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Home > Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer > Pennsylvania Child Sex Abuse Lawyer

Pennsylvania Child Sex Abuse Lawyer

Childhood sex abuse has a lifelong impact on the victim and their entire family. It may lead to increased anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms. In such cases of abuse, the family has the right to pursue compensation for the child’s suffering. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, our Pennsylvania child sex abuse lawyers provide information about the rights of victims and their families and help them pursue compensation.

This page has been written and edited by a team of experienced legal writers . This page was approved by Managing Partner, Michael Saile who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

This page has been written and edited by a team of experienced legal writers . This page was approved by Managing Partner, Michael Saile who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

The effects of sexual abuse last far beyond the initial crime. Children who have experienced sexual abuse suffer from an increased risk of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and a whole host of other psychological and physical disorders. Many of these impacts can stay with victims for the rest of their lives, especially when they do not receive adequate support from caregivers and trusted adults. 

Working with a Pennsylvania child sex abuse lawyer at Cordisco & Saile LLC cannot undo the abuse your child suffered, but it can help your family restore some sense of justice and recover damages related to your child’s abuse, including compensation for medical and therapy costs. 

How Can a Child Sex Abuse Lawyer Help?

At Cordisco & Saile LLC, we never stop fighting as we guide our clients through an abuse claim. Our nationally recognized, award-winning attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for clients in a wide range of injury claims in Pennsylvania, including child sexual abuse. We will do the following for you and your family:

  • Learn who’s responsible for your child’s abuse: The perpetrator is often not the only party responsible. Too often, sexual abuse occurs while a child is under the care of a trusted institution with a legal duty to protect the children in its care. When an organization fails to provide a safe environment, the family has the right to pursue compensation. We investigate the cause of your child’s abuse to identify all liable parties.
  • Evaluate your case and determine the compensation you deserve: Child sex abuse can create many costly problems for the family. We help our clients evaluate their financial and non-financial losses and build a claim.
  • Fight for justice on your child’s behalf: Abusers face criminal charges, but often they don’t. Furthermore, the organizations that enable them are rarely charged. We will work through the civil courts to hold perpetrators and their enablers responsible for your child’s suffering.  

Our attorneys treat our clients with compassion and understanding while they manage the difficult, often emotional legal process. Contact our child sex abuse lawyers in Pennsylvania to file a claim on your child’s behalf or to discuss their rights following sexual abuse or assault.

"I reached out to C&S about abuse that happened to me many years ago, told them my story, and they were so quick to respond with kindness and professionalism. I spoke with the paralegal Barbara and then Steve DeBonis. Barbara was so kind, patient, empathetic, and informative as I discussed my trauma and the direction I’d like to take. Steve gave me so much helpful information, to include phone numbers and laws surrounding how I could move forward to press charges. I am grateful for their kindness and professionalism when it comes to such a sensitive matter. Highly recommend if you’re looking for someone to represent you and hold your story."

How Much Is a Child Sex Abuse Case Worth?

The financial value of a child sex abuse case depends on the extent of the damages your child has suffered. At Cordisco & Saile LLC, our lawyers will carefully evaluate your family’s specific losses. You may be able to seek compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills: You can include medical treatment, STD testing, and pregnancy care as part of your claim.
  • Psychological treatment: Therapy and treatment are recommended following childhood sexual abuse. 
  • Pain and suffering: While these are not financial losses, your child and family deserve compensation for the terrible effects of abuse. Our child sex abuse attorneys will calculate the value of pain and suffering for your claim.
  • Lost wages: You can recover any wages you lose while caring for your child, such as during therapy visits.
  • Loss of earning capacity and business opportunities: The effects of child sex abuse can linger long into adulthood and interfere with a victim’s future career opportunities. 

There is no set value for a child sex abuse claim. But by working with a child sex abuse lawyer, you will get a better idea of what compensation your family can pursue. 

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The Child Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations

Under a 2019 Pennsylvania law amending the statute of limitations, child sexual abuse survivors abused before age 18 have until their 55th birthday to file a lawsuit.

