Oregon Sexual Abuse Attorney
Our Results Improve the Legal Landscape for Sex Abuse Victims in Oregon
The researchers at the Women’s Foundation of Oregon used data from the CDC to arrive at a startling conclusion that a little more than half of Oregon’s female population has suffered from sexual or domestic violence. Sexual abuse by trusted individuals, such as family members, clergy, coaches, teachers, physicians, instructors, or individuals in a position of power over others, causes physical and lifelong emotional pain to the violated victim. Many of the sexual abuse victims we have represented at our law firm required long periods of psychiatric therapy and inpatient hospitalization to help them with the emotional scars that were left after the abuse.
With over 100 years of experience, the Oregon sexual abuse lawyers of Dwyer Williams Cherkoss have successfully handled sexual abuse, forced sexual acts, and unlawful sexual contact cases with an unparalleled track record of success. Our results have not only secured emotional closure and financial security for our clients, but they have set vital precedents for countless sexual abuse cases all over Oregon.
Let Us Help You Obtain the Justice You Deserve
Take the first step today by requesting a free, confidential case evaluation from our firm.
Take the first step today by requesting a free, confidential case evaluation from our firm.
The Widespread Sexual Abuse of Children
Oregon Child Sexual Abuse
The scope of the problem in Oregon cannot be over-stated. Statistics indicate that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will become victims of sexual abuse by the time they are 18 years old. Sexual assault may include rape, forced penetration, forced intercourse, inappropriate touching, or forced kissing.
Like some of the most severe physical injuries, rape and sexual assault can cause a host of serious and intractable emotional damages, including conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and forms of depression such as feelings of paranoia, helplessness, shame, anxiety, and fear of relationships or intimacy.
Fighting for the Rights of Sex Abuse Victims
Forms of Sexual Abuse in Oregon
Sexual abuse and sexual assault incidents in Oregon occur in many different forms. Sexual assault by definition refers to any sexual encounter without an individual’s consent. It includes rape and attempted rape, inappropriate touching, child sexual abuse, incest, indecent exposure, voyeurism, photographing or videotaping naked children inappropriately, forcing children to watch sexual activity or pornography, and sexual harassment.
Sexual abuse in Oregon could happen to anyone. Victims should understand that regardless of their age, gender or sexual orientation, sexual abuse is never the victim’s fault.
Some of the typical situations where sexual assault or abuse may occur include school employees preying on students, nursing home staff members sexually abusing elderly patients, or clergy at churches committing sexual abuse.
In these situations in Oregon, apart from the perpetrator of the crime, the schools, nursing homes and churches could also be held legally responsible, especially if abuse incidents have previously occurred.
If the organization fails to provide safe conditions, carry out proper background checks, or brush aside complaints of sexual misconduct, it may increase the chances of sexual assault and abuse. Should that be the case, it will also increase the chance of the organization being held liable for the sexual abuse itself.
What should the Victim Do?
A victim of sexual abuse in Oregon should move to a safe place, away from the attacker, and call 911 right away.
Thereafter, without losing time, they should visit a hospital emergency room where medical professionals trained to screen patients for sexually transmitted infections will examine them. They would also collect potential evidence that the sexual offender may have left behind.
In Oregon, if the victim visits the hospital within a week of the sexual assault, they are eligible to costs of such medical services paid for by the SAVE (Sexual Assault Victims Emergency) Fund.
The staff at the hospital may also connect the victim with a counselor or a rape crisis center that can help them decide about reporting the incident to law enforcement.
Victims are encouraged to contact a competent sexual abuse attorney in Oregon, who can provide them the best possible legal advice and help them pursue their claim against the perpetrator of the sexual crime or an organization or both.
Victims are encouraged to contact a competent sexual abuse attorney in Oregon, who can provide them the best possible legal advice and help them pursue their claim against the perpetrator of the sexual crime or an organization or both. Call (800) 285-8678 to set up a free, confidential consultation today.
Time Limits in Oregon for Filing a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit
In Oregon, there are varying deadlines during which a victim has to file a sex abuse claim. These timelines depend on several factors – the age of the victim when abused, whether the victim was conscious when abused, the time when the victim discovers the causal link between the abuse and their damages, etc. For example, a child who is the victim of sexual abuse generally has until age 40 or five years after they reasonably knew or should have known of the causal connection of the injury and the abuse, whichever is later. A very small child, elderly person, or a person who is unconscious during the abuse can have up to seven years to file under Oregon’s Abuse of Vulnerable Persons Act. However, an adult who is sexually abused while conscious would likely only have two years after the date of the abuse to file a claim.
Sometimes, in rare circumstances, the concept of “delayed discovery” (also known as the “discovery rule”) prevails, meaning the victim of sexual abuse can file a lawsuit within two years of the date when their memory of the abuse is discovered, as opposed to the date of the abuse itself. The principle behind this law is that the victim of a traumatic sexual abuse event may possibly repress their memory of the injury, which could prevent them from filing a lawsuit within a reasonable time. However, there are restrictions as to the applicability of the discovery rule that are beyond the scope of this writing. It is often a complicated analysis.
Additionally, if a governmental employee or agency is involved, the victim has a very short deadline in which to file a Tort Claim Notice under Oregon law – generally 180 days from the date of the abuse for an adult, and 270 days from the date of the abuse for a child. The notice to be given is required to contain certain information and be received by certain people by the deadline, or the claim against the governmental employee or agency is waived as a matter of law. Moreover, the deadline in which to file a claim against the governmental employee or agency is often shorter than the deadline to file against non-governmental actors.
An Oregon sexual assault attorney who has the knowledge and experience of helping victims pursue litigation within the best possible timeframe can provide the right guidance and legal assistance to a victim.
