Subject: Possibility Of Instigating A Suit For Sexual Assault
Date: 11th October 2022
We at the firm would like to offer our sincere apologies for your recent misfortune, we are however ready and willing to offer whatever help you may need in order to obtain justice for the crime suffered. Despite the fact that you did not report the crime to the police, it is possible to pursue your case within a court of law, both as a civil case as well as a criminal case. Rape constitutes a tort, which is a civil wrong in which the perpetrator’s wrong doing or behavior resulted in another person suffering harm or a loss. As such, a person who suffers tortious injury is entitled to compensation for damages caused. These egregious injuries may take the form of physical injuries, economic injuries, reputational injuries, psychological injuries, emotional injuries, and violations of constitutional rights, and privacy (Courtois, 1988). Further, sexual assault is actually considered as the ultimate violation of an individual’s personal autonomy by the Supreme Court (Roberts,Wolbert & Regehr, 2009). It is on the basis of these injuries that it is possible to file a civil suit, as well as pursue justice through criminal prosecution of the perpetrator.
Our law firm can assist in filing of a civil law suit, while whether or not to pursue criminal proceedings is essentially at your discretion, in terms of whether you want to report the incident to the police. In a civil suit for sexual assault, we would be pursuing monetary compensation for the damages suffered as already mentioned above. The suit may be filed under sexual abuse, invasion of privacy, assault and battery, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and unlawful restraint. In addition to compensation for the injuries already mentioned, we may also pursue compensation for costs of not just past but also future therapy, as well as medical expenses, while further seeking compensation for any cases in which functionality may be hampered due to the incident, and as a result failure to fulfill your full potential. In some instances there is usually no need to proceed to court, as the assailant may chose to settle the matter out of court and offer the compensation required.
We may therefore first attempt negotiations with the assailant or his employer, in order to try and settle the matter out of court. This entails drafting a written demand for a financial settlement, and depending on the assailant’s admissions, the value of his reputation or the outcome of criminal proceedings, the assailant may opt to settle the matter quickly out of court (Ides & May, 2006). Further to this, if a settlement is reached, in order to protect your identity, a confidentiality agreement will be signed. In case no agreement is reached we will file a statement of claim, which is essentially the beginning of the civil proceedings, with full exchange of information between the two parties taking place. If after this point there is still no agreement, then the case will proceed to full trial, although steps will be taken to protect your identity (Scheb, 2002). If the trial concludes in your favor, the court will most likely award you monetary compensation commensurate with the damage caused by the rape. In some rare cases, the court may opt to award punitive damages as well, which are fines usually calculated based on the assailant’s wealth and are meant to discourage the assailant or any others intending to engage in similar behavior from doing so (Moxon & Hedderman, 1994). In short the awards may be for pain and suffering, potential income loss and punitive damages. In civil lawsuits there are no prison sentences issued, as such penalties are only available under criminal law. It is important to note that it is possible for you to pursue both criminal and civil proceedings at the same time.
However when it comes to criminal proceedings, the matter is usually handled by a government prosecutor, and as such after reporting it to the police, the matter can proceed even without your input or willingness to cooperate if the prosecutor so chooses (Johns, 2006). It is also important to note that there is no limit as to when you can report the matter to the police, although the most prudent action to take would be to report the matter even if you do not intend to start criminal proceeding s right away. This is important because early reporting increases the chances of the perpetrator being arrested and successfully prosecuted. If found guilty of sexual assault, the assailant may be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years in prison and a maximum of 14 years, depending on whether it is his first felony offense (Bonnar-Kidd, 2010).
If the perpetrator is found not guilty by a criminal court, the finding will not limit you from suing them, as criminal and civil proceedings are two different processes, and in civil cases the level of proof required is a lot lower compared to criminal cases (Burke, 2006).
Bonnar-Kidd, K. (2010). Sexual Offender Laws and Prevention of Sexual Violence or Recidivism. American Journal of Public Health 100(3), 412–419.
Courtois, C. (1988). Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy. W. W. Norton & Company.
Burke, P. (2006). The Criminal Law, And Its Sentences, In Treasons, Felonies, and Misdemeanors: With A Supplement Including All Statutable Alterations And Additions Down To The Present Time. Oxford University Press.
Ides, A. & May, C. (2006). Civil Procedure: Cases and Problems. Aspen Publishers.
Johns, M. (2006). The United States Legal System: An Introduction. Carolina Academic Press
Moxon, D. & Hedderman C. (1994). Mode of Trial Decisions and Sentencing Differences between Courts. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice 33(2), 97-108.
Roberts, A., Wolbert B., & Regehr, C. (2009).Victimology: Theories and Application. Sudbury, Mass: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Scheb, J. (2002). An Introduction to the American Legal System. Cengage Learning.