers are inadequately supervised and few are trained on how to respond to suspicions or concerns that a child is being abused. In some cases, a fellow student is a sexual offender, but because they are a juvenile, parents are never warned and only a handful of school administrators know about the student’s past.

Arizona, like most states, has a victim compensation fund to provide limited financial assistance. A civil case can be filed against the perpetrator or any negligent third party in order to more fully compensate a family for lost wages, counseling expenses, medical expenses and emotional damages suffered by the child and parents as a result of the abuse. As child abuse attorneys, we have represented clients with children of all ages that have been molested by “trusted” teachers, volunteers and coaches.

Day Cares
Families rely on day care facilities to provide a safe environment for their children. Daycares promote their services with slick promotional pieces showing security cameras, bright craft activities and colorful playground equipment. Unfortunately, it is all too common to see a day care facility fail to follow its own safety rules and cut corners or be inattentive when it comes to supervising the children entrusted to its care. In some cases, the day care fails to conduct a proper background investigation on its employees, hiring them to work with children when in fact, they are sexual predators. Employees know that no one is generally monitoring the security cameras and there are huge blind spots in coverage. In other cases, the day care accepts a child with behavioral problems it knows will create a risk to the other children. That information is often not shared with the classroom teacher and never shared with other parents.

As child abuse attorneys, we have represented children that have been physically and sexually abused while at daycare by caregivers and other children. In one case, we represented a pre-school child who alleged she was sexually assaulted by a 5th grade boy in the daycare bathroom. We have also represented numerous children who alleged they were sexually molested or physically abused by adult caregivers.

Arizona, like most states, has a victim compensation fund to provide limited financial assistance. A civil case can be filed against the perpetrator or any negligent third party in order to more fully compensate a family for lost wages, counseling expenses, medical expenses and emotional damages suffered by the child and parents as a result of the abuse. We have successfully handled cases against day care facilities by bringing legal claims for negligent hiring, retention and supervision arising from the sexual abuse of children entrusted to its care.

Residential Care Facilities
Disabled adults and children in residential care facilities and group homes have legal rights to hold these institutions accountable for abuse within the facility. Persons with disabilities have the right to be safe not only from the staff at the facility, but also from the aggressive behaviors of other residents. In some cases, the sexual or physical abuse is perpetrated by a home health care aide caring for patients in their own homes. We represent children, disabled adults, and their families in cases against the residential care facility or home health care agency responsible for hiring and supervising the abusers and their clients.

Arizona, like most states, has a victim compensation fund to provide limited financial assistance. A civil case can be filed against the perpetrator or any negligent third party in order to more fully compensate a family for lost wages, counseling expenses, medical expenses and emotional damages suffered by the child and parents as a result of the abuse. As child abuse attorneys, we have successfully handled cases against residential care facilities and group homes by bringing legal claims for negligent hiring, retention and supervision arising from the abuse of disabled individuals entrusted to their care.

Camp
Residential summer camps and day camps are responsible for providing a safe environment for the children in their care. The camps are generally required to exercise reasonable care in hiring and supervising employees, so as to avoid a camper’s sexual abuse by an employee of the camp. Camps often hire experienced campers to be counselors and counselors-in-training without properly training them in preventing sexual abuse and responding to suspicions of sexual abuse.

It is the camp’s responsibility to train and properly supervise all of its employees, counselors, and volunteers. In some cases, failure to properly supervise the campers can also result in a child being sexually assaulted by another camper. Failing to protect children from sexual predators in a camp environment may give rise to a legal claim against the camp.

Arizona, like most states, has a victim compensation fund to provide limited financial assistance. A civil case can be filed against the perpetrator or any negligent third party in order to more fully compensate a family for lost wages, counseling expenses, medical expenses and emotional damages suffered by the child and parents as a result of the abuse. We have successfully handled cases against perpetrators and negligent third parties by bringing legal claims for negligent hiring, retention and supervision arising from the sexual abuse of children entrusted to its care.

