White House Panel Wants Independent Investigations of Sexual Assault, Harassment in Armed Services
A special panel reviewing Department of Defense policy announced last week that sexual assault and harassment investigations in the armed forces should be handled by independent judge advocates in the future. This would alter the current course, which puts accusations in the hands of commanding officers. The panel’s suggestions come as over 20,000 military members report being assaulted sexually in 2019, up 37 percent from 2017. Increased scrutiny and attention highlight the rise in women, who make up over 60 percent of the assault victims, leaving the armed forces.
The panel, led by White House appointees, announced the finding 30 days into their 90-day convening. Whereas previous studies have been filled with Pentagon selections, the Biden administration chose the members and selected an Obama appointee to chair. This new panel joins a new Senate Chair to the Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, who seeks new solutions to increase the low rate of court-martials and convictions from the thousands of annual sexual assault and harassment accusations. The commission has also been charged with offering better care and support to victims and reforming the military culture to dissuade such actions.
Even outside the military, the low conviction rate of sexual assaults can make it difficult for victims to come forward and tell their stories. It can be almost too much to relive the event and try to pursue justice. However, it helps to have an experienced ally on your side. Let the sexual abuse law team at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. work with you to pursue your case and fight to get as much justice and benefits you deserve. Call us today at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we are pleased to serve our neighbors in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.
New Senate Bills to Prevent Child Abuse and Eliminate Sexual Assault Statute of Limitations
Many different bills were passed by the state Senate this week, one regarding a mandatory training initiative for school employees to help prevent child sex abuse and another to eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual assault in New Hampshire. These two bills were passed as part of a larger package related to safety in schools and state sexual assault laws. The school employee training bill will require districts to provide training to all of their employees and volunteers in how to prevent child sex abuse. This training will occur every two years and will help teach school personnel how to identify warning signs and how to report their findings. House Bill 705 was also passed which provided legal changes to sexual assault statutes of limitations. This bill will allow citizens of New Hampshire to report abusers and bring any civil case of sexual abuse to court at any time. These are big steps for those who have been abused and for anyone who may be abused in the future.
Sexual abuse happens often, yet many cases go unreported. Children of any nationality, gender, or financial status can be abused and sexual assault can happen at any time. Sexual assault situations can be very painful to talk about and can cause physical and mental pain to the child. Sexual assaults that go unreported are extremely dangerous to the child’s well being and to future abuse victims. It is important to learn the warning signs of sexual assault and to report any possible assault victim to authorities.
If you have been sexually assaulted or abused, the Wilmington sexual abuse lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. will fight for your rights. Our legal team will ensure that you get the justice you deserve and will be there for you during every step of the legal process. Call us today at 302-600-1935 or contact us online. We represent victims of sexual assault throughout Delaware including Dover and Georgetown.
Sexual Abuse Lawyers Tackle Title IX Violations
When people reference Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, they often immediately think of gender discrimination in connection with collegiate athletics. However, Title IX does not simply cover the topic of sex discrimination in colleges and universities. In fact, Title IX carries over into practically any educational institution, even elementary schools. Violations of the federal law are not limited to sports-related activities, nor are they relegated to discrimination; they cover sexual abuse, too.
The Connection Between Sexual Abuse and Title IX
As a result of Title IX’s widespread coverage beyond athletics, sexual abuse lawyers may refer to Title IX in some cases involving sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence. For instance, if a female elementary school student is sexually abused in a school bound by Title IX laws, her family may seek representation from a lawyer with Title IX familiarity.
Regrettably, many victims and their loved ones are still in the dark about the relationship between Title IX and certain claims of sexual abuse. Hopefully, more press stories will emerge to improve the understanding of Title IX, such as the 14-year-old girl from a southern state who successfully battled a Title IX sexual abuse case.
Real Cases of Title IX Sexual Abuse Violations
According to reports, a female student attending a middle school told an authority figure at her school that she was being sexually harassed by a boy. The authority figure believed her and then suggested she use herself as bait to see if he would try to assault her in the school restroom. Sadly, the girl complied with the idea to catch the boy, but the authority figure arrived too late to prevent the girl from being sexually violated. This led to the girl being raped in a bathroom stall. To the credit of the plaintiff’s lawyers and the courts, the case was settled between the school board and the plaintiff for $200,000.
