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Chicago Sexual Abuse Attorney

Sexual abuse is an extremely traumatic and highly personal crime that often has long-lasting consequences for a victim. Being sexually abused or assaulted can result in significant emotional and psychological damage. Survivors of sexual abuse have the right to have their voices heard and demand justice by filing civil claims against their perpetrators.

If you or someone you love has been sexually abused, contact the Chicago sexual abuse attorneys at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC. We are highly experienced sexual abuse and assault lawyers who are ready to help you bring a perpetrator to justice.

Why Choose Us?

  • We understand how difficult it can be for survivors of sexual abuse to come forward. We are dedicated to making the process of filing a claim as easy as possible for our clients and minimize the impact on their lives.
  • We offer free initial consultations and operate on a contingency fee basis. You will only pay your lawyer if we win your sexual abuse case and secure financial compensation on your behalf.
  • Our trial attorneys have decades of legal experience in sexual assault and abuse law. We are Chicago’s fastest-growing personal injury law firm.
  • We work tirelessly to achieve the case results our clients deserve. We have collected over $500 million for victims in successful verdicts and settlements.

What Is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse refers to engaging in sexual activity with someone without that person’s consent. The definition of criminal sexual abuse under Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 11-1.50 is committing an act of sexual conduct by use of force or threat of force or while knowing that a victim is unable to understand the nature of the sexual act or give knowing consent.

When the victim is under the age of 18, the crime is known as “childhood sexual abuse” and comes with enhanced penalties. If an individual is under the age of 17, he or she legally cannot consent to sexual activity under Illinois state law. Even if the minor complied with the act, it is a sex crime due to being below the age of consent.

Examples of sexual abuse include unwanted touching of a victim’s private parts (including a female’s breasts), fondling, groping, kissing, forced oral copulation, penetration and rape. Sexual abuse typically describes a pattern of ongoing or repetitive acts of sexual violence or misconduct rather than a single sexual assault incident.

What Is a Civil Sexual Abuse Claim?

A civil sexual abuse claim aims to hold a perpetrator and/or a third party liable, or legally and financially responsible, for the victim’s related losses. While a criminal case seeks to convict the defendant of a sex crime and issue a sentence – such as fines and jail time – a civil case is meant to reimburse a victim for the losses he or she suffered.

In a criminal case against an individual for committing sexual abuse in Chicago, city prosecutors are responsible for bringing charges against the defendant and meeting the burden of proof. In a civil lawsuit, however, the burden rests on the plaintiff (the victim or filing party). It is up to you or your attorney to establish using evidence that the accused party (defendant) caused your injuries or losses.

The burden of proof in a civil case is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning the plaintiff must prove the claim as more likely to be true than not true. Meeting this burden of proof requires clear and convincing evidence, such as police reports, medical records, letters from doctors and therapists, photographs, videos, eyewitness statements, and expert testimony.

How Can a Chicago Sexual Abuse Attorney Help You?

Hiring a Chicago sexual abuse attorney can give you as much peace of mind as possible during the legal process. You will have a team of knowledgeable and experienced lawyers fighting to hold one or more parties accountable for the wrongdoing committed against you.

Your lawyer can manage your case with personalized legal services, such as:

  • Case investigation
  • Evidence collection
  • Hiring highly qualified experts
  • Support and advocacy
  • Insurance claim negotiation
  • Civil trial litigation

Your lawyer will explore all legal remedies and sources of financial compensation available to you, then choose the best route forward based on your circumstances. Your lawyer will have experience with similar cases to put toward navigating yours.

How Much Does Hiring a Sex Abuse Lawyer Cost?

At Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means our legal services cost nothing unless we win the case on behalf of a client. You will pay your lawyer $0 upfront to take your case. If we do secure financial compensation for your sexual abuse claim in Chicago, we will charge our fee as a percentage of the settlement or judgment award won rather than billing you directly.

Sexual Abuse Statistics

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. Every nine minutes, that victim is a child. Statistics show that in a single year, 433,648 Americans ages 12 and older and more than 60,000 younger children were sexually abused, sexually assaulted or raped. Men, boys, women and girls are all at risk of sexual abuse in Chicago, but young females are statistically at the highest risk.

Types of Sexual Abuse Cases We Handle in Chicago

The Chicago law firm of Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC brings together decades of experience handling personal injury and negligence cases, including sexual assault and abuse lawsuits. Our attorneys can provide unyielding legal advocacy to you and your family during this difficult time.

We accept the following types of sexual abuse cases in Chicago, among others:

Our attorneys are prepared to handle any type of sexual abuse, assault, violence or misconduct case on your behalf. If you don’t see your type of case on this list, contact us to arrange a free, in-depth case review. We will listen to your story and explain how we can help you pursue justice.

Where Does Sexual Abuse and Assault Happen in Chicago?

