As parents, we encourage our children to participate in sports. Be it soccer, baseball or tennis, physical activity is important for their overall well-being. Just as importantly, we want them to have fun. But when a coach, assistant or other adult entrusted with their care does the unthinkable and sexually abuses a child, it’s important to seek justice against them and the institutions they work for.

If you or someone close to you were sexually abused while participating in youth sports, call the compassionate and experienced child sexual abuse in sports lawyers at The Dominguez Firm right away. You can reach us at 800-818-1818 for a free and completely confidential consultation.

Below is more information about child sexual abuse in sports and some of the most common questions we receive.

Notable child sex abuse in sports cases

Most people are familiar with the horrific child sex abuse scandal involving former U.S. Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar. For years, he sexually abused underage female gymnasts. It’s believed he assaulted at least 250 girls starting around 1992. Complaints against Nassar for inappropriate behavior began as early as the mid-1990s. Yet it wasn’t until 2015, almost 20 years later, that any investigations were conducted.

As with other cases of widespread child sexual abuse, ignoring or even worse, attempting to cover up the abuse has often been the shameful reaction of many institutions including the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church. Here in California, sadly, there have also been several high profile sexual abuse scandals involving children and teenagers in sports.

Earlier this year, six women filed lawsuits against USA Swimming and the organization’s chapters in California for not protecting them from three coaches who have since been banned. The women claim a lack of oversight and toxic culture led to them being sexually harassed and abused for years. Most of them were also underage when the abuse began.

In the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, a well-known football coach at Franklin High School was sentenced to over 36 years in prison for sexually molesting five current and former students between the ages of 13 and 16. His victims received a settlement of over $8 million.

Can I file a claim against my child’s school as well as their abuser?

Yes, you can, and you should. In many child sex abuse scandals, the organizations and institutions these abusers worked for ignored or covered up the sexual abuse that was occurring. As heinous as the crimes were, the misplaced priorities of those in charge were also unconscionable. They were more concerned about their reputations rather than the children in their care. Even worse, their failure to act led to even more children being sexually molested.

Any group that values its reputation more than the welfare of the children in its care should be held accountable. Not only does it help provide closure for the child and their family, but the abuser’s employer will also suffer the consequences of being publicly shamed and pay for their actions. This, in turn, can hopefully lead to stricter safety measures and stop the cycle of child sexual abuse in sports in the future.

Can I sue if my child’s abuser was not convicted in criminal court?

Yes, you can, regardless of whether your child’s abuser was convicted in criminal court or not. By enlisting the services of a law firm with experience handling child sex abuse cases involving sports teams and organizations, you can sue the abuser and their employer in civil court.

Furthermore, unlike criminal court, you don’t need to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in civil court. If the evidence shows that the person most likely committed the abuse, then they can be found guilty. In other words, the burden of proof is not as strict. Even though the abuser cannot be sentenced to prison time in a civil lawsuit, they and the people who employed them can be forced to pay large financial settlements or verdicts against them.

My abuse happened years ago can I still seek justice?

Yes. In January of 2020, the statute of limitations, or time limit for filing child sexual abuse claims in California was expanded. Previously, a victim had until the age of 26 or 3 years from when they became aware of the abuse to file a claim. Now, victims have until the age of 40 or five years from when they became aware of their abuse. This has given many victims who thought they had no recourse more time to seek justice.

Call the sports child sex abuse lawyers at The Dominguez Firm today

Many of us have fond memories of participating in a sport or watching our children enjoy themselves on a field or court. To have that cut short by something as horrible and traumatic as child sexual abuse is unimaginable. What should be a source of joy and camaraderie becomes a nightmare.

Children who are sexually molested while taking part in sports often experience guilt, shame and can suffer symptoms of PTSD as well. By making those responsible pay for their actions, the children and their families can find the emotional help they need at such a difficult time while sending a clear signal to those responsible.

If you are an adult who was sexually abused as a child while being involved in a sport, you too have options available to you. As previously mentioned, the time limit for filing a claim against your abuser and their employer has been greatly expanded. You don’t have to suffer in silence.

The experienced and compassionate child sexual abuse in sports lawyers at The Dominguez Firm have over 30 years of experience successfully handling these types of sensitive cases. And if you think you can’t afford to hire our attorneys, know that we work on a contingency basis. That means you have no upfront or hidden fees to deal with. We receive a percentage of the final settlement or verdict, which will be clearly stated in the client agreement when you sign on with us. And in the unlikely event that we are unable to recover any damages, you owe us nothing. You win, or you don’t pay!

Call the child sex abuse in sports attorneys at The Dominguez Firm today for a free and completely confidential consultation at 800-818-1818.