Sexual Abuse at Children’s Camps
Hundreds of reports that were released at the end of 2018 reveal incidents of sexual abuse at summer camps throughout the United States. These reports span a period of 55 years and identify almost 600 child victims. Experts believe that the number of incidents of sexual abuse at children’s summer camps is considerably higher than indicated in the reports.
Summer Camps Provide Opportunities for Predators
Nearly 14 million kids attend summer camp each year in the United States. Unfortunately, summer camps can provide predators with unfettered access to innocent children. Regulations for summer camps are inconsistent and unreliable. In eighteen states, there are no mandatory background checks for camp employees. In eight states, overnight camps are not required to obtain a license. Many camp employees, especially those that come from other countries, may have criminal records that are not accessible to employers.
In addition to the absence of uniform standards and mandatory licensing requirements, children in sleepaway camps can be easy targets for predators because they are away from their parents for extended periods of time. Children who are abused in sleepaway camps may lack access to trusted adults whom they can confide in. The abuse may continue for extended periods of time if the child does not feel safe or comfortable to report the abuse.
Summer Camps Owe a Duty to Protect their Campers
Camps owe a duty to protect children from harm. Camps can be held liable for negligently hiring and supervising counselors who endanger a camper’s safety. In addition, camps must maintain policies to prevent sexual abuse and have protocols for reporting sexual abuse. All too often camps do not have procedures for recognizing and reporting sexual abuse to supervisors in camp and local law enforcement.
Statute of Limitations Allows Old Claims of Sexual Abuse
A parent may bring a lawsuit on behalf of a child who has been sexually abused at camp. Additionally, in many states, adults who were sexually abused as children can still file lawsuits against their abusers and the institutions that employed them. For example, under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA), victims of childhood sexual abuse have a one-year window to initiate legal action regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. For example, under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA), victims of childhood sexual abuse have a limited window of time to initiate legal action regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred. The suspension of the statute of limitations began August 14, 2019 and is now set to expire on August 14, 2021.
Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has recovered millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual misconduct by a counselor or staff member at a summer camp, please contact our lawyers for a free and confidential consultation by calling 1-800-225-9825 or submitting an email inquiry on this page.