The legal landscape of cases involving sexual assault, child abuse, and other forms of sexual misconduct against vulnerable populations is taking very significant transformations.
In the area of child abuse within trusted institutions, broadening investigations have now been implemented by the United States Attorney in Philadelphia as well as multiple states’ Attorneys General. In Pennsylvania, the debate over extending the statute of limitations to permit civil claims for monetary damages by individuals who were children at the time of their victimization continues unabated in Harrisburg, and the recent election cycle has resulted in new state legislators who could tip the balance of that debate in favor of extending the time to sue abusers, churches, schools and other institutions. Perhaps in response to this development, several archdioceses across Pennsylvania have created substantial programs to permit persons abused by clergy in the past, but for whom the statute of limitations may have expired, to obtain compensation through the use of nationally respected mediators who will recommend compensation without individual caps on payments.
Last week, the Secretary of Education of the United States Department of Education announced new proposed regulations which will dramatically change Title IX investigations and adjudications of claims of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual misconduct on college campuses and secondary schools. Among the proposed changes is a change to allow colleges and other school systems (including all public secondary/elementary schools, charter schools and private schools that receive federal funds) to raise the burden of proof which victims of sexual assault must establish in order to successfully adjudicate cases against individuals alleged to have committed sexual misconduct, as well as permitting direct cross-examination of alleged victims through attorneys or other advocates. These proposed changes would also reduce the number of investigations which schools must undertake for allegations of off-campus misconduct, and if enacted will involve the most dramatic alterations to Title IX in at least a decade, and are sure to involve extensive public comment/criticism, with potential future changes to the proposed regulations in the months ahead.
Any individual involved in matters involving sexual abuse or misconduct should not delay in securing counsel, as each of these processes are very complex and require the assistance of skilled counsel. We regularly are asked to review cases where individuals have attempted unsuccessfully to pursue these matters without the assistance of experienced counsel, and a great deal of irreversible legal damage has often already been done. At McAndrews Law Offices, we are among the most experienced attorneys in addressing all forms of sexual assault, child abuse, elder abuse, and sexual misconduct against a full range of vulnerable individuals. Our firm includes such skilled and experienced practitioners as Joseph E. McGettigan III, the famed successful prosecutor of serial child abuser Jerry Sandusky, and Dennis C. McAndrews, who has handled a multitude of major cases involving abuse of both minors and adults. Our entire team has successfully handled abuse and sexual misconduct matters over the course of three decades, and we are fully committed to the pursuit of justice in these sensitive cases.
Don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 610-648-9300 or emailing us here.