Civil Suit vs Criminal Charges for Sexual Abuse: What’s the Difference?
Filing a claim for your abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an incredibly brave step. We understand that decision was not made lightly, and we want to make sure you have the resources to make informed decisions throughout this process.
After deciding to file a sexual abuse claim you will need to decide whether to file civil or criminal charges. Essentially, the difference between the two types of lawsuits can be broken down to the following characteristics:
- Civil Lawsuits – Cases that protect, Implement, or fix private rights. In civil lawsuits, you or the person you choose to represent you initiates legal action against your abuser or those liable for your abuse.
- Criminal Lawsuits – Formal chargers claiming someone has committed a crime. Criminal chargers are initiated by a government prosecutor.
Additionally, civil lawsuits and criminal lawsuits bear different weights when it comes to the “burden of proof.” The “burden of proof” is the job of a party to prove or disprove an argued statement. In this case, the “argued statement” would be your sexual abuse. Typically, criminal charges bear the heavier weight with burden of proof. This is because government prosecutors must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged abuser is guilty.
However, with civil suits the burden of proof is lower, because only you must prove what happened. You don’t have to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that the abuse occurred; you only need to present a preponderance of evidence that the abuse occurred and prove your injuries and their value to the court.
Why Choose a Civil Suit Over Criminal Charges?
Many of our clients ask why they should file civil charges for their abuse in the Mormon Church instead of criminal charges. Usually, this decision comes down to compensation. In a criminal case, if your abuser is found guilty, very rarely do you receive any sort of monetary compensation or “damages” from the conviction. In contrast, in civil lawsuits the jury can only award damages for the harm inflicted on you. They cannot convict your abuser.
While compensation cannot undo damage your abuser has caused, many survivors decide to file a civil suit to receive compensation for their injuries or to hold their abuser and affiliates accountable for the abuse. Sexual abuse victims often endure severe physical and emotional trauma from their abuse, leading to the need for counseling, therapy, and other medial treatments. Counseling is not always covered by insurance, so monetary compensation from a civil suit can help ease those financial burdens.
Where You Sexually Abused in the Mormon Church?
To see if you may be eligible to file a civil claim for your abuse in the Mormon Church, connect with our advocates today. We’re here to support you during this difficult time as you seek justice for your abuse. We understand that confronting abuse in the Church is not only frightening but overwhelming to approach; our sexual abuse attorneys are here to relieve the stress for you so you can focus on healing, not cutting through red tape.
For your free, no-obligation consultation, reach out to our sexual abuse attorneys today. We will walk you through our easy case evaluation to see if you may be eligible for compensation for your abuse. We promise that the information you share with us is kept confidential, and if you decide filing a claim is not in your best interest, you are in no obligation to our firm.
To speak with a caring representative today, reach out to us at 877.LDS.ATTY.
Where Can I File a Claim for My Sexual Abuse?
After deciding to pursue legal action for your abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it may seem confusing and overwhelming figuring out the details of filing a claim. One of the major factors of this process is deciding where you will file the claim.
Typically, you will file a sexual abuse lawsuit based on where the abuse took place. For example, if a sexual abuse survivor was molested by a Latter-day Saint bishop as a child at a ward in Montana, the claim would be filed in Montana.
However, abuse often happens in multiple states or locations. For example, many Scoutmasters in the Boy Scouts of America were bishops in the Mormon Church. Cases have occurred where Mormon Scoutmasters would violently molest children on BSA camping trips, some of which happened out of state. Some states have opened up more lenient statute of limitations (SOL) on civil cases of child sexual abuse, and consulting with a sexual abuse attorney can help you decide where the best place to your claim would be based on the state's SOL.
An attorney can help you decide where to file the lawsuit after considering several crucial factors, including but not limited to the following:
- History of the abuse
- Where the abuse happened
- Where an organization or company involved or associated with the abuse ins located (whether that be their headquarters or where they do business)
- Additional locations where your abuser had other incidents of abuse or misconduct
- Other occasions where your abuser interacted with you
- Locations(s) where your abuser was relocated to by an organization or company after they heard of the abuse.
Where You Sexually Abused in the Mormon Church?
If you were sexually abused as a child in the Mormon Church, you are not alone or without options for help. We understand that confronting abuse in the Church is not only frightening but overwhelming to approach; our advocates are here to relieve the stress for you so you can focus on healing, not cutting through red tape.
The sexual abuse attorneys with Abused in Mormonism fight aggressively to make sure your abusers in the Church are held accountable for their crimes against you and fairly compensation you for your pain and suffering. We offer free, no-obligation case consultations with our legal professionals to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your abuse. We promise that the information you share with us is kept confidential, and if you decide filing a claim is not in your best interest, you are in no obligation to our firm.
To speak with a caring representative today, reach out to us at 877.LDS.ATTY.
Governor Cuomo Extends New York’s Child Victims Act due to COVID-19
In wake of the coronavirus pandemic slowing or halting the U.S.’s justice system, Governor Andrew Cuomo decided to extend a window of time that completely removes New York statute of limitations for filing sexual abuse lawsuits. On May 8, Gov. Cuomo extended New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA) an additional five months so sexual abuse survivors could have their day in court. New York stopped accepting new cases in March due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because of the reduction in court services due to the virus, we are extending that window for an additional five months until January 14th to ensure survivors have the access to the courts that they need to file a claim and get the long-overdue justice they deserve,” Cuomo said after announcing the window extension.
