Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Many parents encourage their children and teens to participate in organized sports, whether it is through a school or local youth sports organization. These parents have every right to believe that the coaches and other adults running these programs have their children’s best interests in mind. Coaches are individuals young athletes look to for guidance, instruction, and support. Often, a special bond forms between a coach an athlete. Unfortunately, some coaches take advantage of their position of trust to sexually abuse those in their charge.
When a coach is guilty of sexually abusing an athlete, they could face criminal charges and be held civilly liable. This means that you could sue a coach or sports organization for the harm your child and family suffered. Our attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a coach in Pennsylvania approaches these delicate cases with compassion, sympathy, and the aggressiveness necessary to hold these predators liable. Contact The Law Office of Andrew Shubin at (814) 826-3586 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Sexually Abusive Coaches in Pennsylvania
Coaches have a considerable amount of control over the young athletes in their charge. It is not uncommon for a coach to scream at their players or make them run numerous laps. This amount of trust and lack of oversight could prove dangerous.
A sexual predator will often gravitate to positions where they have access and the trust of their prey. As noble a calling as coaching may be, it is one of those positions. Parents tell their children to listen to their coaches, to put the team first, and work hard so the coach notices them. Unfortunately, these relationships often serve as the foundation for sexual abuse.
Many sports organizations and schools allow this behavior to continue. Reports or allegations of sexual abuse are sometimes ignored or are only passively investigated. It is not uncommon for a coach that has been accused of sexual abuse to be allowed to resign, only to be hired elsewhere. When this occurs, the school or organization could also be held civilly liable along with the coach.
Signs of Sexual Abuse in Young Athletes in Pennsylvania
Sexual abuse often continues among coaches and players because the young athlete is too scared or ashamed to acknowledge the abuse, does not understand they are being abused, or otherwise feels some loyalty to their team and coach. In many situations, it is up to the parents or loved ones to be aware of the signs of sexual abuse.
Unfortunately, many of these symptoms are typical phases a person experiences while growing up. However, if several are present, you should speak with your young athlete and possibly report it to the school, organization, and police. You should also call an experienced Pennsylvania sexual abuse attorney to review your legal rights and options.
Many victims of sexual abuse by a coach will show unordinary levels of aggression and might suddenly quit their team. They could be experiencing heightened levels of anxiety or depression, especially around practice or games. As a parent, you might notice your child becoming quieter, seeking more alone time than usual.
Some of the signs are physical, such as bruising around or on the genitals. This could be coupled with a sudden and inappropriate interest in sex and sexual matters.
Some conduct by the coach could also be indicative of sexually abusive behaviors. For instance, individual practice sessions or expensive gifts could be the sign of an inappropriate relationship. Often, these types of behaviors occur before the actual abuse begins because the coach is grooming their victim.
Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse
Every lawsuit filed must comply with Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations. This law sets the deadline to file a claim. For sexual abuse by a coach in Pennsylvania, the deadline depends on the age the victim was at the time of the abuse.
In 2019, Pennsylvania amended its statute of limitations to reflect a growing national concern for childhood victims of sexual abuse. If the sexual abuse occurred when the victim was a minor, they have until their 55th birthday to file a claim. If the survivor was a young adult, between the ages of 18 and 24, when they were abused, they are permitted to file a claim until the age of 30. Anyone survivor who was 25 or older only has two years to file a civil lawsuit.
Unfortunately, the changes in Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations are not retroactive, so if a minor was abused before 2019, they only have until their 30th birthday to file a claim.
Compensation in a Sexual Abuse by a Coach in Pennsylvania Civil Claim
The settlement award you could receive in a lawsuit depends on the circumstances of your case. Some significant factors include the survivor’s age, the type of sexual abuse, and the duration of the abuse.
Some common damages that a victim of sexual abuse could expect to recover include medical expenses, physical injuries, emotional trauma, psychological therapy, anxiety, and depression.
Compensation is not limited to the financial losses and injuries at the time the lawsuit is filed. A victim of sexual abuse by a coach is entitled to seek financial compensation for future losses they are likely to experience because of the emotional trauma they endured. For example, the depression and anxiety a survivor suffers from could negatively impact their ability to hold a steady job.
In some cases, a survivor could be awarded punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages that are related to the injuries a victim suffered, punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant. These damages might be awarded against a school or sports organization that was aware of the abuse but failed to take the necessary steps to protect the injured athlete. Our Pennsylvania sexual abuse attorney will thoroughly evaluate your cases to calculate your potential damages.
Our Sympathetic Attorney for Victims of Sexual Abuse by a Coach in Pennsylvania Could Help You
Youth sports are an essential part of growing up. Unfortunately, when a coach or another adult involved is a sexual predator, what should a wonderful experience becomes a nightmare. Victims of sexual abuse carry their physical and emotional scars for a lifetime. At The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, our compassionate staff fights for survivors’ rights. Contact our compassionate attorney for victims of sexual abuse by a coach in Pennsylvania to schedule a confidential and free consultation. Call our office at (814) 826-3586.