No parent should ever have to worry about their child being harmed at school. Unfortunately, instances of school sexual abuse are on the rise, including in San Mateo. The San Mateo school district has 194 schools, and survivors of school sexual abuse should be able to secure compensation for what has happened, and new CA legislation gives victims more time to file lawsuits.
At Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, our knowledgeable and experienced team has been helping sexual abuse survivors for more than 60 years. We want to help you hold the perpetrator of your abuse accountable for their actions, so call us today for a free and confidential consultation of your case.
The Reality of School Sexual Abuse
Not all school sexual abuse looks the same. In many instances, sexual abuse occurs between teachers and students in the classroom. However, teachers also sexually abuse students on school trips and off school grounds.
Other members of the school staff can also abuse students. This can include coaches, administrators, guidance counselors, and support staff. School sexual abuse can take place in the school, off school grounds, and at school-related events.
Even if a student has reached the age of consent in California, sexual contact between school staff and students is illegal. School sexual abuse can also occur between students, particularly when the perpetrator is older and more powerful.
How Long Do Victims Have to File Lawsuits?
Previously, victims of sexual abuse in California could only file lawsuits against their abusers until they were 26 years of age or within three years from the discovery of the sexual abuse. However, AB 218 took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and makes the following changes:
- Victims can now file for lawsuits until the age of 40 or up to five years after they discover the adult psychological injury caused by the abuse.
- It allows for a three-year “lookback” period for victims who were previously barred from filing claims due to statue limits to file lawsuits.
- Allows for “treble” damages against any organization found to have covered up the sexual abuse of a minor.
This is a significant change for the state and gives victims of San Mateo school sexual abuse the chance to have justice for what happened to them.
Is an Attorney Necessary for These Cases?
It is highly recommended that you secure a skilled attorney to help with these cases. There will now be many new civil lawsuits filed thanks to AB 218, and any incomplete or incorrect claims will likely be rejected. Your attorney will:
- Ensure a thorough investigation is completed for your case. This will include an investigation into any cover–up on the part of the school district.
- Handle all communication between you and the other parties involved, including the legal teams of the school and the perpetrator of the abuse.
- Work to secure a fair settlement on your behalf or prepare the case for trial if necessary to secure fair compensation.
We Can Help You Get Through This
The team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger understands how devastating school sexual abuse is for victims and their families. We want to help survivors get through this. If you or someone you love has been a victim of school sexual abuse in San Mateo, we are ready to help you secure the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case and let our California sexual abuse lawyers plan the next steps forward.