Minnesota’s Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Lawyers
Special Notice for Adult Victims - The Three Year Window
Pursuant to the Child Victims Act, adult victims of childhood sexual abuse now have a three year window within which to bring claims against those responsible. This window applies to victims whose claims were previously barred by the prior statute of limitations. The window will close in May 2016. If you are an adult victim and you wish to pursue your claim, you should do so well in advance of the May 2016 deadline.
For more information on the statute of limitations in cases of sexual abuse please scroll down this page.
We help survivors of sexual abuse and sexual assault by giving them the opportunity to hold their abusers accountable. Using the law to hold a perpetrator of such abuse responsible for what he or she has done takes courage. While the experience of facing down one's abuser can be empowering for our clients, it is not an easy task. Those survivors who are willing to stand up and expose their perpetrators should be commended for their strength and resolve. They are the brave few who make it easier for other sex abuse victims to come forward. Those people who have the strength come forward make it harder for perpetrators to continue harming the children of our communities and operating "under the radar." Sexual abuse is a persistent and damaging problem in our society. Only by exposing abusers and forcing them to face justice can we bring about the change necessary to stop more abuse from occurring.
Our lawyers have secured some of the most substantial sexual abuse and sex assault victories in Minnesota state history. Recent results include a $10,500,000.00 verdict obtained by Michael Hall III, in which a Stearns County jury held an adult male responsible for having sexually abused his own niece. Another lawsuit handled by Mr. Hall involved a $4,000,000.00 judgment against a Northern Minnesota man who was found guilty of sexually abusing his two minor children. In July 2013, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Mr. Hall secured a $7,000,000.00 judgment against an adult male perpetrator who had been sexually abusing a teenage boy.
Sexual abuse cases present unique legal challenges that require the skill of an attorney experienced in this area of the law. The attorneys at Hall Law are experts in sexual abuse cases. Firm lawyers have litigated sex abuse claims in both Minnesota and California and have been holding perpetrators accountable for for years.
From our two main offices in Edina and St. Cloud we serve sex abuse clients statewide, from the Minneapolis metro, to Central and Northern Minnesota. If you're a survivor of sexual abuse, and you're wondering about your legal options, you are welcome to call our office for advice.
What is sexual abuse?
According to Minnesota law the term "sexual abuse" describes those physical acts which, if committed, would constitute criminal sexual conduct. Criminal sexual conduct includes an array of wrongful acts set forth in Minnesota statute sections 609.342 through 609.345. In this context it is probably not useful to recount all the different circumstances of sexual abuse contemplated by the statute. Instead, it is sufficient to note that sexual abuse typically involves either: (1) acts of intentional sexual contact or sexual penetration upon a minor, or (2) intentional, non-consensual, sexual contact or sexual penetration upon an adult. Non-consensual abuse can occur in a variety of contexts including situations involving force, coercion, or situations where the victim is mentally incapacitated and thus unable to give consent.
Unfortunately sexual abuse and sexual assault remain a significant problem in our society. Abuse can occur in multiple different venues including our schools, the work place, and even in our religious centers. Such abuse can take on many forms and can include acts such as rape, sexual assault, improper touching and/or fondling. Moreover, the perpetrators of such abuse can come from all different sectors of our society. By their very nature, acts of sexual abuse and sexual assault often remain secret and hidden from public scrutiny. As a result, those who perpetrate such acts often go on with their lives without ever being held responsible for their crimes. In recent years that phenomenon has been changing. More and more victims are coming forward and holding their attackers responsible for their actions in civil court.
what is the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases?
In May 2013 the Minnesota State Legislature passed a bill known as the Child Victims Act. The bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in both the Minnesota House and Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Dayton on May 24, 2013.
The historic bill changed Minnesota's statute of limitations applicable to civil claims for sexual abuse. Specifically, the new law expands the time-frame within which victims of childhood sexual abuse will be allowed to hold their perpetrators legally accountable, and makes it much more difficult for perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse to avoid justice by relying on the passage of time as a defense.
The language of the law passed in May 2013 is set forth as follows:
541.073 ACTIONS FOR DAMAGES DUE TO SEXUAL
Subdivision 1. Definition. As used in this section,
(1) “sexual abuse” means conduct described in sections 609.342 to 609.3451; and
(2) “person” includes a natural person, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, organization, association, or other entity.