In a very different situation, a female middle school student and her parents told the school about various forms of harassment, including inappropriate sexual touching by multiple students. The incidents spanned many weeks and resulted in the student leaving the school. The United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights determined the school was non-compliant under Title IX and requested the school act to make restitution. One such action was to cover any costs incurred by the family as a result of the sexual harassment.
Although there are more Title IX violation reports across the nation, plenty of young victims of sexual abuse in schools do not make the connection. Anyone who has been sexually victimized should contact a sexual abuse lawyer immediately. Lawyers well-versed in sexual violation cases can determine if a situation falls under Title IX, as well as how to proceed.
Georgetown Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Advocate for Victims of Title IX Sexual Abuse
If you or someone you know has been sexually victimized in a private or public educational institution, please contact a Georgetown sexual abuse lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. today. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445. Located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we serve clients from the surrounding areas of Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.
Abused by Nuns
The past decade has brought to light serious allegations of sexual abuse against the Catholic Church, with new stories still appearing in the news. Now, another group of religious leaders are facing claims of abuse: nuns. CBS News has reported cases of molestation and other mistreatment from those willing to share their stories.
The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is a resource for survivors. One survivor, a former nun herself, described her experience of being molested by a superior. She was called into an office and knelt by her superior. Then, the other woman kissed the victim’s face repeatedly, making her very uncomfortable.
The former nun now works with SNAP, and said that before the sexual abuse scandal started, she rarely heard about abuse by nuns. She says that nuns take difficult vows of celibacy and chastity, and their culture is extremely private. Since the Pennsylvania Grand Jury’s report identified pedophile priests in the state, 18 people have reached out to tell her about their experiences with abuse.
More Survivors Speak Out
Another woman told CBS about how she was sexually abused by two church officials. When she was five years old, a priest, who was also her uncle, started sexually abusing her, which lasted for years. She first revealed this to a nun at a New Jersey convent. The nun later gave her alcohol and drugs and taught her about sex. The survivor later reported this to the congregation, who paid her a large settlement out-of-court.
Congregation representatives stated that they investigated the claim right away, and that they acted in a responsible way. The accused nun lost her position as a grade school principal but is still a nun. The church gives her housing and food, although she is not permitted to provide outside ministry.
Effects of Abuse
The woman who was abused twice said that she is facing a lifetime of suffering and trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder. She had issues with drug and alcohol addiction, dating back to when the abuse started. Now, she feels that the settlement does not equal the amount of distress that she is dealing with, and that other nuns were aware of the situation. She hopes that sharing her story will give others the courage to speak up and prevent the abuse from happening again.
The Church’s Response
In early January, Catholic bishops from different parts of the country met in Chicago at the behest of Pope Francis. This retreat lasted a week and was organized around spiritual reflection and prayer. No new policies were announced.
The International Union of Superiors General, which is the Catholic Church’s world-wide nun organization, issued a statement late last year. They urged nuns who have experienced sexual abuse by the church to report it and made a vow to help them do so to help survivors and find justice.
Georgetown Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Help Victims of Sexual Abuse
If you or someone you care for has been abused by a clergy member, a Georgetown sexual abuse lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help. For a free case evaluation, fill out an online form or call us at 302-656-5445. With offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we represent clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.
USA Gymnastics Files Bankruptcy
Hundreds of young gymnasts and their families trusted Dr. Larry Nassar, the longtime USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University team physician. Their trust was unfounded, as Nassar was arrested in 2016 for sexual abuse of young girls and women, conducted under the guise of examination. Some of the top female gymnasts in the country, including Olympic gold medalists Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, and Kyla Ross, were among his victims.
In January 2018, Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison, but he was already sentenced to 60 years in prison on a federal child pornography charge. USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Indiana. With Chapter 11 bankruptcy, assets are not taken away from a debtor.
