Sexual Abuse in Schools, Colleges & Universities
College Sex Abuse Lawsuits
Colleges and universities across the nation have come under intense scrutiny over sexual misconduct. In addition to campus sexual assaults committed by students, colleges are also facing an increasing number of lawsuits for failing to protect students from abuse and covering up crimes.
Today, our laws and social climate are much different than they were in the past. Students are now courageously stepping forward to share their stories, and new laws, including those in New Jersey and New York, are providing additional time for survivors to bring claims.
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse or assault that occurred at a school, college, or other educational institution, Levy Konigsberg can provide the support and representation you need to seek justice.
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- Over $3 billion in compensation recovered for clients.
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Levy Konigsberg is a U.S. News “Best Law Firms” ranked trial practice that’s recovered billions in compensation for victims. Our college sex abuse attorneys have the resources to take on powerful defendants and are passionate about helping survivors make their voices heard.
Call (800) 315-3806 or contact us to request a confidential consultation.
College Sex Abuse Settlements Make National Headlines
Amid the #MeToo movement and groundbreaking progress in the fight for victims’ rights, schools and higher education institutions have been embroiled in high-stakes sexual abuse lawsuits. Some notable cases include:
- University of Michigan: In January 2022, the University of Michigan agreed to pay $490 million to over 1,000 survivors, many of whom were male football players, who claimed they were sexually assaulted by former sports doctor Robert Anderson. The settlement calls for $460 million to be split among 1,050 survivors and $30 million to be set aside for future claims. Anderson worked for the University for nearly 40 years (1966-2003) and served as the Health Service director and physician for multiple athletic teams, including football.
- Michigan State University: In 2018, Michigan State University reached a $500 settlement with 332 survivors who were sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a former associate professor and doctor whose victims included women and girls on the school’s gymnastics team. Per settlement terms, $75 million was be set aside for future claims against Nassar.
- Penn State University: In 2013, Penn State agreed to pay $59.7 million to 26 men who were sexually abused by the school’s former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky in a settlement equating to nearly $2.5 million per plaintiff. In total, Penn State has paid approximately $113 million in settlement payouts to claimants alone.
These are only a few of the many settlements American colleges have paid in sexual abuse cases, and they serve to highlight the profound pain and suffering endured by survivors. Our attorneys at Levy Konigsberg can help explore your options for pursuing a potential claim involving these institutions or other universities in the U.S.
Liability in College Sex Abuse Cases
College sexual abuse lawsuits are claims brought in civil court that seek justice, accountability, and financial compensation for the damages endured by survivors. They often involve abuse committed by teachers, coaches, doctors, and other school employees and commonly implicate major universities and school systems accused of failing to protect students.
Here are some important facts about civil sex abuse lawsuits against colleges and universities:
- Defendants: School sexual abuse lawsuits may name multiple parties as defendants. This includes not only the alleged wrongdoer (such as a teacher, coach, or team doctor), but also parties which bear responsibility for employees and which failed to uphold legal obligations owed to students, such as the school or university where the abuse occurred, school administrators, and school districts.
- Fault and Liability: Sexual abuse lawsuits focus on who is at fault and liable for the damages suffered by victims. As matters handled in civil court, they are separate from any criminal proceedings against a wrongdoer. And because civil cases use a lower burden of proof than that used in criminal cases (preponderance of the evidence vs. beyond a reasonable doubt), the outcome of any criminal case does not determine the outcome of a civil case; defendants can still be held liable in civil suits even if they are found not guilty (or even never charged) in criminal court.
- Negligence and Failures: Plaintiffs in sex abuse and sex assault lawsuits will generally need to prove that defendants were negligent or otherwise failed to uphold the legal obligations they owed students. This may include failing to properly screen teachers, coaches, or staff prior to hiring, negligent supervision of employees and students, and failures to appropriately handle complaints, conduct investigations, notify law enforcement, or follow school policies.
- Compensation: When a sexual abuse lawsuit is successfully settled or litigated, survivors will be entitled to financial compensation for the economic and non-economic damages arising from their abuse. This can include the costs of therapy and mental health care, lost income and earnings, and pain and suffering.
FAQ: College Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
How Long Do I Have to File a College Sex Abuse Lawsuit?
Like other civil claims, sexual abuse and assault lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations, which is essentially a deadline by which claims must be filed. If victims do not file claims before the statute of limitations expires, they are typically unable to recover compensation.
Statutes of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits vary by jurisdiction. In some states, the statute of limitations can be as few as 2 years from the date of the incident. In others, including those which have passed new laws expanding the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases, the time limit is longer. New Jersey, for example, now has a 7-year statute of limitations for most abuse cases and allows survivors who were abused as minors to bring claims until the age of 55, or within 7 years after realizing that abuse caused them harm, whichever is later.
Because it can be difficult to determine the deadline for your sexual abuse lawsuit, it is best to have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney. Our team at Levy Konigsberg can evaluate your options and the applicable statute of limitations for your potential claim during a free consultation.
What is Title IX and How Does It Relate to Sexual Abuse or Assault?
Title IX is a federal law that applies to any school or education program that receives federal funds. It protects against discrimination based on sex and prohibits sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape among students, faculty, and staff.
Universities and other educational institutions subject to Title IX have obligations to appropriately handle and investigate claims of sexual misconduct and can be held liable when it is determined that the institution knew, or reasonably should have known, of misconduct within its programs but failed to appropriately act or follow policies.
Colleges and universities often have their own processes for handling sexual misconduct complaints, referring matters to law enforcement, and imposing disciplinary actions against wrongdoers. Our attorneys can help survivors with issues related to Title IX proceedings in addition to our focus on pursuing a civil lawsuit.
How Much is My Claim Worth?
The potential value of any civil lawsuit depends on the unique facts and circumstances. In general, survivors who prevail in their civil lawsuits, either by securing a settlement or an award at trial, are entitled to a financial recovery of their damages. This can include expenses for therapy or mental health treatment and other economic losses arising from their abuse, as well as a victim’s pain and suffering and non-economic damages that can be difficult to equate into monetary sums.
At Levy Konigsberg, we know sexual abuse lawsuits deal largely with the profound and intangible emotional trauma endured by survivors, and work to meaningfully convey our clients’ pain and suffering when negotiating settlements or seeking awards at trial. We can discuss the potential value of your case and how we fight for the maximum recovery possible during a consultation.
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Levy Konigsberg has been trusted by clients and colleagues across the country to handle some of the most difficult and delicate cases. We draw from decades of experience, a deep pool of resources, and an unrelenting passion for helping victims make their voices heard.
If you have a potential sexual abuse or assault lawsuit against a school, college, or university, our team wants to help. We proudly serve clients nationwide and offer FREE and confidential consultations.
Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.
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