Representing Child Sex Abuse Victims
Sex Abuse Lawsuits in Rhode Island and Connecticut
My work on behalf of sexual abuse victims grew out of my early work representing
children. I had my first clients in 1982, as an Assistant Public Defender,
representing children who were alleged to be wayward or delinquent in
the Family Court. I found that many of my clients were victims of abuse,
and that the most difficult cases were not murders or B&E's, but
the cases in which the child I represented was himself or herself a victim
of abuse. These children often had profound treatment needs, and were
uncooperative with what little treatment was available. Frequently, they
were in a downward spiral of acting out, which the system responded to
with increasingly putative measures, and narrowing treatment options.
What was truly disturbing was that children were sometimes abused in the
system. Group homes and residential facilities, often short-staffed and
under budgetary pressure, occasionally failed to provide appropriate supervision.
Although these breakdowns may have been statistically rare, they wrought
horrific damage on already damaged children.
When representing victims of abuse, I would accomplish little simply defending
them on their latest in what could be a never-ending series of disruptive
offenses — breaking into their parent's home to steal a clock
radio was typical. The conduct was criminal, but the crime was not the problem.
Instead, I found much more was accomplished by focusing on "the best
interests of the child," such as:
- Getting treatment for the child
- In cases where a client was abused in care, that meant going after the
The Family Court was there for just that purpose.
When I entered private practice in 1987, a partner asked me to handle representation
of 3 students that were sexually abused by a teacher. Since that time,
I have handled civil sexual abuse cases in a variety of contexts, including
residential care facilities, treatment providers, child care officials,
and more recently
clergy abuse and
the Boy Scouts.
My office has represented adult victims of sexual abuse by a professional
— for example a doctor. Our lawyers have represented offenders only
in narrow circumstances — for instance, one offender was seeking
to use a portion of inherited funds to establish a trust for his victim.
We are presently engaged in negotiations regarding settlement of several
dozen clergy abuse cases in this state.
Contact Our Sexual Abuse Attorneys for Help
Our team of Rhode Island lawyers can explain to you more about your case
and how we can help your family get through this difficult time.
If you wish to inquire about the availability of services, you may
contact us online or call (401) 216-4414.