Beyond Criminal Charges in Sexual Assault Cases: Victims’ Rights in Civil Lawsuits

By now, you have probably heard about the sex crimes charges against wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein from multiple media outlets. The Anchorage Daily News article reported on his July 8, 2019 arrest, which occurred as Epstein was returning to New York from Paris. Though the details are still emerging in the criminal case, the two-count federal indictment on sex trafficking includes allegations regarding abuse of underage girls as young as 14 years old.

If convicted, Epstein faces up to 45 years in prison for his crimes. Still, whatever sentence he receives is no consolation for the dozens of victims who suffer tremendous losses because of his crimes. Fortunately, you do have rights as the victim of similar offenses. An Alaska sexual assault injury attorney can explain in more detail, but an overview may be helpful.

How Sex Assault Charges Give Rise to Civil Lawsuits

Any type of assault is a crime for which federal, state, and local officials can seek justice as the plaintiff. These acts also cause a type of civil harm known as a “tort” in common law. In such a case, the victim is the plaintiff seeking monetary damages for physical, emotional, and financial losses. Fortunately, the standard of proof is lower in a civil case, so you must prove your allegations by a preponderance of the evidence. Only criminal cases work according to the guilt beyond a reasonable doubt standard.

Your Rights as the Victim of Sexual Assault

While most personal injury claims are based upon negligence, sexual assault is an intentional act. If you can prove that the offender’s misconduct was a direct cause of your injuries, you can recover compensation for:

  • Medical bills to treat your physical injuries;
  • Costs you incur for psychological or psychiatric treatment to recover from sexual assault;
  • Lost wages, if your physical and/or emotional injuries prevented you from working;
  • Emotional and mental distress, in the past, present, and future;
  • Losses based upon how the sexual assault affects your personal relationships with a spouse, children, and other loved ones; and,
  • Other monetary damages depending on your case.

Potential Parties You Can Pursue for Monetary Damages

In the Epstein case, victims who choose to pursue a civil action will likely find that he has deep pockets to cover their losses. Other individuals who commit sexual crimes may not possess such wealth, but there may be other options for victims. If misconduct by other parties can be linked to this tort, a victim may pursue them as well. In some cases, it is possible to seek damages from a school, day care, nursing home, or other facility if administrative officials failed to conduct background checks on the offender.

Contact an Alaska Sexual Assault Injury Lawyer About Your Case

If you were the victim of sexual assault and want to know more about your legal options in a civil case, please contact Power & Power Law in Anchorage, Alaska. We can schedule a free consultation to review your circumstances and determine the best, most effective strategy for getting the compensation you deserve.