Crimes like sexual assault and rape inflict devastating emotional trauma on their victims. Sex crimes can also cause serious physical injuries, adding to the pain and horror of an assault. The survivors of rape and sexual assault may need extensive medical care, counseling, and other forms of support to help them heal and recover from their emotional and physical injuries.
If you or one of your loved ones was the victim of rape, sexual assault, or other unwanted sexual contact, you have a right to hold your attacker responsible and pursue damages for your medical bills, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other harm that you have suffered because of the assault. Our law firm is available 24/7 to provide compassionate and respectful legal support, helping you understand your rights and take the next steps. To discuss a potential claim confidentially in a free legal consultation with our Maryland lawyer for sexual assault injuries, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291, or contact us online.
The Definition of Sexual Assault in Maryland
Sexual assault is a broad term. Under the Maryland code, the offense ranges from rape in the first degree to sexual assault in the fourth degree. Although sexual assault in the fourth degree comprises sexual contact without consent it also includes consensual sexual contact when the victim is 14 or 15 years old, and the person performing the sexual act is at least four years older than the victim.
Common Victims of Maryland Sexual Assault Injury Cases
According to the National Center for Victims of Crimes, it’s difficult to put an accurate figure on the extent of sexual assault in America. However, children are most likely to be victims. Studies show children make up almost three-quarters of sex assault victims.
The center also noted:
- 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys become victims of sexual abuse;
- Children between the ages of 7 and 13 are most vulnerable to child sexual abuse;
- About 20 percent of women and 5-10 percent of adult males recall an incident of sexual abuse from their childhood;
- As many as 28 percent of people in the United States have reported an incident of abuse over their lifetimes.
- Up to 42 million adults in the United States are victims of child abuse.
Many institutions and businesses have faced sexual abuse allegations. They include.
- Nursing homes and residential care facilities;
- Schools and boarding schools;
- Churches and religious institutions;
- Homeless shelters;
- University campuses;
- Foster homes;
In today’s society, many places provide ample opportunities for sexual predators to gain unsupervised access to children. Often sex offenders slip through the net and are allowed to work in sensitive locations with access to children.
What Are the Most Common Forms of Sexual Assault in Maryland?
Sexual assault is not a specific term. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) identifies the following as forms of sexual abuse or assault.
- Child sexual abuse;
- Sexual assault of women and girls;
- Sexual assault of men and boys:
- Intimate partner sexual violence;
- Drug assisted sexual abuse;
- Sexual harassment in a workplace or a school;
- Sexual abuse of elders;
- Prisoner rape;
- Sexual exploitation by professionals;
- Gang rapes;
- Military sexual trauma;
- Sexual abuse by medical professionals;
Statistics for Sexual Assault Cases
Many people hesitate to come forward after being raped or sexually assaulted. However, it is important to know that you are not alone, and that many resources are available to help you pursue the healing and the justice that you deserve. Unfortunately, sexual assault is a common occurrence in the United States, where the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reports that someone is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds.
According to RAINN statistics, some of the people at highest risk are children, with approximately 60,000 victims per year; jail or prison inmates, with over 80,000 victims per year; and members of the military, with nearly 19,000 victims per year. Among children and teenagers, those aged 12 to 17 are at highest risk, accounting for roughly two thirds of all child victims.
Outside those groups, among the general U.S. population, RAINN reports an average of more than 430,000 sexual assaults per year. About 90% of attacks target females, with male victims accounting for the remaining 10%. The attacker is usually a person the victim already knows, like an acquaintance, a coworker, or a family member, with over half of all attacks taking place at or near the victim’s own home.
Why Sexual Assaults Can Lead to Third Party Liability Lawsuits
In some cases, a business or an institution can be held liable for sexual assaults committed by employees or contractors. For example, a hospital that ignores complaints of sexual assaults made against a doctor or a TV station that fails to address complaints against a news anchor may be sued as well as the alleged perpetrator.
In some cases, lawsuits are brought for a failure to provide adequate security. If an apartment complex fails to act on rapes in communal areas or a shopping mall doesn’t address security concerns, owners or managers may be sued in a third party liability suit.
Can a Civil Case for Maryland Sexual Assault Injuries Be Brought in the Absence of Criminal Proceedings?
We are often asked if a civil case can be brought when nobody was charged with a crime. The answer is yes whether it’s a traffic accident or a sexual abuse claim. Some sexual abuse goes unreported for years and a criminal court is never involved. However, a civil proceeding may still be brought.
In other cases, criminal proceedings may have been brought but the charges were dropped or the alleged abuser was not convicted of a crime. Although a conviction for child abuse or another form of sexual abuse against your attacker may make your civil case easier to bring, the lack of a conviction is not a bar. The burden of proof in a civil case is not as high as the beyond all reasonable doubt burden required in a criminal case.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Sexual Assault Lawsuits in Maryland?
Most personal injury lawsuits are bound to a strict deadline called the statute of limitations. For example, Maryland has a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury cases, which means cases generally cannot be filed after this time. However, there are special exceptions for cases involving the rape or sexual assault of minors. If the victim was under 18 when he or she was raped or assaulted, he or she can sue for up to seven years after the date of the attack, instead of the typical three-year time limit applicable to adults.
Getting Compensation as a Victim of Sexual Assault in Maryland
When a person commits an act like sexual assault or rape, he or she can be charged with a crime and prosecuted by the state. For instance, the perpetrator may be charged with crimes like first degree rape, under Section 3-303 of the Maryland Criminal Law Code; sexual offense in the second degree, under Section 3-306; or attempted rape in the second degree, under Section 3-310. These are only a few examples of the various charges that prosecutors may file, depending on the situation.
Separately from the criminal case, the victim of that crime can file a civil (non-criminal) case against his or her attacker – even if the criminal case results in an acquittal, or finding of “not guilty.” This allows the victim to pursue compensation (“damages”) for the attack, regardless of how the case is disposed of by the criminal justice system. In fact, the victim may file a civil lawsuit even if there is no criminal charge. If the victim was emotionally, physically, or financially harmed because of the attacker’s actions, he or she may have a civil case.
Heinous acts like rape, child molestation, and sexual assault can inflict emotional scars that last for a lifetime. The survivor may need many years of counseling, therapy, and other treatments to begin healing from the attack. The victim may also be dealing with serious physical injuries, making the healing process even more difficult.
The Law Offices of Randolph Rice is here to stand by you throughout this difficult time. Our Maryland lawyer for sexual abuse injuries can fight to obtain compensation, including compensation for trauma, emotional distress, physical injuries, medical bills, psychiatric treatments or services, financial losses like lost wages, and other damages. We are here to guide you through Maryland’s laws and hold your attacker responsible.
Maryland Lawyer for Injuries Caused by Sexual Assault + Abuse
If you or one of your loved ones was raped or sexually assaulted, compassionate legal help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the state of Maryland. For a free, completely confidential legal consultation with our Maryland sexual assault lawsuit lawyer, call (410) 694-7291, or contact the Law Offices of Randolph Rice online.