Q: Why should I considering suing about something that happened many years ago?
It’s called child sexual abuse, but the effects of abuse continue long into adulthood. Many survivors do not fully recognize the connection between the abuse they suffered in childhood and the emotional and psychological difficulties they encounter as adults. Even if your abuse was many years ago, the feelings of grief and despair may be as great as ever. A suit against your abuser empowers you and puts you in control. Most important, many abuse survivors cannot afford counseling and they struggle to get by without professional help. A suit can make those responsible pay for the counseling.
Q: Is it too late for justice for me?
In Washington and some other states, it depends on your age when you finally confronted your memories of abuse. In many states, however, strict statutes of limitation control whether a lawsuit may be time-barred. If you were abused in a state other than Washington, different laws and exceptions apply. Each situation must be evaluated carefully before any legal advice can be given.
Q: Must my real name be used in court documents?
Probably not. In order to protect your privacy, most courts allow abuse survivors to use their initials or a fictitious “Jane Doe.” In this way, anyone reading the court records would not learn about your private life. Some survivors choose to use their real names as a statement that the secrecy is over. Either way, it will be your choice.
Tim Kosnoff co-represents 17,000 clients in the Boy Scouts of America Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He has practiced law for forty years as a prosecutor, defense attorney and as a lawyer representing victims of child sexual abuse. He has extensive experience handling complex civil child sexual abuse litigation throughout the United States and Canada. He has handled thousands of complex child sexual abuse cases against religious and secular organizations including the Boy Scouts of America, the Mormon Church, the Catholic Church and a wide spectrum of other organizations.