New York’s Child Victims act was passed last year and opened up a one-year look back window that completely removes the state’s statute of limitations for filing civil suits for sexual abuse during that period of time. Even claims that were previously considered “ineligible” under old statute of limitations can be revived during this one-year period of time. So far around 1,700 lawsuits have been filed since the look back window opened, abuse survivors filing claims against abusers and institutions like the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church.
The one-year look back window was set to expire August 14, 2020. Now, the new deadline is scheduled for January 14, 2021.
“As the unemployment rate spikes above 14%, it’s unreasonable to expect survivors of child sexual abuse to do the emotional and legal work necessary to file CVA lawsuits while simultaneously fighting to pay rent and put food on the table,” said Dem. Brad Hoylman, a New York state senator who pushed for the look back window extension.
Were You Sexually Abused in the Mormon Church in New York?
If you were a victim of sexual abuse in New York, you may have an extended chance to pursue justice against your abusers or institutions that covered up your abuse, like the Mormon Church. We understand that filing a claim against the Church that you put your trust into can be difficult. The sexual abuse attorneys with Abused in Mormonism are here to help you through this hard time and value your voice.
We help survivors of sexual abuse in the Mormon Church seek the healing and recovery they need through filing a claim against their abusers and holding them accountable for your abuse. This extension of the Child Victims Act may give you the time and chance you need to hold your abusers in the Church responsible for their crimes against you. To speak to a caring representative today and see if you may be eligible to file a claim for your abuse, contact Abused in Mormonism today at 877.LDS.ATTY.
LDS Congregation Told Not to Research Sex Abuse Case by Bishop
A recent scandal revealed a bishop in the Mormon Church told
a congregation not to look into the details of a child sex abuse crime in their
stake and ward. ABC4
Utah received an audio recording from a member of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-Day Saints, depicting how a bishop chose to explain, or, not
explain the circumstances surrounding the case.
According to the bishop, a member of the Mormon Church was
arrested for creating and possessing giant amounts of child pornography. The bishop’s
name reveals anonymous, along with the name ad location of the LDS congregation
in question, to protect the victims’ identities.
“We knew at some point that this day would come and we would
have to make an announcement and let you be aware of what’s going on and the
facts so that there would be no speculation,” the anonymous bishop said in the
recording. “The appropriate measures have been taken in a ward and a stake
arena to talk to families who he was near or who associated with him and it’s
been discussed with them.”
However, following this statement, the bishop proceeded to
ask the church members to not look into the details of the abuse.
“It’s up to us to stop the speculation and the discussion,
it’s not our news to discuss, it’s our burden to share and help provide an
atmosphere that the family can start to heal at some point.
The bishop followed up with asking the congregation to come
to him personally if they want more information.
According to experts in child sex abuse cases, communication
and open communication is extremely important in order to prevent future cases
of abuse, not silence. ABC4 Utah interviewed Laurieann Thorpe, Executive
Director of Prevent Child Abuse Utah (PCAU) who provided advice for those
wondering how to address sexual abuse reports.
“The number one thing is to talk about it, with the
appropriate terms so that we’re openly addressing that there is a possibility
always in any circumstance of child sexual abuse,” Thorpe explained.
To read the full story and learn more about how to help
prevent child sex abuse, click
here. To come forward and talk to a lawyer about your rights after being
abused in the Mormon Church, call us today at 877.537.2889.
Mormon Bishop Arrested for Owning Child Porn, Denied Bail
Investigators Suspect LDS Bishop May Have Sexually Abused
A Latter-day Saints bishop has been arrested for owning
thousands of images of child pornography, and investigators suspect he may have
sexually abused children, as well. According to The Salt
Lake Tribune, Timothy James Hallows, a Mormon bishop from Kaysville, Utah,
was booked October 16 into the Davis County jail.
Law enforcement denied Hallows bail, calling him a “substantial
danger” to the community and a flight risk. Investigators arrested Hallows on
suspicion of eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, which could lead
to a maximum 15-year prison sentence if he is charged and convicted.
Revealed through a probable cause statement, law enforcement
was made aware of Hallows’ crimes through a tip made by Microsoft. Microsoft
owns the video-chat app Skype, which the company said a user had been utilizing
to upload and send out pictures of child porn. Microsoft alerted the National
Center for Missing and Exploited Children of the crimes on August 6.
Responding to the tip, investigators from Davis County
served a subpoena on Comcast on October 3. This subpoena led to Hallows’ home
and IP address in Kaysville, where he was arrested. Federal, state, and local
officials with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force served a search
warrant of Hallows’ home on October 16, investigators found thousands of child
porn images, some of them including images of child abuse.
According to the statement, Hallows talked to investigators,
waving his Miranda rights against self-incrimination. The 61-year-old man
admitted to taking pictures of children on various camping trips he went on as
part of his role as a Mormon bishop. The statement also indicated that when
asked whether he had sexual contact with kids, Hallows “…stated uh huh, and
shook his head in affirmation.”
Sexual Abuse in the Mormon Church
Only in the last decade have survivors of sexual abuse in
the Mormon Church started coming forward and holding their abusers in the
Church accountable for their actions. According to allegations, for years the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has silenced reports of sexual
abuse through quiet dismissals, not reporting cases to the police, and using
personal Church-sanctioned lawyers to settle complaints with victims. In doing
so, potentially hundreds of predators within the Church have not been brought
to justice for their crimes, left to abuse more children.
If you were abused by an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or had your abuse report silenced by the Mormon Church, you need to know you are not alone. There are resources available to help you through this difficult time, and we want to help you know and understand your options so you can recover and heal. To learn more about your options after being sexually abused in the Mormon Church, talk with us today. We have caring, compassionate professionals standing by 24/7 to answer your questions and concerns, and we promise the information you share with us is kept confidential.