Subd. 2. Limitations period. (a) An action for damages based on sexual abuse must be commenced within six years of the alleged sexual abuse in the case of alleged sexual abuse of an individual 18 years or older; (2) may be commenced at any time in the case of alleged sexual abuse of an individual under the age of 18, except as provided for in subdivision 4; and (3) must be commenced before the plaintiff is 24 years of age in a claim against a natural person alleged to have sexually abused a minor when that natural person was under 14 years of age.
(b) The plaintiff need not establish which act in a continuous series of sexual abuse acts by the defendant caused the injury.
(c) This section does not affect the suspension of the statute of limitations during a period of disability under section 541.15.
Subd. 3. Applicability. This section applies to an action for damages commenced against a person who was a cause of the plaintiff's damages either by (1) committing sexual abuse against the plaintiff, or (2) negligence.
Subd. 4. Vicarious liability or respondeat superior claims. A claim for vicarious liability or liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior must be commenced within six years of the alleged sexual abuse, provided that if the plaintiff was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged abuse, the claim must be commenced before the plaintiff is 24 years of age. This subdivision does not limit the availability of these claims under other law.
Subd. 5. Title. This section may be cited as the “Child Victims Act.”
EFFECTIVE DATE; APPLICABILITY. (a) This section is effective the day following final enactment. Except as provided in paragraph (b), this section applies to actions that were not time-barred before the effective date.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, in the case of alleged sexual abuse of an individual under the age of 18, if the action would otherwise be time-barred under a previous version of Minnesota Statutes, section 541.073, or other time limit, an action for damages against a person, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 541.073, subdivision 1, clause (2), may be commenced no later than three years following the effective date of this section. This paragraph does not apply to a claim for vicarious liability or respondeat superior, but does apply to other claims, including negligence. This paragraph applies to actions pending on or commenced on or after the effective date.
If you have been sexually abused or assaulted and you have questions about how this law might apply to your situation, you are welcome to call our office for a free consultation.
The above discussion regarding the statute of limitations in sex abuse cases is accurate as of June 5, 2013. Laws change over time. If you are viewing this at a later date and you have questions about the statute of limitations for sex abuse claims you should consult a lawyer.
What legal options are available to a victim of sexual abuse?
In Minnesota, in the civil law context, a victim of sexual abuse may bring an action against (1) the person who committed sexual abuse against the victim, or (2) the entity which negligently permitted sexual abuse against the victim to occur. Thus, Minnesota law permits sexual abuse actions against both the actual abuser and against those who were in such a position that they could have and should have stopped the abuse from occurring.
Ramifications of Sexual Abuse
The residual effects of sexual abuse can develop and intensify over time. Symptoms which are common in survivors include: feelings of guilt, shame, helplessness and hopelessness. Victims of sexual abuse often turn to alcohol or drug dependence as a way to escape these feelings. Many sexual abuse survivors have problems in their personal relationships and in their careers.
Abuse survivors often suffer severe emotional harm requiring long term counseling and other forms of mental health treatment. If you are the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, we recommend you see a mental health professional so they can provide you with professional assistance as you work through the difficulties that abuse victims often face. We believe victims of sexual abuse are well served by establishing a relationship with a therapist so that in times of emotional crisis they have someone they can turn to.
Preserve Your Rights
At Hall Law, our attorneys are experts in sexual abuse litigation. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault you are welcome to call and talk with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to discuss your legal options. Consultation with our attorneys is free and confidential. 1 (800) 292-1979.
Disclaimer: The case results discussed on this website, and in other firm materials, are a sampling of prior results achieved. The success we've had on prior cases is not a guarantee of success on any future case. Results differ from case to case and are highly dependent on the facts and law of each individual case.
The verdict results referenced in our materials represent the total amount of damages set forth on the jury's verdict form. Verdicts obtained can often result in actual monetary recoveries that are higher or lower than the amount set forth on the verdict form due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to, the addition of items such as statutory interest, the taxation of costs and disbursements, additur (upward adjustment of the verdict by the trial court), remittitur (downward adjustment of the verdict by the trial court). Following trial, verdicts can be challenged, appealed, overturned, reversed, remanded, vacated and/or affirmed. Unless otherwise stated, the verdicts referenced on this website, and in other firm materials, do not account for any post-trial changes to the original verdict. Judgments can often result in actual monetary recoveries that are different than the amount set forth in the judgment due to a variety of factors including, but not limited to, collectability issues on the part of the judgment debtor and/or the adequacy of applicable insurance coverage.