Childhood Sexual Abuse & Assault Lawyers

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While no one can change what has happened, by having the extraordinary courage it takes to come forward about sexual abuse and assault that happened to you as a child, you can take control of your future, hold these wrongdoers accountable, and help prevent them from harming others in the future.

May 13, 2020

Case Update:  New York extends deadline to file

New York extended its deadline to file civil sexual abuse claims under the state’s Child Victims Act to Jan. 14, 2021 due to COVID-19.

Enacted in August of 2019, New York’s Child Victims Act opened a one-year, one-time-only limited “lookback window” in which victims of abuse may file civil claims against their alleged abusers and institutions that enabled them, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. The one-year window on filing claims was previously scheduled to close on Aug. 13, 2020, but has been extended an additional five months to account for delays and difficulties filing amid the ongoing pandemic. Read more.

When reporting these acts, whether for yourself or to report your knowledge of sexual abuse, reports to Motley Rice of sexual abuse and assault are kept confidential. Survivors may choose whether to pursue justice confidentially, or share their story – that choice is completely your decision. Motley Rice lawyers can help ensure confidentiality when navigating the civil justice system.

By coming forward, you have the power to hold accountable the people who have taken advantage of you.

Contact a Sexual Abuse Lawyer

We know and understand that sexual abuse is a sensitive issue and coming forward is difficult in many ways. Know that if you choose to come forward and wish to speak with one of our lawyers, your story will remain confidential and we will do everything in our power to protect your identity. If you have questions about a potential case or the laws in your state regarding childhood sexual abuse, you may complete this form or call 1.800.768.4026 to discuss your potential claim.

Childhood Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

It can take many years, if not decades, for people who were abused as a child to process what was done to them and understand that there are actions they can take within the justice system. Many states have taken action to accommodate this sensitive issue and encourage victims to come forward by passing legislation that would allow for much needed flexibility and reduce concerns regarding statutes of limitations in civil childhood sexual abuse cases.

States that have already passed “window” laws or otherwise extended the time within which a victim can file include:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • District of Columbia
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Vermont

  Groups and institutions that have been investigated for alleged sex abuse include:

  • Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Boys and girls clubs
  • Fraternities (including Freemasons and Opus Dei)
  • Municipal school districts
  • Private schools
  • Religious groups
  • Sports groups
  • Summer camps

Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse

Sexual predators are to blame for their horrific actions, without question. But in certain circumstances, mandatory reporters may also play a role if they choose to remain silent or take no action to report childhood sexual abuse when obligated to do so. Schools, churches, athletic clubs, summer camps and other organizations and individuals who are trusted with the care of children must, by law, report suspected abuse to their state’s Department of Social Service (DSS) or law enforcement. The consequences of keeping quiet are severe, including fines or even imprisonment. Litigation is also a potential means of recourse for victims who seek to hold mandatory reporters accountable for neglecting their duty to protect vulnerable children.

Read more in David Hoyle’s blog post: Silence is not golden

Motley Rice’s Experience Advocating for Sexual Abuse Victims

We currently represent several victims in litigation filed under New York’s Child Victims Act that allege sexual abuse by clergy members that was suppressed by the Catholic Church. We are also pursuing similar claims and investigating cases in New York, New Jersey, and California against the Boy Scouts of America, among other cases.

Motley Rice lawyers have recently also represented two other Jane Does in sexual assault cases that resolved through confidential settlements. One case involved alleged abuse at Choate Rosemary Hall.

Our attorneys represented two John Does who were abused as children, including by former Charleston, S.C., teacher Louis Neal “Skip” ReVille.

In June 2012, ReVille, in addition to being a teacher was a foster parent, coach and church youth group leader, pled guilty to the sexual assault of 23 boys, although the number is believed to be much higher.

We believe the reckless oversight and irresponsible silence in failing to report sexual abuse is one of the worst forms of gross negligence. By not reporting ReVille’s actions, certain organizations allowed this man to continue abusing children for nearly a decade.

As part of our efforts to help our clients find justice through civil litigation, Motley Rice attorneys committed themselves to finding out if any school, church, summer camp or other facility that employed ReVille knew about his actions and failed to notify law enforcement.

Through these efforts, we reached a confidential settlement agreement between two of ReVille’s victims and their school—Pinewood Preparatory, where ReVille was employed for a number of years. As part of the settlement, the school adopted a new Child Protection Policy that implements and enforces stricter procedures to protect students and make its employees and volunteers aware of the threats abuse poses to children.

Community Involvement

A passion for helping abused children, our work is not limited to the courtroom. Our attorneys have a long history of working with organizations dedicated to serving abused children. Many Motley Rice lawyers have served on the Board of Directors of the Dee Norton Child Advocacy Center and/or helped raise millions of dollars to help the organization expand its reach throughout the Lowcountry, including Samuel Cothran, Laura Behre, Lance Oliver, Ann E. Rice Ervin and firm co-founder Joe Rice. The Dee Norton Advocacy Center is the Charleston-area’s leading resource to prevent abuse, protect children and heal families and ensures that local children and families have a safe place to turn when children are threatened with abuse.

In 2017, Motley Rice co-founder Joe Rice and his family, including daughter and Motley Rice lawyer Ann E. Rice Ervin donated significant funds to the new MUSC Children’s Hospital which created a space specifically for treatment of abused children, providing privacy and the special care needed to treat these most helpless victims.

The Rice family has also provided support to the University of South Carolina School of Law Children’s Law Center. The Center offers training each year to more than 12,000 social workers, lawyers, judges, first responders, school nurses, and others who work with children.

Sexual Abuse Issues in the News

NBC (Oct. 4, 2019): Almost 1,700 priests and clergy accused of sex abuse are unsupervised

TIME (June 1, 2019): These Men Say the Boy Scouts' Sex Abuse Problem Is Worse Than Anyone Knew

The Atlantic (May 12, 2019): Pope Francis Stops Hiding From the Church’s Sexual-Abuse Epidemic

Vox (May 16, 2018): The sex abuse scandal surrounding USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, explained

NPR (June 21, 2012): Penn State Abuse Scandal: A Guide And Timeline

NPR (Nov. 15, 2011): Citadel abuse accuser says there are more victims

NPR (Nov. 15, 2011): The Citadel Faces Abuse Scandal Similar To Penn State's

Medical and Therapeutic Resources

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
Darkness to Light
Dee Norton Lowcountry Children's Center
Dorchester Children's Center
National Crime Victims Center at MUSC

Additional Information

Child Abuse Prevention
Facts for families of childhood sexual abuse victims from the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry