Conviction for sexual abuse may not provide enough justice

Prosecutors across the country, including those here in New Mexico, do their best to put predators behind bars. Even so, a conviction for sexual abuse may not provide enough justice for the victims. In that case, civil litigation may be possible in order to pursue restitution for the wrongs done to them.

For instance, a man in another state will serve eight years in prison for sexually assaulting a minor. At the time, he was a teacher at a private school and camp counselor for a popular religious group. He and the teenage girl engaged in a sexual relationship for months before it came to light.

Even after the Maine man was sentenced back in Jan. 2019, the girl’s mother decided to pursue a lawsuit against the school and the church. Documents allege the school negligently failed to supervise the teacher. In addition, the lawsuit includes claims of negligence and sexual assault. The defendants deny any wrongdoing in connection with the teacher’s inappropriate relationship with the teen. According to the complaint, the teacher “groomed” the teen, and since she was encouraged to trust the man, she entered into the relationship.

Many people, including some here in New Mexico, may not realize that their pursuit of justice does not necessarily have to stop with a criminal conviction of the perpetrator. It may be possible to pursue a civil action as well, and not only against the person who committed the sexual abuse. Any organization that may have some legal liability in connection with the incident or incidents may become a defendant in a lawsuit.