The sexual abuse of children in institutions like the Boy Scouts of America, Catholic Church, public schools, private schools, sports programs like the American Youth Soccer Organization and youth recreation programs like Boys and Girls Clubs is an all too common tragic fact of life. In many of these cases, the abuse could have been prevented if the institution had properly supervised and trained their employees and volunteers. In fact in a disturbing number of these cases, the institution recklessly ignored clear indicators that an employee or volunteer was molesting a child.
Child abuse is the perfect crime because its victims are often too embarrassed, confused and fearful to reveal the awful truth at the time of the abuse or soon after it has ended. Many victims wait years, even decades to reveal the abuse. Paul Mones has learned over his decades of experience in representing victims of sexual abuse throughout the nation that, once in the grip of a child molester, most kids stand little chance of effectively resisting. For these reasons, institutions need to be ever vigilant about the threats posed by molesters to the children under their care and supervision.
Though the specific acts of abuse are horrific, it is the psychological and emotional consequences of these acts which cause the real lifetime injuries. These injuries include depression, suicide ideation, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbances, anxiety and sexual identity problems to name just a few. And if these problems are left untreated, they can plague a person his or her whole adult life. In an effort to cope with these problems, it also is not uncommon for victims to develop drug and alcohol addictions and compulsive behaviors like promiscuity, which only further complicate and aggravate their underlying issues and make recovery all that more difficult.
When a child is sexually abused the perpetrator and the institution must be held accountable in a court of law. The criminal justice system serves a vital role in punishing the perpetrators, but it does not address the damage to the victim or compensating that victim for the injuries. In addition, a criminal prosecution rarely addresses the responsibility of the institution which employed the predator. A civil action seeking financial damages will not give a victim back the innocence of his or her childhood, nor will it make the pain vanish, but it is the best method that our great system of justice has devised for righting at least a portion of these devastating wrongs.
Paul Mones knows that filing an action in civil court is not for every victim. His years of representing sexual abuse survivors have afforded him critical insights into their daily struggles. He understands how even decades after the abuse, it is very difficult for victims of sexual abuse to stand up and confront their abusers. On the other hand, he has seen first-hand how suing the institution, if not also the individual predator, can be an empowering and life-affirming event for many who have suffered. Holding institutions and predators accountable in court can also go a long way to helping the victim gain closure to a horrible chapter in his or her life. And victims of sexual abuse who challenge their abusers sometimes realize that they are standing up not only for themselves but also for other victims who are too afraid or embarrassed and fearful to stand up for themselves.
In a sexual abuse case filed by parents on behalf of their children or by adult–survivors of childhood sexual abuse, damages in the form of financial compensation are sought for emotional and psychological injuries including but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), depression, anxiety and substance abuse addiction as well as other provable injuries.
The vast majority of sexual abuse cases are settled prior to trial. Nonetheless, Paul Mones has the experience and skills needed to try these cases, as demonstrated by the fact that he obtained one of the largest jury verdicts in the nation against the Catholic Church (in 2007 for $11.45 million against the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York) and the largest verdict ever handed down by a jury against the Boy Scouts of America (in 2010 for $19.9 million in Portland, Oregon). Although every case is different and past results are no indication of future recovery, such results reflect both the hard work and dedication that Paul Mones puts into his cases.