More Than 100 Lawsuits Filed
To date, more than 100 lawsuits were filed by 350 survivors, as well as a Section 8 complaint filed by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) against USA Gymnastics to remove it as the national governing body for gymnastics. Michigan State University agreed earlier this year to pay $500 million to settle many of the lawsuits filed against the school, while USA Gymnastics estimated it would cost the organization up to $100 million to settle its lawsuits. Although USA Gymnastics went through months of mediation, no settlement was reached, and the USA Gymnastics board determined that the best way forward was having a bankruptcy court make the decision regarding claims.
Insurance to Pay Claims
When a settlement is reached, it is the insurance company that will pay the claims. A board chairman said USA Gymnastics does not have the assets needed to pay claims. She adds that she hopes the USOC will prove as cooperative as the insurance companies. However, if the USOC is successful in revoking USA Gymnastics as the governing body of its sport, the organization will likely cease to exist. While representatives from USA Gymnastics are under the impression that the bankruptcy filing puts the USOC’s decision of its status on hold, representatives from the USOC say that is not accurate.
According to USOC representatives, the bankruptcy filing does not affect its Section 8 claim. What the bankruptcy filing will do, however, is put a stop to any discovery and depositions relating to victims’ lawsuits. Whether that stoppage is temporary or permanent is yet to be determined. During the bankruptcy proceedings, USA Gymnastics will continue to operate normally. She adds the organization is not encountering issues in paying its bills.
Georgetown Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Seek Justice for Sex Abuse Survivors
If you or a loved one was the victim of sexual abuse, you need the services of the experienced Georgetown sexual abuse lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call our office today at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free initial consultation. From our offices in Georgetown and Wilmington, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state, including Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.
Legislature to Pass Updated New York Child Victims Act
The New York legislature is set to pass the updated New York Child Victims Act on Monday. Revisions to the act will grant sexual abuse survivors more opportunities to file claims against their abusers. The statute of limitations, which previously set the allowance to file criminal charges against perpetrators at age 23 for the survivors, will be raised to age 28 for felony cases. Survivors will be permitted to file civil suits up until the age of 55. A one-year window will be available for older filings that were dismissed in court due to the previous guidelines.
For sexual abuse survivors, the passing of the newly updated New York Child Victims Act means that they will be that much closer to receiving justice after enduring debilitating trauma in the aftermath of abuse. Individuals who attempted to file claims against their abusers will have another chance to see that they are held accountable.
If you have been sexually abused or assaulted, please call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At Jacobs & Crumplar, the sexual abuse lawyers represent clients across the country from as far away as North Dakota. Currently, we are representing multiple victims of sexual abuse in New York.
Title IX Regulations Off Campus
Title IX prohibits university education programs and activities that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of sex. While regulations related to Title IX programs have existed since the law’s passage in 1972, these rules are receiving a complete overhaul under a new proposal introduced by the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. One of the more significant changes affects the way a university or college deals with its investigation of off campus sexual abuse.
Handling Allegations of Off Campus Sexual Misconduct
Under the new regulations, a school is required to investigate a student’s report of sexual misconduct occurring off campus only if the student is at a campus-sanctioned event or activity. Off campus Greek housing for sororities and fraternities is defined in the proposed regulation as a school-sanctioned activity and would not be exempt from the mandate to investigate all sexual conduct reports.
Campus-sanctioned events or activities include situations where:
- The activity is held on a premises owned by the school
- The school exercises oversight or supervision
- The school holds disciplinary power
- The school provides funding
- The school endorses or promotes the event
Although not specifically set forth in the proposed regulations, experts believe study abroad programs and professional internship programs connected to a university also would fall under the category of campus-sanctioned.
The proposed regulations could result in some incidents of sexual misconduct occurring off campus, affecting on-campus learning or creating a hostile learning environment, but will not qualify as a Title IX issue. Although colleges are not required to investigate off campus incidents, colleges are not prohibited from investigating incidents involving students that occur off campus. Many higher education organizations believe universities will continue to extend student disciplinary codes and student-conduct proceedings to apply to off-campus incidents.
