Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Sports and athletics foster a nurturing environment for the personal growth and self-confidence of the young athletes who participate. Through the coaching and mentoring of dedicated adults, youth athletes learn about themselves, cooperation, competitiveness, and a host of other valuable life lessons. Unfortunately, these same nurturing environments also open opportunities for sexually abusive behavior. When coaches violate the trust placed in them, they should be held accountable. Victims of sexual abuse in Montana have the right to pursue criminal charges and a civil claim.
If you or your child was sexually abused, contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin. Our compassionate attorney for sexual abuse victims by a coach in Montana understands that these types of cases are sensitive and require a combination of professional delicacy and aggressiveness. Call our firm at (814) 826-3586 to discuss your case confidentially and without charge.
Signs of Sexual Abuse by Coaches in Montana
Many victims of sexual abuse by a coach will remain silent, often driven by fear, guilt, or not truly understanding what occurred. It is also important to note that not all sexual abuse committed by a coach consists of touching or physical contact. Abuse comes in many forms, including offensive sexual jokes, sharing explicit images or videos, threats, intimidation, and other conduct that is sexual in nature. One thing parents and caregivers can do is be aware of the warning signs that a young athlete is a victim of abuse.
A predator will often target and silence their victims through sexual grooming. A coach will seek out a young athlete that could appear more vulnerable than others, using a friendship or special relationship to get close to their victim. By making a victim feel special or isolating them from other peers, a predator will make it much harder for a victim of abuse to report or acknowledge what they are experiencing. In many cases, a sexual predator will use threats, guilt, shame, or other intimidation tactics to keep a victim silent.
Many victims of sexual abuse by a coach may not realize that their mentor’s conduct is inappropriate or criminal. Others are manipulated to accept that the behavior is normal. Parents and caregivers need to be aware of signals that could indicate that a child is being abused. Most young athletes will not volunteer the fact that they are victims.
Parents should be wary of any unsupervised practices or events, especially if the number of participants is small or if the practice is private. If a coach appears to be singling out a child or showing special attention, such as giving them expensive gifts, it could be an indication of improper behavior. Other conduct, such as late night texts, should also be monitored.
The child could also be exhibiting symptoms of abuse, including insomnia, depression, anxiety, or anger. While many of these symptoms are things children, especially teens, experience, if there are multiple ones and your child is showing a sudden disinterest in sports, you should speak with them. Depending on the circumstances, you should report any suspicions of sexual misconduct to the sports organization or school administration. Furthermore, you will want to discuss the matter with an experienced Montana sexual abuse victim attorney and your local police.
Criminal Charges or a Civil Lawsuit Against a Sexually Abusive Coach in Montana
Sexual predators should be criminally charged. However, a criminal case is not the only legal avenue available for victims of abuse. Survivors are entitled to pursue a civil lawsuit to hold a sexual abuser financially responsible for the harm they caused. It is important to remember that one does not preclude the other. Also, a predator could be cleared of all criminal charges and still be held civilly liable. Furthermore, a civil claim could often be filed against other parties in addition to the predator, including the school or organization that allowed the abuse to occur.
In many cases, a civil claim helps bring a sense of closure to a survivor of abuse. While the scars might never go away, the process could help heal the physical, emotional, and psychological wounds that haunt abuse survivors.
When a victim of abuse files a lawsuit with the help of an experienced Montana sexual abuse injury attorney, they are seeking monetary damages for the emotional distress and physical trauma they experienced. These damages also include any medical or ongoing therapy bills the survivor has incurred.
In some cases, especially if a school or organization actively covered-up allegations of abuse, a court could award punitive damages. Punitive damages are an additional award meant to punish a defendant whose conduct was especially egregious, malicious, or intentional.
Montana’s Statute of Limitations for Civil Sexual Abuse Lawsuits Against Coaches
If you are going to file a civil lawsuit, you do not have an infinite amount of time. Montana, just like every other state, has a statute of limitations that sets the deadlines for filing a claim based on the type of case. If you were an adult when a coach abused you, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a suit.
However, the time frame is different if the victim was a minor when they were abused by a coach. Currently, Montana allows an individual who is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse until their twenty-seventh birthday to file a civil claim. In addition, there is a provision that allows victims to file a claim within three years of the date they discovered or should have reasonably discovered the abuse if it occurred when they were a child.
Our Attorney for Sexual Abuse Victims by a Coach in Montana Offers Compassionate Legal Assistance
Sexual abuse results in emotional and physical scars that impact a lifetime. When a coach who is trusted to help a young athlete grow and reach their full potential abuses those in their charge, the negative impacts are all the more devastating. Survivors often struggle with self-esteem, relationships, and are haunted by shame and guilt. The staff and attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin are committed to fighting for justice for survivors of sexual abuse. Call our attorney for sexual abuse victims by a coach in Montana at (814) 826-3586 to schedule a confidential appointment.