New Law Provides Relief For Victims of Prison Sexual Abuse
California Assembly Bill 1455 Extends Statute of Limitations for Victims of Sexual Abuse
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – The passage of California Assembly Bill 1455 has extended the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse by law enforcement.
This has led to a surge of new lawsuits. California Assembly Bill 1455 was authored by Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, of Oakland. It was then signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.
The bill took effect on January 1, 2022. The major provision of AB 1455 is that it extends the amount of time that victims of sexual abuse by law enforcement have to pursue claims.
Victims can file a civil claim up to 10 years after a law enforcement agent was convicted of sexual assault or a crime where sexual assault was initially alleged.
Victims of sexual abuse by law enforcement can also file civil claims up to 10 years after their assailant left the law enforcement agency that they were working for when the abuse took place.
In recent years, there have been a number of lawsuits by prisoners from the California Institution for Women in Chino, the California Central Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, and the Folsom Women’s Facility. There are a lot of similarities between the assaults that have been reported.
Correctional officers used their authority to take advantage of vulnerable women. In many situations, they would also threaten the victims into silence.
If you or someone that you love has been the victim of sexual abuse by law enforcement, you may have legal recourse. Our team of sexual abuse attorneys at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP are here to help. We can examine all of the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-317-8607.
Inmate Sexual Abuse Statistics
Sexual abuse in prisons is far more common than many people realize. A 2019 investigation by multiple news agencies including the Southern California News Group has revealed that more than 70 California peace officers have been convicted of sexual assault in the past decade. Roughly 50 of those convictions involved forcible sexual offenses. Sadly, the vast majority of sexual assaults are never reported. Sexual abuse by law enforcement can come in many different forms.
- Correctional officers may grope inmates.
- Correctional officers may coerce inmates into performing sexual acts.
- Correctional officers may commit forcible sexual offenses including rape.
- Correctional officers may perform unnecessary strip searches on inmates.
People who enter the prison system tend to already have a lot of trauma. This is especially true for women. According to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, more than 90% of incarcerated women were the victims of physical or sexual abuse before they were incarcerated. To make matters worse, these women are often re-victimized in prison by other inmates and correctional officers. Sexual abuse isn’t just a crime. It can also form the basis of civil liability against a prison.
Liability For Sexual Abuse Involving Law Enforcement
Depending on the facts of any case, a prison could face civil liability if one of their correctional officers sexually abuses an inmate. See, for example, Morris v. Eversley, 282 F. Supp. 2d 196 (S.D.N.Y. 2003). A prison could be liable for sexual abuse by a correctional officer if prison officials knew or should have known about past violations of the assailant and failed to act. The prison could have also been grossly negligent in their supervision of correctional officers. Liability may also follow if prison officials were deliberately indifferent to a known risk of harm. There are many steps that jails can take to prevent sexual abuse.
- Correctional officers should receive adequate training.
- There should be a healthy mix of male and female correctional officers in women’s prisons.
- Correctional officers should be properly supervised for the protection of inmates.
- Reports of sexual abuse should be properly reported and thoroughly investigated.
Sexual abuse is more likely to occur when jails are indifferent to the well-being of the inmates that they care for. Sadly, jails and prisons will often do everything that they can to deny liability for any instance of sexual abuse. This is why it is so important that all evidence is properly preserved after any instance of sexual abuse. Evidence is what will ultimately be used to determine liability. Any person that is the victim of sexual abuse by a correctional officer or police officer may be able to pursue damages through a civil claim.
The Benefits of Hiring A Sexual Abuse Attorney
Enduring sexual abuse is one of the most difficult things that people can go through. Victims of sexual abuse often suffer from long-term psychological ailments including post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. They are also more susceptible to numerous physical ailments. It can be hard to know where to begin after any instance of sexual abuse. But it is important that abuse victims understand that they do have rights. There are a number of reasons that victims should consider hiring a sexual abuse attorney.
- Legal Expertise: An attorney can use their understanding of the law to navigate the legal system in order to ensure your rights are being protected.
- Building Your Case: An attorney can gather relevant evidence and help build your case. They can also conduct a thorough investigation to find all potentially liable parties.
- No Up-Front Costs: It does not cost anything up front to hire a sexual abuse attorney. They only get paid from the opposing party if they are able to successfully resolve your case.
- Negotiation and Settlement: An attorney can advocate on your behalf to help you get the highest settlement possible. If need be, they can also take your case to trial.
There is a great peace of mind that comes with having a skilled advocate fighting on your behalf. It helps take a lot of the stress away from what is already a very difficult situation. It is important to remember that jails and prisons do not have your best interests in mind if you’ve been harmed by them. They are chiefly concerned with protecting their own interests. Hiring an attorney can help level the playing field against these large institutions with teams of attorneys working on their behalf.
Getting Legal Help After Sexual Abuse By Prison Officials or Police Officers
We at the Carrillo Law Firm, LLP extend our deepest sympathies to all of the people who have been sexually abused by law enforcement across California. It is our sincere hope that additional scrutiny is placed on the California Institution for Women in Chino, the California Central Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, and the Folsom Women’s Facility. There needs to be accountability for both the assailants and their employers. There is no excuse for the rampant sexual abuse that has taken place across these institutions.
Have you or someone that you care about been sexually abused by law enforcement in California? There are a number of laws design to protect your rights. You are able to pursue some measure of justice through a civil claim. Our team of highly experienced sexual abuse attorneys are here to help in any way that we can. We care deeply that victims of sexual abuse get the financial compensation that they are entitled to and that their assailants are held to account. In fact, we have achieved numerous record breaking settlements for victims of sexual abuse including a $139.5 settlement in the Miramonte Case. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at 626-317-8607.
It does not cost anything up-front to hire an attorney and they only get paid from the opposing party after your case settles.
Any person that is sexually abused by a correctional officer may be able to pursue a civil claim.
The law took effect on January 1, 2022.
In California, you can file a claim up to 10 years after a law enforcement agent was convicted of sexual abuse or a crime where sexual abuse was initially alleged. You may also file a claim up to 10 years after a law enforcement agent left the institution they were working at when the abuse took place.
Every case is different. However, it is possible for some cases to settle in under a year. Though many cases take several years to settle. It is best to speak with an attorney about the unique facts of your case.