Fairness to Students Accused in Sexual Assault Cases
According to Secretary DeVos, the new regulations have been designed to ensure a fair grievance process that protects victims of sexual abuse while allowing students accused of sexual misconduct to defend themselves without a predetermination of guilt. The new regulations set forth the presumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty and gives the accused the right to cross-examine their accuser and participate in a live hearing. To ensure impartiality in investigations, schools may no longer rely on single investigators in responding to sexual misconduct complaints.
Support for Survivors of Sexual Abuse
To support campus sexual abuse victims, universities would be required to provide counseling, leaves of absence, and no-contact orders for students recovering from sexual abuse. Many victims’ rights organizations, including the Victim Rights Law Center, fear the new regulations will result in fewer sexual misconduct victims coming forward.
Georgetown Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Assist Sexual Abuse Victims
If you or someone you know has suffered sexual abuse, help is available. With offices conveniently located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, the experienced Georgetown sexual abuse lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. proudly represent victims of sexual abuse throughout the state, including those in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online.
Suits of Sexual Abuse Against Pittsburgh Diocese
Sexual abuse of children is among the most heinous crimes a person can commit. Yet, over the past few years, evidence of extensive sexual abuse of children by priests within the Roman Catholic dioceses of Pennsylvania has been revealed. The work to uncover this abuse has not been easy. The dioceses have consistently worked to conceal abuse by its clergy. They have also enabled sexual abuse of children by allowing accused priests to continue attending to parishioners and their children.
Evidence Continues to Mount
Recently, several lawsuits were filed in Allegheny County against the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh regarding four priests that were not named in prior lawsuits. Many of the suits provide evidence of grooming, a methodical process of manipulating a person to a point where they can be victimized. Activities such as giving gifts, going on trips, and gradually escalating touching were reported in several new cases.
Some of the cases also allege coordinated abuse among priests. If a child had already been groomed and victimized by one priest, they would be given a cross to wear. This would then serve as a signal to other predator priests that the child was already groomed, victimized, and unlikely to report abuse. By wearing the cross, the child was inadvertently broadcasting their vulnerability to other predators.
There were also two very disturbing commonalities among the lawsuits. First, priests would threaten punishment by Jesus if the child informed anyone of the abuse. Second, trusted adults, including parents and grandparents, refused to believe children who reported the abuse. Such acts can absolutely devastate a child.
Barrier to Justice
Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse have only been able to come forward with their accusations as adults. Often, this happens after the statute of limitations has expired. Until now, this has been a barrier to justice. In recent days, a new path has been forged to compel release of information regarding sex abuse offenders in the Catholic diocese of Pennsylvania.
Dismantling the Cover-up
Two survivors whose abuse occurred outside the statute of limitations have filed suit against the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the state’s diocese alleging crimes of conspiracy and nuisance under state law. The remedy they seek is to compel every diocese across Pennsylvania to reveal the names of all clergy members who took part in enabling and concealing child sex abuse. The attorney for the survivors said that a recent grand jury report issued by the Office of the Attorney General has not done enough to address the problem since it does not force any of the bishops to reveal the names of the offenders or the history of the bishops and top church officials that concealed the abuse.
Georgetown Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Advocate for Victims of Clergy Abuse
Sexual abuse of any kind is abhorrent. When it involves a spiritual leader abusing a child under their charge, it is nearly unfathomable. We understand the difficulties faced by survivors. The Georgetown sexual abuse lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. have successfully won cases for victims of sexual abuse. We encourage you to allow us to defend your case against a sexual abuser regardless of when the abuse occurred. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.
Nearly 80 Abusive Priests Remain on Diocese Payroll
In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury report identified over 300 abusive priests in the Catholic church and detailed alleged acts of sexual abuse committed against children within six dioceses that spanned decades. This report prompted the push to remove the statute of limitations for filing claims in older cases, instigation of other state clergy abuse investigations, initiation of civil lawsuits against dioceses and clergy members, and onset of diocese-based compensation funds for survivors of clergy abuse. While these strides may appear as steps toward rectifying the abuse pervading the Catholic church, one issue left out of the conversation is that nearly 80 abusive priests continue to receive compensation.
