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Inadequate Supervision & Sexual Abuse

Inadequate Supervision & Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse may persist for years when victims are in close contact or trusting relationships with their abusers, such as those who work or volunteer in churches, youth organizations and schools.  Parents typically presume that these relationships are safe and secure, and children similarly trust adults in these roles. Often, however, sexual abuse involves perpetrators who are employed by, or under the control of, supervising entities that claim to protect and care for the children they oversee.  In these cases, a third party may be negligent for the actions of employees, volunteers, or individuals it supervises who commit crimes. 

In cases of sexual harassment against institutional entities, survivors can use several theories of liability, including negligent hiring and negligent supervision, to hold a supervising body responsible for criminal activity.  Those who manage institutions and supervise or control employees and volunteers are obligated to provide adequate security and supervision.  This is especially true when there is an elevated risk of criminal activity and the employer does not take reasonable steps to investigate and/or prevent the attack or abuse.  

Third party liability for sexual abuse can be found if an employer or supervisor knew or should have known of the abuse, did not reasonably attempt to address or stop the abuse, or tried to conceal the abuse.  Liability can be found if the organization was responsible for negligent hiring (knowing that the employee had previously been involved in criminal activity) or negligent retention (continuing to employ a perpetrator despite having knowledge of abuse and refusing to take action).  

In claims of sexual abuse against the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America, victims have alleged that the institutions were aware of the abuse and often reassigned the attacker to a different location.  In 2018, revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church were particularly critical, as individuals accused high-level church officials of committing abuse and playing an active role in the cover up. Not only did these organizations fail to take appropriate steps to report criminal activity, they simply moved the perpetrator to another location to allow him to victimize other children.      

The Jehovah’s Witness has been accused of sexual abuse by members who claim they were abused as children.  According to lawsuits against the Jehovah’s Witness, the organization actively concealed reports of abuse and refused to comply with orders to release information related to the sexual abuse. 

In a civil action, a third party may be held liable if it owed the injured party a duty of care.  Bringing an action against all responsible parties is an important aspect of a civil claim.  The actual perpetrator may never be identified or may not have financial assets to pay damages.  In addition, insurance coverage does not extend to intentional acts.  Therefore, third party liability may be the only avenue for recovering compensation for injuries associated with abuse.

If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, Levy Konigsberg can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.  With our proven track-record of recovering millions of dollars in sex abuse cases, you can feel assured that we have the experience and knowledge to help you achieve the best outcome possible.  Please call today for a free and confidential consultation with attorneys at our firm specializing in sexual abuse cases.  Please call 1-800-225-9825 or submit an email inquiry above.

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