Adults who care for children have a legal obligation to ensure those children avoid unreasonably dangerous situations. Failing to adequately protect a child may result in the caregiver being charged with “child endangerment” or “endangering the welfare of a child.”
Examples of child endangerment may include:
- Driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle
- Leaving a child alone and unsupervised with available dangerous weapons
- Leaving a child unattended in an unsafe area or vehicle
- Hiring a person with a known history of sexual offenses to supervise a child
- Leaving a young child unsupervised or in the care of another young child
- Providing drugs or alcohol to an underage driver
- Opting for spiritual healing rather than conventional medicine when a child’s life is in danger
- Failing to report suspected child abuse
- Domestic violence episodes that take place in front of children
In most claims for personal injury there are time limits by which the claim must be brought. There are various exceptions, including sexual abuse that took place many years ago when the claimant was a minor. In all lawsuits, the credibility of facts and witnesses is crucial. Abuse allegations, by their nature, are infrequently able to be independently, conclusively verified. Further, litigation is inherently an endeavor in which witnessesmay have a stake in a particular explanation of past events.
Assuming there is no statute of limitations concern, what are some of the unique challenges and “tricks of the trade” of filing or defending against this type of civil lawsuit? We asked a number of experienced attorneys to share their insights about handling a sexual abuse case when the alleged abuse happened many years ago. The following are their observations.
CHILD USA, the University of Pennsylvania-based think tank focused on child abuse and neglect, with $300,000 in funding from the Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD), today announced the establishment of an independent Blue Ribbon Commission to examine the institutional responses to sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The announcement came at the Athletes and Abuse Symposium hosted at the University of Pennsylvania, where leading national experts on sports, law enforcement, child sexual abuse, and child development convened to examine the repeated abuse of athletes across the spectrum of sports and ages.
“Game Over: Commission to Protect Youth Athletes” led by Marci Hamilton, CEO of CHILD USA and Fox Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, will have 16 members, and will immediately engage in a fact-finding exercise, before conducting public hearings to bring greater light to what happened and what went wrong in reporting. The commission expects to release a full, public report, in the beginning of 2020 with the goal of preventing abuse in the future.
Our firm co-sponsored this first-ever gathering of child pornography survivors who created this mandala of hope and resilience. Calling themselves the ‘Phoenix Ten,’ survivors shared their lifelong experiences and organized as a powerful force demanding change.
Survivors banded together to share experiences and create a force to challenge the inadequate responses to the prevalence of child sex abuse images on the Internet. One outcome of the retreat was the establishment of an action group focusing on bringing the collective voice of these victims to the international stage.