man filing a sex abuse claim

Should I File A Claim If My Abuser Has Died?

It may take years or even decades for victims of child sexual abuse to come to terms with their experience. Children often don’t understand what happened to them until well into their adult years. By that time, their abusers may have long since died. There’s certainly no way the criminal courts can bring the predator to justice but are civil remedies still available against the institution in which the perpetrator worked? Attorney Paul Mones explains how there may still be options for seeking monetary compensation even after the death of an abuser

The death of someone who has injured others does not prevent the victims from holding the institution in which he or she worked responsible for the injuries suffered as a result of the sexual abuse. This applies to personal injury sexual abuse cases as well. 

California’s Three-Year Lookback Window

Currently, there is a three-year lookback window that opened on January 1, 2020, allowing all victims of child sexual abuse in California to file claims against their abusers, no matter how long ago the abuse happened. For those victims who are now, for example,  in their 30’s 40’s or 50’s need to file within the window of time – that is before December 31, 2022.  Filing within this window in California is essential because the statute acts as a deadline to bar old claims. It’s a good idea to pursue your lawsuit sooner rather than later, as it is usually easier to find evidence and witnesses who can recall important details.

Regardless of whether the perpetrator is alive, the institution who employed him or her can still be held liable for the injuries you suffered. The institution responsible for employing the abuser or allowing the abuser to otherwise come in contact with the victim may share some of the blame. For instance, if you were abused by an employee for the Boys and Girls Club in your neighborhood, the Club could be held responsible for the sexual abuse you suffered. The same is true of other institutions, organizations, and companies, even if the abuser already died.

Blame can be assigned because the organization was somehow complicit or otherwise aware of the abuse. As an example, the Catholic Church has been shown to repeatedly reassign and move abusive priests from one diocese to another, thereby taking an active role in facilitating the abuse. 

The most important take-away from this is that the death of a child sexual abuser does not necessarily cut off available means of compensation. If you were abused as a child and your abuser has since died, it’s a good idea to explore your legal options. Talk to attorney Paul Mones today to find out more.