Charleston, WV Attorneys Help Victims of Sexual Abuse Pursue Justice
Dedicated West Virginia law firm advises abuse survivors about legal rights
The trauma of sexual abuse can adversely affect a victim long after the abuse stops, causing ongoing depression, anxiety and PTSD. The legal team at The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia works to hold institutions and individuals accountable for harm they inflict by their negligence or deliberate acts. Our Charleston sexual abuse attorneys pursue financial compensation for the pain and suffering of survivors as well as for the mental health services and medical care necessary for treatment and recovery.
Experienced lawyers represent minors and adults harmed by sexual abusers
Under West Virginia law, sexual abuse can refer to a number of different crimes involving molestation, and unwanted touching or other acts of sexual contact.
State law outlines three degrees of sexual abuse:
- Sexual abuse in the first degree — A person commits this felony when he or she subjects another person to sexual contact through forcible compulsion and without their consent. It is also sexual abuse in the first degree to inflict sexual contact on a person who is physically helpless or younger than 12 years old (if the offender is 14 or older).
- Sexual abuse in the second degree — This misdemeanor occurs when an offender subjects a mentally incapacitated or mentally defective person to sexual contact.
- Sexual abuse in the third degree — This misdemeanor involves a victim who is less than 16 years old being subjected to sexual contact from an offender at least four years older. The victim’s lack of consent is presumed due to their age, whether or not there is compulsion or mental incapacity.
Each of these crimes is punishable by incarceration and monetary fines, with the harshest penalties given to first-degree offenders and lesser ones to third-degree offenders.
If you were a victim of sexual abuse in West Virginia, report the incident to a law enforcement officer immediately. There is a one-year statute of limitations for prosecuting crimes of second-degree and third-degree sexual abuse. West Virginia does not have a statute of limitations for prosecuting first-degree sexual abuse or other felony sex crimes.
Child abuse and suspected child abuse may also be reported to the Department of Health and Human Resources Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1-800-352-6513).
With extensive backgrounds in criminal law and civil liability law, our firm’s attorneys help sexual abuse survivors and their families to navigate the legal system and seek justice.
Determined attorneys file lawsuits against abusers and negligent institutions
Most crimes of sexual abuse are committed by a personal acquaintance of the victim. Sexual abuse often involves a person in a position of authority taking advantage of a person under their care, supervision or influence. Abusers often target victims they meet in:
- Youth organizations
- Sports leagues
- Religious organizations
- Apartment complexes
- Foster Care
Unfortunately, many abusers are able to hide behind their positions of power to intimidate their victims and avoid the suspicion of others. Our attorneys build cases to establish the negligence and liability of abusers and of the institutions that employ them and sometimes enable them. Through settlement negotiations and litigation, we help victims to seek damages commensurate with the far-reaching, long-term physical, mental, emotional and financial effects of sexual abuse.
Contact a trusted Charleston law firm for help seeking justice for sexual abuse crimes
The attorneys at The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia help victims of childhood sexual abuse and adult sexual abuse to sue abusers and negligent institutions for damages. To schedule a no-risk, free consultation with one of our caring professionals, call our office at 888-819-1281 or contact us online.