The evil of sexual assault comes in many incarnations. It is not unusual to see news stories about vulnerable adults in care facilities being accosted by someone who is supposed to be a caregiver. The issue of date rape is one that only seems to keep growing in seriousness. And of course there are the instances of sexual molestation of children.
Regardless of what form it takes, one thing is common in all such cases. It is abuse of a kind that cannot be tolerated and which deserves to be countered with all the power provided by the law. That is perhaps most true in cases where a child is the victim. The trauma that can be inflicted is not only physical. The psychological and emotional damage done can last a lifetime.
The criminal justice system may provide a measure of justice presuming the perpetrator is caught, tried and convicted. But there may be others at an institutional level that deserve to be held accountable. Very often it can be shown that managers of facilities knew that abuse was occurring. If they didn’t know, it may be clear that they should have, and their failure to take action could amount to negligence.
This comes to mind specifically in the wake of a recent decision by the North Carolina Court of Appeals allowing a sexual abuse-related lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh to proceed.
The suit by a 22-year-old man seeks financial compensation from the church. It alleges that a priest molested him when he was 16. Authorities did charge the suspected cleric in the case, but dropped the charges in 2012 citing a lack of evidence.
The church had sought to have the suit dismissed on the grounds it would violate the constitutional separation of church and state. The court rejected that argument.
The cause of justice demands accountability if an organization or person fails in the duty to ensure the security of someone in their care. Obtaining the desired outcome is best achieved by working with an experienced attorney.