Removal from the Priesthood
Despite being removed from their respective ministries, the abusive priests receive both paychecks and pensions from the dioceses in which they formerly presided. Though the priests may be defrocked and relieved from their duties, this does not mean that they lose their compensation or even their status as clerics. The Pope must officially remove the priest from the priesthood and cease their ability to collect compensation. Laicization, the official process for removal of a priest, must be approved by the Pope and could take years to occur or may never take place at all.
Why Priests Still Receive Compensation
Defrocked priests continue to receive compensation for reasons beyond the fact that only the pope can officially remove a priest from the priesthood. According to diocese officials, they believe that the Vatican may be reluctant to conduct laicization due to the advanced age and deteriorating health of certain priests. Bishops from some of the dioceses may decide to avoid the defrocking process altogether and permit the abusive priest to receive retirement compensation, which is funded by the church.
Where Retired Priests Reside
Some predatory priests who even admitted to the sexual abuse of children reside in a retirement home, Villa St. Joseph, owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Sixteen abusive priests live in the home and are enrolled in a program called “Prayer and Penance,” where they are supposedly being monitored. Instead of going through the laicization process, the priests live in the home, which is funded by the diocese. Representatives at the home state that the reason they reside there is due to the advanced age and compromised health of the residents. Unfortunately, this does not provide solace to those who survived abuse by the predatory priests who may never be punished for their actions.
The Experienced Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Fight for Clergy Abuse Survivors in Delaware and Pennsylvania
If you or a loved one has suffered sexual abuse by a clergy member, contact a compassionate Delaware sexual abuse lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. We will provide support and fiercely advocate for your rights, so that the healing process can begin.
Please call 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware. We serve clients from the surrounding areas, including those in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County. We also have an office in Media to assist clients in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania.
Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse
A grand jury report detailed credible allegations of sex abuse against approximately 1,000 child victims by more than 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania. Due to lack of reporting, the number of victims is more likely to be in the thousands. The grand jury report is said to be the largest, most comprehensive document alleging child sex abuse in the Catholic church ever filed in the U.S.
Allegations of Widespread Child Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania
Six dioceses throughout the state were implicated and grand jurors found that church leaders throughout the state chose to protect the priests and the institution in one of the largest cover-ups ever exposed.
When the sexual abuse was reported, priests were often sent to other parishes in order to sweep the allegations under the rug and protect church leaders. Attempts to silence accusers and cover up the abuse caused the statute of limitations to run out in almost every case, according to the grand jury.
Current Statute of Limitations Prevents Victims from Justice
The allegations of abuse date back to 1947. According to the grand jury, because the accusations were prevented from coming out and were covered up for decades, many of these cases are too old to be prosecuted due to the Pennsylvania statute of limitations.
The current Pennsylvania statute of limitations prohibits child sex abuse victims from filing criminal charges after they turn 50 years old and civil claims after they turn 30. A proposed bill that would eliminate the time limit for criminal charges and change the civil lawsuit limitation to age 50 is now before the state House, after being passed unanimously by the Senate last year.
State Representative Proposes a Two-Year Window
A Pennsylvania state Representative, who is also a former victim of child sex abuse by a priest, is pushing for an amendment to the bill that would allow child sex abuse victims a two-year window to sue their abusers once the bill is passed, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
The Senate previously rejected the proposal but the representative hopes they will reconsider it due to the present wide-sweeping allegations. The grand jury supports the two-year retroactive window, but a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses stated that such legislative matters will be addressed later and that for the time being, they are solely focusing on the survivors’ healing process.
If the bill is passed, thousands of child sex abuse victims will have the opportunity to get the justice and closure they need. It remains to be seen whether the legislature will crack down on this systemic abuse by passing the bill and making reforms.
Georgetown Sexual Abuse Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Seek Justice for Sex Abuse Survivors
If you are a survivor of sex abuse, contact a Georgetown sexual abuse lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. We have been litigating childhood sexual abuse cases against churches, schools, and doctors since 2004, and we also advocate for adult survivors of sexual abuse and assault. From our offices in Georgetown and Wilmington, Delaware, we represent clients throughout the state. Our attorneys are also licensed to practice in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. For a confidential consultation, contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445.