Insurance Issues in a Sexual Abuse Claim
A sexual abuse case in Oregon could also involve several difficult issues concerning insurance coverage. Although a lawyer could possibly obtain insurance funds from the company, insurance policies often limit or eliminate the coverage amount for claims of sexual abuse or other crimes. It is not uncommon for an insurance carrier that may be required to cover the sex abuse to deny the claim or file a declaratory judgment case seeking the court to rule that it is not obligated to insure the abuse.
Oregon sexual assault lawyers with experience in handling these difficult insurance issues could be instrumental in helping a victim recover their rightful compensation through the perpetrator’s insurance coverage.
We Fight to Hold Sexual Predators Accountable
Sex Abuse Penalties in Oregon
Oregon has several laws to protect the victims of sexual abuse and rape. Punishment for such crimes in Oregon vary depending on several factors, such as the nature of sexual abuse involved, the victim’s age, and whether the perpetrator of the crime held a position of authority.
Class A Felonies
These include first-degree rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree, or using a child in display of sexually explicit conduct. Punishment may include imprisonment for up to 20 years and fines of up to $375,000.
Class B Felonies
These include second-degree rape, second-degree sodomy, or second-degree unlawful sexual penetration; and first-degree sexual abuse or online sexual corruption of a minor. Punishment may include imprisonment for up to 10 years and fines of up $250,000.
Class C Felonies
These include third-degree rape or sodomy; second-degree sexual abuse or online sexual corruption of a minor; buying sex or unlawful contact with a minor; and first-degree custodial sexual abuse. Punishment may include imprisonment for up to five years and fines of up $125,000.
Class A Misdemeanors
These include third degree sexual misconduct; contributing to a minor’s sexual delinquency; second degree custodial sexual abuse; and unlawful presence in an area where children usually congregate. Punishment may include imprisonment for up to one year and fines of up to $6,250.
Class C Misdemeanors
These include sexual misconduct. Punishment may include imprisonment for up to 30 days, and fines of up to $1,250.
Even though the burden of proof in a civil case is lower than in a criminal case, a criminal conviction does not guarantee that the victim will prevail in their civil claim. Thus, regardless of the results of the criminal prosecution, the victim needs to seek the advice from an experienced civil sex abuse attorney in Oregon to determine whether they have standing in a civil claim, and if so, to maximize their recovery for the damages they have suffered.
3 Strikes Law in Oregon
Charges of rape or sexual assault are usually classified as a Measure 11 sentence, with an imprisonment ranging from 75 to 100 months in most cases.
However, in Oregon the “3 Strikes Law” is also applicable, whereby an offender convicted for the third time for a felony sexual offense could be imprisoned for life without parole. Indeed, the Oregon legislature recently strengthened this law, allowing some offenders to be sentenced to life in prison after their second offense.
Apart from jail time, even a non-Measure 11 sexual offense in Oregon requires the convict to register as a sexual offender for the rest of their life. This could adversely impact their future employment and housing opportunities and create other socio-economic hurdles. It also puts potential employers on notice that they may commit similar acts so that, if hired, the employer could potentially be held liable if the person does so while on the job.
Compassionate & Relentless Representation
If I was sexually assaulted, at what point should I call a lawyer?
The best answer is, as soon as possible. Your statements to a potential lawyer are privileged and they can help you determine the best way to maintain the integrity of your case.
In criminal cases a lawyer from the District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the perpetrator, but a crime victim may also have a personal attorney appear on their behalf during the criminal case to assert their rights as a crime victim. In Oregon, crime victims have constitutional rights. Many of these rights go into effect automatically, while others must be requested through your local District Attorney’s office or Juvenile Department. Victims’ rights include the right to:
- play a meaningful role in the criminal or juvenile justice process.
- be treated with dignity and respect.
- receive fair and impartial treatment.
- receive reasonable protection from the offender.
For more information on Oregon Crime Victim Rights, see (the attached PDF.)
If you would like to have an attorney help you assert and enforce your rights in a criminal case, you can contact the Oregon Crime Victim Law Center or the National Crime Victim Law Institute.
In a civil case, for monetary compensation, you will need a personal injury attorney to represent you. Ethical, experienced lawyers who represent victims in civil suits for money damages do not charge money “up front” or work by the hour when representing survivors of sexual abuse. Generally, the survivor only pays the lawyer a portion of the damages recovered. The lawyer advances all of the costs and expenses involved in bringing the lawsuit, and is only repaid when there is a recovery. In the rare case where there is no recovery, the survivor owes nothing.
What Compensation Can a Victim Collect in a Civil Case?
There are many potential civil claims a victim can make concerning sexual abuse they have suffered. Some examples include civil child abuse laws, Oregon’s Abuse of Vulnerable Persons Act, civil assault, civil battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and so-on. Assuming the victim can prove their case, they are entitled to damages for having suffered the sex abuse.
Damages can include past and future medical expenses, past and future counseling expenses, past and future wage loss, past and future impairment of earning capacity, lost employment benefits and noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages include things like pain, mental suffering, emotional distress, humiliation, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, or any other interference with your normal daily life.
Only an experienced Oregon sex abuse attorney can accurately tell a victim whether they have a viable case under Oregon’s sex abuse laws, and if so, the reasonable value of their damages. And only an Oregon sex abuse attorney who is willing to take that case to trial, if necessary, can get full compensation for the victim of sex abuse.
The skilled and knowledgeable team of sexual abuse lawyers at Dwyer Williams Cherkoss Attorneys in Oregon can help you hold the sexual offender and the organization accountable for their actions, and vigorously fight for your legal rights. Call (800) 285-8678 to set up a free, confidential consultation today.