Foster Care
The news regularly reports of a child being taken from one terrifying home life and sent to live in an equal or worse situation. Due to understaffing, low budgets, lack of training, and pure desperation, state workers often cannot provide the level of supervision required by law to keep children safe. State workers- or those with whom the state has contracted to provide services- often do not adequately screen the foster parents or fail to supervise the children once they are placed with the new foster parents. Foster parents without adequate parenting skills may physically and emotionally abuse these children. Sexual predators seize upon these circumstances to abuse new victims. Without any family, trusted adults, or advocates to speak for them, children are forced to endure abuse by their foster parents for extended periods of time.

When the state or its subcontractors fail to protect the children in their care, or choose to ignore signs that kids are being abused in the foster care system, it may be liable for the resulting sexual abuse. Arizona, like most states, has a victim compensation fund to provide limited financial assistance. A civil case can be filed against the perpetrator or any negligent third party in order to more fully compensate a family for lost wages, counseling expenses, medical expenses and emotional damages suffered by the child and parents as a result of the abuse. As child abuse attorneys, we have successfully handled cases against Child Protective Services by bringing legal claims for negligent supervision of children entrusted to their care.

Youth Sports Leagues
Between practice, team-building events, and overnight trips, adults involved in youth sports have the opportunity to spend a tremendous time alone with kids. Because they have so much unsupervised access to children, many youth sports leagues have developed rules and guidelines for coaches, volunteers and parents to follow to protect young players. These guidelines set forth red flags that should alert adults involved in youth sports that a child may be vulnerable to abuse. Unfortunately, youth sports leagues often fail to enforce league rules or train parents on the red flags for which they should be looking to protect their children. Typical red flags include a coach or other adult that seeks one-on-one contact with players or has favorites on the team.

When these red flags are ignored, kids can be sexually abused. Children as young as 5 and as old as 17 are often afraid to report sexual abuse by their coaches for fear of the stigma, repercussions from teammates or fear that they will be cut off from the sport that they love.

Arizona, like most states, has a victim compensation fund to provide limited financial assistance. A civil case can be filed against the perpetrator or any negligent third party in order to more fully compensate a family for lost wages, counseling expenses, medical expenses and emotional damages suffered by the child and parents as a result of the abuse. We have skillfully and successfully handled sexual abuse cases involving youth sports leagues across Arizona.

Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts of America is the largest youth organization in the United States. Unfortunately, it is yet another youth activity in which adult sex offenders populate in surprisingly large numbers. According to published reports there have been thousands of sexual abuse cases involving adult Scout leaders and volunteers. In the Boy Scouts, adult leaders have an opportunity and access to work closely with youth who look to them for guidance and direction. It is within the context that many young scouts are “groomed” for abuse. In a typical scenario, the incidents of abuse occur during camping trips, sleepovers, visits to the scout leaders home, or as part of an initiation process. In some cases, boy scouts leaders have been accused or convicted in one location only to reappear in another location. Poor screening of adult volunteers has also been cited as a reason for the high rate of sexual abuse within the Boy Scouts.

Clergy
Sexual abuse by clergy occurs at an alarming rate. The priest, pastor or minister has the trust of not only the victim, but the whole congregation. Religious institutions provide a sexual predator the opportunity to groom victims in a setting where there is not only implied trust, but often when the victim is most vulnerable and in need of care and kindness. This breach of trust is one of the reasons sexual abuse by clergy is particularly harmful to the victim. Sexual abuse has long-lasting effects on those who are victims, as well as on their families and loved ones. When the victim is a child or a vulnerable adult, the harmful effects can be even more devastating.

Arizona, like most states, has a victim compensation fund to provide limited financial assistance. A civil case can be filed against the perpetrator or any negligent third party in order to more fully compensate a family for lost wages, counseling expenses, medical expenses and emotional damages suffered by the child and parents as a result of the abuse. As child abuse attorneys, we have skillfully and successfully handled sexual abuse cases involving clergy in various denominations across Arizona.

If your family or someone you know has been affected or victimized by child abuse, please contact the child abuse attorneys at The Law Office of Sara J. Powell. We seek justice for victims through compensation and rights advocacy.