Before the 2019 law, the civil statute of limitations required child victims to file a case within 12 years of turning 18, or by age 30. However, the 2019 law was not retroactive, so survivors who had already turned 30 by 2019 are time-barred from filing lawsuits. 

Meanwhile, the 2019 law also gives individuals who were between the ages of 18 and 23 when the sexual abuse occurred until their 30th birthday to file suit. While people between 18 and 23 are not considered minors, they can still suffer sexual abuse from forcible compulsion—via physical, emotional, or psychological force—or the threat of forcible compulsion. 

resolution passed in February 2023 by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives may temporarily prolong the statute of limitations. According to the proposed legislation, child sex abuse victims who had previously reached the statute of limitations in their cases would have the right to file a claim for the next two years. The measure still needs approval by the Senate and then would go before voters in November 2023. 

sad child looking outside of window

What is Child Sex Abuse?

Child sexual abuse occurs when an adult or an older child uses a minor for sexual stimulation.

Types of Child Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can take several forms. It includes but is not limited to sexual acts of oral, anal, or vaginal penetration. Sexual abuse also includes: 

  • An adult or older child deliberately exposing themselves to a minor
  • Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the child to masturbate for the sexual pleasure of the perpetrator
  • Obscene interactions, including digital content
  • Fondling the child’s breasts, genitals, or rear
  • Forcing the child to touch the perpetrator in a sexual way
  • Trafficking

Producing sexual content, including pornography, with a child also constitutes childhood sexual abuse. 

Liability for Child Sex Abuse

Sexual abuse occurs in child and youth organizations throughout Pennsylvania. These entities have a legal duty to protect children in their care. If they fail to do so, the organizations and their leaders may be responsible for child sexual abuse. Examples of organizations held liable for child sex abuse include the following:

These organizations should exercise precautions to prevent  from abuse and exploitation. Background checks, clear visibility of staff members, and a system of oversight that does not allow a single coach or leader to spend time alone with any minor can help decrease the risk of child sex abuse. When organizations fail in their duty of care to the children who trust them, they may bear liability for sex abuse. 

Effects of Child Sex Abuse

Childhood sex abuse leads to long-term implications and suffering for many victims, including the following: 

  • Sexually transmitted diseases 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Nightmares
  • Depression, anxiety, and PTSD
  • Increased frequency of bedwetting
  • Risk of relationship trouble later in life
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Insomnia

While therapy can ease some symptoms, sufferers note that child sex abuse stays with them for the rest of their lives. 

sad person looking outside of window

Child Sexual Abuse Law in Pennsylvania

Title 18 of Pennsylvania’s Consolidated Statutes has several sections that criminalize sexual abuse of children. Among the provisions are the following:

  • Statutory assault, a second-degree felony, occurs when someone has intercourse with a minor under 16 to whom they are not married, and that perpetrator is four or more years older than the victim. This includes cases in which the victim may have appeared to give consent. 
  • When the perpetrator is more than 11 years older than the victim and the victim is under 16, it is a first-degree felony. 
  • If a person forces someone else to engage in sexual contact, regardless of the victim’s age, it is considered sexual assault. 
  • A person who has sex with someone under 13 commits a felony of the first degree. 
  • When the child suffers a serious bodily injury from sexual assault, the perpetrator commits a first-degree felony. 
Pennsylvania’s Title 18 § 6312 addresses child pornography. It criminalizes the creation of any type of child pornography, including photos and videos. Looking at or spreading child pornography, even if the perpetrator was not involved in its creation, is also illegal under Pennsylvania law. 

Title 18 also provides that a teacher, coach, or employee of a childcare center commits a third-degree felony when they engage in intercourse with a child under the care of that school or center. 

Contact Cordisco & Saile LLC for Help With a Child Sex Abuse Claim

If your child suffered sexual abuse due to the negligent actions of a school, club, or organization, Cordisco & Saile LLC can help. We offer compassionate support, guidance, and representation throughout the litigation process. Contact our Pennsylvania child sex abuse lawyers to start your claim.

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