Articles Posted in Sex Abuse

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Sexual abuse is an enormous problem in our society. For survivors, sexual abuse is a traumatic experience. For so long, there has been a culture of silence around these issues. Because sexual abuse is such a difficult topic, people who have been the victims of sexual abuse often feel invisible.

There are approximately 293,000 incidents of sexual abuse in the United States each year. However, 68 percent of these attacks go unreported to the police. According to statistics from the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), “every 92 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men are sexually abused before the age of 18.”

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Sex abuse attorneys David Abels & Gary Annes

Abels & Annes P.C., working with co-counsel, has filed a sex abuse lawsuit against the City of Chicago and former Chicago Police Department officer William Whitley. The lawsuit alleges that Whitley exploited his position as a Chicago police officer to sexually abuse a 14-year-old girl and that the City of Chicago facilitated the abuse by failing to investigate, discipline, and otherwise hold police officers accountable for misconduct. Whitley was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for paying the 14-year-old and three other minors for sex between 2012 and 2016.

At the time of his crimes, there were at least 29 complaints lodged against Whitley by civilian and/or internal affairs agencies. He should long before have been removed from his position of public trust. But Whitley benefited from the City’s long-running pattern and practice of letting police officers get away with flagrant misconduct, and from the code of silence that inhibits police officers and others from speaking up about abuses. A federal government investigation recently reported that “numerous entrenched, systemic policies and practices … undermine police accountability” in Chicago, especially the code of silence that the “City, police officers, and leadership within CPD and its police officer union” all acknowledge that a code of silence exists.

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Sexual Abuse Lawyers ChicagoOver two hundred additional sex abuse victims have come forward making new allegations against the Boy Scouts of America, according to USA Today. The ages of sex abuse victims vary.  Some are still minors, some are in their 20s, and some much older. It’s very common for Boy Scout sex abuse victims to hide their pain for many years without telling anyone about the abuse they suffered.  For example, one victim in his 50s alleges that he was abused in middle school. He was confused about what happened and it took him many years to figure out that he was a victim, that he did nothing wrong, and that it was the adult who was at fault.

With so many victims coming forward for the first time and making claims, approximately 150 new alleged pedophiles have been identified. Also, sex abuse lawyers representing some of the victims allege that children are still being abused, according to the Washington Post.  The two hundred victims are from 33 different states, so the abuse was not just happening in one localized area. The problem appears to be nationwide.

For decades the Boy Scouts of America have kept detailed records about allegations of sexual abuse, but those documents have only been made publicly available over the last few years.  The Boy Scouts recently released a statement saying that “We care deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.”  The Boy Scouts further went on to say that they have funded unlimited counseling for victims by a provider of their choice.

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The Boys Scouts of America swear an oath to help other people at all times. However, the organization has not always done its best at helping its own young members. Many instances of sexual abuse by troop leaders and other adult chaperones have surfaced, and the concerns of parents of potential Boy Scouts have rightfully increased in recent years. Recently, former Boy Scouts filed 15 lawsuits in Chicago courts regarding sexual abuse of members of a Burbank, Illinois, troop.

The organization just announced one response to such concerns—increased background checks and additional requirements for adults who supervise overnight excursions. Before June 1, troop leaders and other registered volunteers had to undergo background checks and complete a training course before volunteering. Now, the Boy Scouts require background checks and training for any adult who is chaperoning a trip that lasts at least 72 hours, which includes parents of scouts on the excursion.

The training course is a one-hour online session about youth protection. It covers protecting minors from dangers such as sexual molestation, especially during overnight activities such as camping trips, which can get particularly high-risk. This requirement only applies to Boy Scout troops, however, and not to Cub Scouts, who are usually younger than 11.

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When you think of a personal injury lawsuit, you may initially think of a case arising from a car accident or another type of accidental injury. However, not all injury cases stem from accidents. Some cases involve allegations of sexual abuse of minors—for example the numerous high-profile sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago.

Recently, many elite USA gymnasts came forward and reported a widespread sexual abuse scandal involving a trainer team doctor based out of Michigan State University (MSU), Larry Nassar. Hundreds of gymnasts testified that Nassar sexual molested them under the guise of “medical treatment.” He was the primary physician for elite gymnasts competing for the USA and MSU, so many gymnasts had to visit him and suffer abuse over and over again for years.

Nassar was convicted of numerous counts of criminal sexual conduct and the court sentenced him to 40 to 175 years in prison.