RAINN reports that the majority of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home (55 percent). Other common locations are in an open public space (15 percent), at or near a relative’s home (12 percent), in an enclosed public space (10 percent), and on school property (8 percent). In most cases, the perpetrator is someone the victim knows.

The number of sexual assaults has increased in almost every part of the city, according to data released by the Chicago Police Department in 2022. From 2020 to 2021, 19 of the city’s 22 police districts reported an increase in sexual assault cases. In some cities, the numbers doubled, with the highest increase in Jefferson Park (121 percent).

What Are the Signs of Sexual Abuse?

Sadly, while thousands of victims are sexually assaulted each year in the United States, only about 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators face consequences for their actions. This is largely due to the underreporting of these crimes. Sexual abuse victims are often unwilling or unable to report their perpetrators for reasons such as fear, shame, concern over not being believed, or the inability to do so due to physical or cognitive deficiencies.

It is often up to a victim’s loved ones to notice the potential signs of sexual abuse and say something. While every case and victim is unique, common signs of sexual abuse include:

  • Unexplained physical injuries
  • Injuries to the genitalia or bruising of the upper thighs
  • Bloody sheets or undergarments
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Behavioral changes
  • Overly sexualized behaviors with others
  • Sex-based play with toys or pets
  • Sudden outbursts, anger, or aggression
  • Withdrawal or isolation
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Chronic anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Avoidance of specific people or places
  • Changes in academic performance
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining relationships

The signs of sex abuse can vary based on the age of the victim. A child victim, for example, may show indicators such as bedwetting and regression, while an adult survivor of childhood sexual violence may experience chronic depression or anxiety. If you believe someone you know is suffering from sexual abuse, talk to them about it and help them get support.

Who Can Be Held Responsible for Sexual Abuse?

You may know that the perpetrator or individual who committed the sex crime can be held liable for the harm it caused. However, you may not realize that sexual abuse and assault survivors in Chicago can often hold institutions liable, as well. Institutions and organizations have a legal responsibility to preserve the safety of the people within their care. An employer, for example, has a legal duty to protect its employees from acts of sexual misconduct or harassment by coworkers.

Examples of entities that victims may be able to name in sexual abuse claims are:

  • A business or company
  • An employer
  • A private or charter school
  • The Chicago Public School District
  • A sports organization
  • A healthcare facility
  • A religious institution
  • A nursing home
  • The government

Any organization that knew or reasonably should have known about the sexual abuse but failed to take appropriate action may bear legal responsibility. These parties could be held liable in addition to the individual perpetrator or offender. Seeking compensation from an institution rather than only an individual could lead to a better financial outcome for the survivor due to greater insurance coverage.

Financial Compensation Available to Chicago Sexual Abuse Survivors

At our law firm, we believe all sexual abuse survivors deserve to have their stories told. They deserve financial compensation for the money they have spent and the losses they have sustained due to this incredibly traumatic crime. Our lawyers work vigilantly to secure maximum compensation for clients, both through insurance settlements and court awards.

The types of compensation available can include:

  • Past, current, and future estimated medical expenses
  • Mental health counseling and therapies
  • Prescription medications
  • Lost wages and future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress and mental anguish
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death damages (e.g., in a case of suicide)

While no amount of money could ever make up for a crime as terrible as sexual abuse, fair compensation obtained through a civil claim in Chicago could make it easier to move forward. You can receive the help, support, and care that you need with less financial stress in addition to holding one or more parties accountable.

What Is the Civil Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse in Illinois?

A statute of limitations, or deadline for filing, means you must take legal action within a certain period of time to reserve your right to recover compensation. Regardless of how much time has passed from a sexual abuse crime in Illinois, there is no statute of limitations (legal time limit) for pressing criminal charges against the offender. As of January 1, 2014, Illinois also eliminated the statute of limitations on civil child sexual abuse cases.

Illinois previously had a statute of limitations on an action for damages for personal injury based on sexual abuse that was within 20 years of the date of the abuse or the date that the victim discovers (or should have discovered through the use of reasonable diligence) that the act of abuse occurred and that an injury was caused by the abuse. However, the limitation periods do not begin to run until the victim reaches the age of 18.

Under Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 13.202-2, state law now holds that an action based on childhood sexual abuse can be commenced at any time if the action would not have been time-barred under the statute of limitations prior to January 1, 2014. Since deadlines can change from case to case, contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights.

Contact Our Chicago Sexual Abuse Attorney for a Free & Confidential Case Review

If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual abuse, the compassionate and experienced lawyers at Taxman, Pollock, Murray & Bekkerman, LLC are here to help you navigate the process of pursuing justice. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases and always represent clients with the utmost care and respect. We are dedicated to providing sexual abuse and assault survivors with the support and representation they need.

Learn more about your legal rights during a free, confidential consultation with one of our Chicago sexual abuse attorneys. Call (312) 321-8414 or contact us online to schedule a free case review. Our Chicago law office is located at 225 W. Wacker Dr. Ste. 1650, Chicago, IL 60606.