Texas Sex Abuse Lawsuit – Lawsuit Information Center Blog

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Victims of sexual abuse or sexual assault in Texas can file civil lawsuits against their abuser and other third parties, such as schools, churches, etc. Our sex abuse lawyers help victims get financial compensation by filing civil lawsuits against parties who negligently allowed the abuse to occur or failed to prevent it.

In this post, we will look at the process of filing a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse in Texas. We will look at the relevant laws regarding sex abuse and the average settlement value of these cases.


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Texas Sex Abuse Lawsuit Updates:

March 29, 2024: A plastic surgeon from the Houston area has been ordered by a Texas appeals court to respond to allegations of sexually assaulting a patient during her recovery from breast augmentation surgery. The court concluded that the patient is not required to provide expert testimony to prove that sexual assault does not adhere to accepted medical practice.

The First Court of Appeals’ three-justice panel dismissed the surgeon’s ridiculous claim that the patient needed to present a medical expert’s report to proceed with her lawsuit. The focus of the patient’s allegations is on inappropriate contact that clearly does not pertain to the medical procedure performed.

What is the case about? The patient has accused the surgeon of engaging in sexual misconduct while she was in the recovery room post-surgery in October 2022, including making inappropriate physical contact with her. She initiated a lsex abuse awsuit against the surgeon and his practice, alleging assault, sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and gross negligence.

February 22, 2024: A Catholic priest from Brownsville, Texas has been arrested and charged with child molestation and sex trafficking. The priest, Fernando Gonzalez Ortega, was promptly removed from his duties by the church following the arrest.

February 24, 2023: A new law was formally introduced in the Texas legislature (Tx. H.B. 206) that would fully eliminate the statute of limitations period for victims of child sexual abuse to bring civil lawsuits.

Filing a Civil Lawsuit for Sex Abuse in Texas

Texas law permits victims of sex abuse to bring civil lawsuits and seek monetary compensation. The right to bring a civil lawsuit is not contingent on whether the victim pressed criminal charges. Abuse victims can file a civil suit regardless of whether they reported the abuse to the police when it happened. It also doesn’t matter whether the abuser was convicted.

Victims can bring civil lawsuits for sexual abuse as long as they are presently willing to testify under oath about the facts of the alleged sexual abuse or assault. Other forms of evidence, such as medical records or fact testimony from other witnesses, can also support the victim’s testimony.

If you file a sexual abuse lawsuit in Texas, the case will be public record. However, you may be able to keep your name and identity confidential. Texas’s court rules allow victims to keep their names confidential and use “Jane Doe” or initials in court filings.

Holding Third Parties Liable in Texas Sex Abuse Lawsuits

If you want to file a sex abuse lawsuit in Texas, you always have the option of naming the individual who actually committed the abuse as a defendant. Unless that person is rich and famous, however, suing the abuser is usually pointless because they probably don’t have money to pay for a settlement or verdict in the case (even if they are not already dead or in jail).

If you want to get money in a sex abuse civil lawsuit in Texas, you need to go after a third party with deep pockets or insurance like a school, church, or organization. Third parties such as schools and churches can be held liable in sex abuse cases based on negligence. If you can show that the third party defendant was negligent and that negligence enabled the abuse to happen, they can be liable.

For example, if a teacher sexually abuses a student, the school can be named a third-party defendant. The school can be held liable for failing to investigate, negligent supervision, or negligent hiring. Another example would be if you get raped in a dimly lit parking garage, you could sue the garage owner for negligent security.

What Constitutes Sexual Abuse Under Texas Law?

Under Texas law, sexual assault or battery is defined as any non-consensual touching of a person’s intimate parts intentionally done for sexual gratification or arousal. Under this broad definition, anything from groping breasts at an office happy hour to forcible rape falls under the definition of sexual assault or abuse.

Two critical elements must be present for an action to qualify as sexual battery in Texas: (1) sexual intent and (2) lack of consent. The first element is sexual intent. The plaintiff must show that the defendant engaged in unwanted touching for sexual gratification. Accidentally touching someone’s private parts does not count.

The second element is the lack of consent. For intentional touching to qualify as sexual battery, it must be done without consent. Legally, children under the age of 18 cannot give consent to sexual touching. This means that any intentional sexual contact with a minor by an adult lacks consent and qualifies as sexual battery.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse Lawsuits

A statute of limitations is a law that bars legal claims that are too old from being filed in court, favoring more recent cases and victims who come forward quickly about what happened to them.  For most injury cases in Texas, the statute of limitations is very short – just 2 years. Fortunately, the statute of limitations for sex abuse cases involving child victims is much longer.

Under Texas law, if the sexual abuse took place when the victim was a child (under age 18) then that victim has until their 48th birthday (30 years after they turn 18) to file a civil lawsuit based on that abuse. Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.0045(a)

For cases in which the victim of the sexual abuse or assault was an adult, the statute of limitations is usually 5 years under Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.0045(b).

Texas Sexual Abuse Verdicts and Settlements

$325,000,000 Verdict (2023): The plaintiff filed this lawsuit against her grandfather (a wealthy businessman) alleging the he sexually abused her between the ages of 5-8 and gave her an incurable STD as a result of the sexual abuse. The grandfather was eventually criminally convicted and sent to prison. This was largest sexual assault verdict is Texas history.

$300,000 Verdict (2019): The plaintiff, a minor female, was reportedly sexually assaulted by defendant while she was in his home where his wife was babysitting her. The lawsuit alleged that the defendant inappropriately engaged in illicit sexual conduct with her resulting in her physical and emotional injuries.

$550,000 Settlement (2018): A 13-year-old girl was violently sexually assaulted and threatened with physical harm by an employee of the defendant moving company. The assault occurred when the employee came to the victims house as part of a moving crew to move her family into a new residence. The lawsuit alleged that the employee had a lengthy criminal history which included previous convictions for sexual assault of a minor, indecent exposure, failure to register as a sex offender and assault family violence. They also alleged that the moving company was negligent in failing to do a background check before hiring the employee.

$4,500,000 Verdict (2016): The plaintiff, a young boy, was sexually abuse and assaulted over a 2 year period by the principal of his elementary school. The lawsuit alleged that the school district knew or should have known that the principal was a pedophile and that they did nothing about it and failed to investigate.

$17,500 Settlement (2014): The plaintiff, a minor, was allegedly sexually assaulted by an employee at the defendant day care center. The lawsuit alleged that the daycare was negligent in hiring and training of its staff who were entrusted with the care of minor children. There is no description of the nature of the abuse, but it was presumably not very severe given the low settlement amount.

$73,000 Verdict: A 17-year-old male suffered posttraumatic stress disorder after he was sexually molested by the male codefendant Catholic priest, employed by the defendant, after he was invited to the priest’s home. The plaintiff contended that the codefendant negligently attempted inappropriate sexual advances upon him and negligently served him alcoholic beverages.

$50,000 Settlement (2014): The plaintiff, a middle-school aged female, lived in the defendant’s apartment complex. The plaintiff was sexually assaulted by a male classmate in a vacant apartment in the complex. She sued the apartment complex for negligence for failing to secure the vacant apartment in which she was assaulted.

$125,000 Settlement (2013): While attending a preschool academy affiliated with a church, two minor female students were sexually assaulted by the operator of the academy. The lawsuit alleged that the academy had negligently failed to provide a safe environment.

Contact Our Texas Sex Abuse Lawyers

If you are considering filing a civil lawsuit for sex abuse in Texas, contact us at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation.

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