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Sexual Child Abuse Lawyers

Experienced Lawyers Representing Victims of Sexual Child Abuse Nationwide

There are an estimated 39 million sexual child abuse survivors in the United States today, the vast majority of whom have never had the chance to bring their abusers to justice.

At Thomas J. Henry Law, we believe every victim deserves their day in court and every survivor an opportunity at reparation. Not only will we seek to hold your abuser accountable for their actions, but we will also pursue litigation against the people and organizations that allowed your abuse to occur.

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According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), “child sexual abuse is not only a physical violation; it is a violation of trust and/or authority.” This is because child molesters typically have some prior relationship with their victims, most often residing in a place of authority over the child. They are teachers, coaches, priests, pastors, and scoutmasters. From their position of influence and trust, sexual predators carry out and cover up their crimes through manipulation, intimidation, and force.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse, contact Thomas J. Henry Law for a free and confidential case review. Our attorneys are available 24/7, nights and weekends.

Suing Child Molesters for Damages in Civil Court

Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, period. When a perpetrator engages with a child this way, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim.

As is the case with many crimes, those responsible for child sex abuse can be tried in both criminal and civil court. In criminal court, they may be sentenced to jail time, prison time, or probation. In civil court, they can be sued for damages caused by their actions. Damages for sexual abuse cases may include:

  • Personal injury
  • Lost income and other financial losses
  • Past and future trauma and emotional distress
  • Past and future medical, counseling, and psychiatric bills
  • False imprisonment
  • Assault and battery
  • Exploitation
  • Loss of consortium
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Flashbacks
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Dissociation
  • Substance abuse
  • Self-harm
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders
  • Attempted suicide
  • Self-mutilation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Punitive damages

Sexual Abuse by Church Members and Clergy

The sheer numbers behind clergy sexual abuse are alarming. So far, more than 18,000 abuse victims have come forward filing more than 3,000 civil lawsuits; however, this likely only represents a fraction of the real number of victims. Still, the world witnesses the impact of those who have come forward.

The Catholic Church, for example, has been rocked by allegations and convictions of sexual abuse committed by clergy members and volunteers and attempted cover-ups by church members.

As recently as December 2018, Vatican Treasurer Cardinal George Pell, the third highest-ranking official in the Catholic Church, was convicted in an Australian court on what is called “historical” sexual abuse charges.

In November 2018, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Holy See were named as defendants in a class-action lawsuit accusing the Catholic Church of conspiracy and operating a continuing criminal enterprise under federal racketeering statutes. This lawsuit claims both the conference and the Holy See protected clergy instead of children, and created a culture in which rape and sexual abuse are “endemic, systemic, rampant, and pervasive.”

In August, a Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed that 300 priests in six Catholic dioceses in the state had been credibly accused of molesting more than 1,000 children. In October, Catholic dioceses announced they would also release names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors with the Archdiocese of San Antonio, removing Father Edward Pavlicek based on a report of child sexual abuse it had received in August.

Contact an Experienced Sexual Abuse Attorney

Thomas J. Henry Law is one of the largest plaintiffs’ firms in the country. The firm currently houses more than 200 attorneys and 350 supporting staff in eight office locations across Texas in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Austin.

We are leaders in the field of personal injury and have helped countless child abuse and child injury, victims. The firm has taken on numerous cases dealing with child abuse and molestation against individuals, daycares, businesses, and organizations, including several against the Catholic Church.

In 2016, Thomas J. Henry Law pursued a high profile case against the Archdiocese of San Antonio and now-deceased San Antonio clergy member Father Virgilio Elizondo. The lawsuit alleged Elizondo had sexually abused a young boy for years. Elizondo took his own life in March 2016 before he could be deposed.

Over the years, the firm’s founder, Thomas J. Henry, has donated to hundreds of children’s charities throughout the United States. In 2015, the Henry family partnered with ChildSafe, a San Antonio area organization that provides services to children and teenagers who have been traumatized by abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. He provided the largest donation the organization has ever received.


Your Questions Answered

We have straight answers to difficult questions to help you make critical decisions, navigate legal process and help you get justice.

Following an accident, there are always more questions than answers. At Thomas J. Henry, we’re here to answer any questions you have about your injury case.

According to RAINN, as many as 93 percent of sexual abuse victims under the age of 18 know the abuser. Sexual predators look like anyone else, and sadly, they are often the people you trust most. Some of the occupations most often associated with child abuse include:

  • Priests
  • Pastors
  • Ministers
  • Rabbis
  • Imams
  • Clergy
  • Church officials
  • Youth group leaders
  • Deacons
  • School teachers
  • Music teachers
  • Dance instructors
  • Theater instructors
  • Boy Scout leaders and volunteers
  • Girl Scout leaders and volunteers
  • Coaches
  • Childcare providers
  • Babysitters

Sexual abuse can happen anywhere. Child molesters are opportunists and will enact their abuse anywhere they have access to or are alone with their victim. This includes:

  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Classrooms
  • Restrooms
  • Synagogues
  • Mosques
  • The victim’s home
  • The abuser’s home
  • On field trips
  • On religious retreats
  • On Camping trips
  • In a vehicle during a ride home

Several persons and parties may be responsible for child molestation — whether they committed the abuse themselves or they knew or should have known and did nothing to stop it. Here is a list of potential defendants in a child sex abuse civil lawsuit:

  • The abuser
  • Employers
  • Apartment communities
  • Property owners
  • Daycare providers
  • Landlords
  • Hotels/motels
  • Co-workers
  • Schools
  • Coaches
  • Babysitters
  • Parents/Stepparents
  • Teachers
  • Therapists
  • Youth clubs
  • Churches
  • Doctors

Child sexual abuse signs are often hard to spot. These signs include not only physical but also behavioral and emotional signs. Here are 10 warning signs of potential sexual child abuse:

  • Depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Bleeding, bruising, or swelling in the genital area
  • Frequent urinary or yeast infections
  • Pain, itching, or burning in genital area
  • Changes in hygiene (bathing too little, or too often)
  • Changes in sleep habits, including nightmares or bedwetting
  • Self-harming or expression of suicidal thoughts
  • Trouble in school, including absences or drops in grades
  • Shies away or feels threatened by physical contact
  • Overly protective of siblings (assumes a caretaker role)

This is by no means an exhaustive list of sexual abuse signs.

Child sexual abuse is a crime that often goes undetected. You have the power to make an enormous, positive difference in a child’s life. Here are steps to take if you think a child is a victim of sexual abuse:

  • Recognize the signs, both physical and behavioral 
  • Talk to the child
    • Choose a safe space away from the person you may suspect of causing the abuse
    • Speak to the child in a casual, non-threatening tone to keep the child at ease
    • Talk to the child directly, using words that the child will understand
    • Avoid judgmental statements and questions and avoid blaming the child
    • Be reassuring to the child and let them know that you are concerned for them
  • Report it to authorities
    • Before reporting, tell the child you are going to talk to someone else who can help
    • Make sure the child is in a safe place, and if you are concerned about the child’s safety, be sure to let the authorities know

If you are not concerned that the parents are the ones causing harm, consult with them prior to reporting to authorities.

Our Practice Areas

Representing injured victims from across the United States.

No matter the injury or the accident, if you or a loved one were harmed due to the negligence of an individual or company, Thomas J. Henry is here to assist you.

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info@tjhlaw.com

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