Experienced Portland Sexual Abuse Attorneys
Confronting sexual abuse issues, regardless of whether the event was recent or took place years ago, can be a particularly traumatizing ordeal for any victim as well as their families and loved ones. With years of experience in this sensitive area of litigation, the entire legal team at D’Amore Law Group offers understanding, caring attention to the multitude of challenges our clients are facing. Disclosing the painful details of your sexual abuse with another individual is a significant step in the recovery process. As difficult as this process can be, it is necessary to confront the party liable for your pain and suffering. Our skilled and empathic Portland sexual abuse lawyers want to empower you to seek justice so that you can truly heal.
At D’Amore Law Group, we fully comprehend the overwhelming emotional, physical, and psychological anguish that victims of sexual assault have endured. Our staff knows that our clients require adequate time and thought to fully recover and determine whether they wish to pursue the legal actions available to them in order to both obtain justice and compensation for their injuries. Our goal is to explain the legal options available to you in a comprehensible, straightforward, and confidential manner that gives you the confidence to make an informed decision moving forward.
What Is Sexual Abuse?
Specific laws vary significantly by jurisdiction, but sexual assault or abuse generally refers to any criminal offense in which the defendant subjects the plaintiff to sexual activity that is either coercive or offensive. These criminal offenses can range from coerced sexual groping or touching to rape. Oregon state law (Or. Rev. Stat. § 163.427) defines sexual abuse in the first degree as: “Subjecting another person to sexual contact and: the victim is less than 14 years of age; the victim is subjected to forcible compulsion by the actor; or the victim is incapable of consent by reason of being mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.” The state of Oregon categorizes first degree sexual abuse as a Class B felony, which carries a penalty of 75 months to 10 years imprisonment and up to $250,000 in fines.
It should be noted, however, that Oregon has 17 different classifications of sexual abuse based on the severity of the given offense. If you suffered any type of abuse that was sexual in nature, you have legal options to bring those responsible to justice. If you or a loved one experienced any of the following traumatic events, contact our proven Portland sexual abuse lawyers at D’Amore Law Group today:
- Rape or Attempted Rape: Rape is criminalized in every state and jurisdiction and involves the coerced imposition of sexual intercourse that is not consented to by the victim.
- Sexual Assault: This category of criminal acts can include rape in addition to related crimes of sexual violence and coerced sexual activity that may not involve penetration. Specific laws vary by jurisdiction.
- Spousal Sexual Assault and Abuse: Coerced sexual activity in the context of a romantic relationship or marriage can include rape or another form of sexual abuse. Marriage is not a defense to a charge of sex abuse. The laws in some jurisdictions may increase the penalty for sexual abuse convictions when they satisfy the state’s description of domestic violence. Typically, domestic violence is limited to a current or past husband or wife, a cohabitant, or an individual who is involved in an intimate relationship with the accused.
- Child Molestation: The statutes in nearly every jurisdiction enhance the punishment for instances in which the victim is a prepubescent child or is below a predetermined age (usually spanning from 12 to 15). Sexual abuse of minors can include exposure of the victim to ponography, permitting or coercing a child to view adults engaged in sexual intercourse, producing pornographic content involving the exploitation of minors, and forcing minors to partake in prostitution are all actions that are legally prohibited by a multitude of state and federal statutes.
- Statutory Rape: The crime of statutory rape generally refers to a situation in which an individual, who has not yet reached the age of consent (usually between 16 to 18 depending on the jurisdiction), engages in sexual intercourse with an adult. The reasoning behind prohibiting this conduct is that minors are legally unable to consent to sex.
- Workplace Sexual Harassment: Federal and state statutes explicitly prohibit employers from engaging in activity that is sexual in nature with their employees. These various laws offer victimized employees civil and administrative recourse when this behavior occurs. While the legal definitions are nuanced, generally speaking, sexual harassment takes place when a job offer or employment-related benefit is conditioned on the individual consenting to sexual intercourse with a supervisor or there is coerced sexual contact in any context. Additionally, an established record of conduct that effectively creates a hostile work environment due to a person’s gender or appearance (such as sexual comments and similarly inappropriate behavior) might entitle an employee to seek legal action.
Selecting the right sexual assault or abuse lawyer is essential to ensure your case will receive the attention it deserves. At D’Amore Law Group, we firmly believe that survivors of sexual assault can experience fulfillment and empowerment through seeking civil action that brings the defendant’s wrongdoings to light. As such, our Portland sexual abuse attorneys are deeply committed to providing our clients with prompt and knowledgeable legal assistance.
Litigating Sexual Assault Cases
Generally, sexual assault is involuntary sexual contact that takes place due to the defendant’s use of force, coercion, or the victim’s incapacitation. The court will typically rule that the victim was incapacitated if he or she did not possess the mental ability to fully understand the nature of the sexual actions or if the victim was physically not able to communicate their unwillingness to participate in the sexual conduct in question. Commonly litigated examples of these charges range from excessive alcohol intake to the administering of date rape drugs. Most states, including Oregon, draw a distinction between crimes involving full sexual intercourse and crimes involving coerced or involuntary groping – defining the former as an aggravated or first-degree sexual assault and the latter as a less serious charge of sexual assault.
No matter the circumstances surrounding your case, you deserve to be heard. The knowledgeable Portland sexual abuse lawyers at D’Amore Law Group offer compassionate, understanding legal counsel to address your concerns and questions so that you can make an informed decision on what course of action is right for you and your recovery process.
An Abuse Survivor’s Story
Sex abusers often seek out victims where they are most vulnerable. In places like hospitals, it is the hospital’s job to safeguard against this abuse. In recent years, many victims of sexual abuse in medical facilities in Oregon have come forward to hold the perpetrators accountable. One of these women, “L,” was incapacitated with anesthesia and then sexually abused by the anesthesiologist.
She was hesitant to accuse the doctor; she did not want to falsely accuse someone of a serious crime. “L” didn’t know the anesthesiologist had been molesting and assaulting women at the hospital for at least three years. She didn’t know that the hospital had received multiple patient and staff complaints about him.
The hospital had been protecting a serial sex abuser.
“L” decided to hold them accountable. Tom D’Amore represented her at a jury trial in Oregon.
After nearly 4 weeks of trial, the jury decided that the hospital had been negligent and that its failure was so offensive that it deserved extra punishment. “L” was awarded $800,000 in compensation and $150,000 in punitive damages – a fine meant to punish the hospital.
Resources for Sexual Abuse and Exploitation:
- RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673
- Oregon Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence: 503-230-1951
- Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs: 360-754-7583
The Mission of D’Amore Law Group and Our Concerned Portland Sexual Abuse Lawyers
We are committed to securing justice for people and their families when they have been injured. We believe that wrongdoers should be held accountable, that everyone has a right to pursue justice, and no one should be denied that right for financial reasons. Our primary goal is to help our clients recover their health, well-being, and security.
Please call the D’Amore Law Group at 503-222-6333 or contact us online today to discuss your case with compassionate, experienced attorneys who will fight for you and the justice and damages you deserve. Our Portland sexual abuse attorneys provide compassionate representation for victims of sexual assault and abuse. We have offices in Portland, Lake Oswego, and Bend, Oregon; as well as in Vancouver, Washington.