What Are the Legal Options if a Teenager Sexually Abuses Another Minor?
Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts
Every parent’s worst nightmare is learning that their child has been sexually abused. If a teenager abused your child, it’s important to learn your legal options.
After learning that a teenager sexually abused your child, report the abuse to the necessary parties to better protect your child. This may mean informing the police or your child’s school. Filing a lawsuit against the teenager responsible for your child’s abuse may be possible but is likely to be complicated. Each state may have its own rules for suing a minor, making the process more or less difficult. That said, you may be able to hold other parties accountable for your child’s abuse if their actions enabled a teenage abuser. An experienced attorney can help you understand your legal options and sue the necessary parties within the appropriate timeframe.
Our attorneys are dedicated to helping survivors of sexual abuse get the justice they deserve. For a free case evaluation with the sexual abuse victim attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call today at (814) 826-3586.
Reporting Sexual Abuse Against a Minor by a Teenager
While it may appear that sexual abusers are exclusively adults, that’s not the case. If you recently learned that a teenager sexually abused your child, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your family.
After learning that a teenager has sexually abused a child, parents often want to act fast. Consulting with a sexual abuse victim attorney right away can help you learn your legal options and understand the crucial next steps.
Since legal action against a minor can be complicated, focus initially on reporting sexual abuse to the necessary parties. If your child informed you that the abuse occurred at school, tell the administration. Your attorney can also help you report sexual abuse to the police, which can lead to a criminal investigation.
After your child comes forward with their experience of sexual abuse, you may be understandably protective and unsure how to proceed. An experienced sexual abuse victim attorney can help your family inform the necessary parties of a teenager’s actions so that you can protect your child and others moving forward.
Can You File a Lawsuit Against a Teenager for Sexual Abuse?
When both an abuser and a victim are minors, it can be difficult to identify sexual abuse and proceed with legal action. If a teenager sexually abused you or your child as a minor, you should learn your legal options.
If a teenager sexually abused your child, and both your child and their abuser are still minors, you may wonder if you can sue. Generally, the answer is yes. While suing a minor for negligence can be complicated, suing a teenager for assault may be more straightforward.
Generally, you can only sue a minor directly for sexual abuse if they are emancipated from their parents. This can be frustrating for parents, who may believe that a teenager capable of sexual abuse should be able to be sued.
If you cannot sue a minor directly for sexual abuse, you may be able to hold their parents accountable. Similar to how parents generally must bring a civil suit on behalf of their minor children, non-emancipated teenage defendants can only be sued through their parents.
This can be complicated, so consulting an experienced lawyer is wise. While suing a teenager for sexual abuse may be possible, it is also likely to be challenging. Depending on where you live, suing a teenager for sexual abuse may be more or less likely to be successful.
Can Other Parties Be Liable if a Teenager Sexually Abused Your Child?
Depending on the circumstances of your child’s sexual abuse, it is possible that other parties, in addition to the individual teenage abuser, share responsibility. In that case, you may be able to hold those parties accountable in a lawsuit, which can be easier than suing a minor.
If your child was sexually abused at school or summer camp, you might be able to hold the institution itself accountable. That said, each state has its own laws regarding the responsibilities schools and other institutions have to protect children, so it’s important to consult with your sexual abuse victim attorney to learn more.
Suppose a school’s negligence allowed a teenager to sexually abuse your child. Or suppose that a teacher or staff member learned of the abuse and did nothing to prevent it. In that case, you may be able to file civil litigation against those parties.
How Long Do You Have to Pursue Legal Action Against a Teenager for Sexual Abuse?
If a teenager sexually abused your child, and you plan to take legal action against the individual or the institution that enabled the abuse, you should know there is a time limit. That said, the statute of limitations for such civil suits is generally long.
Although each state can set its own filing deadlines for sexual abuse lawsuits, the statute of limitations for child victims is often quite long. That said, some states only allow child victims to sue for a few years after reaching majority age, which is something to keep in mind.
It is also important to note that if you plan to sue a government agency for its part in sexual abuse, like a public school, you may be beholden to different filing deadlines.
Some states give victims an unlimited time to sue if an individual is convicted of a crime relating to sexual abuse. That said, adjudicated delinquents aren’t technically convicted of crimes, so that exception may not apply to your lawsuit. Navigating teenage sexual abuse cases can be complicated, especially since rules may vary from state to state. To avoid confusion, parents and their children can turn to an experienced sexual abuse victim attorney for help.
Survivors of Sexual Abuse Can Call Our Caring Attorneys Today
If your child was sexually abused by a teenager, our lawyers can help. For a free case evaluation with the sexual abuse victim attorneys at The Law Office of Andrew Shubin, call today at (814) 826-3586.