No Fees Unless We Win
Exclusively Representing Victims of Sexual Abuse
We exclusively represent survivors
of sex abuse
No win. No fee.
If you are looking for someone to take you seriously, treat you with respect and integrity, I would call the Herman Law Firm.
If you were sexually abused in Pennsylvania as a child, you now have the right to bring a claim and hold the institution (church, school, hospital, etc.) accountable, regardless of how old you are or how long ago it happened. The window to file your lawsuit is open for a limited time only. Contact us today to learn your options.
Jeff Herman is recognized as the country’s leading attorney for victims of sexual abuse. Jeff is aggressive, passionate and skilled. If you have a civil sexual abuse case, Jeff is the attorney you want representing you. As the firm’s founding and managing partner, Jeff has developed a national reputation for his powerful advocacy and unwavering dedication to his clients. He is a first-rate trial lawyer committed to empowering victims of sexual abuse to take back their lives and begin the healing process.
With over 30 years of experience, Jeff understands the tremendous challenges victims of sexual abuse encounter on their journey to recovery. He is considered to be a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse cases and has been featured on CNN, HLN, Fox News, The New York Times and many other national and international media outlets. Jeff believes that community advocacy is the key to preventing childhood sexual abuse and is involved with various organizations dedicated to protecting children from sexual abuse through comprehensive education. Jeff volunteers his time to train law enforcement on interviewing child victims of sexual abuse.
Proactive, effective, efficient and vigorous in the way we represent our clients
We have a nationwide practice
Proven track records of recoveries for our clients
Pennsylvania law defines child sexual abuse to include both physican and non-physical contact between an adult and a child who is a minor, which results in the adult’s gratification or the minor’s gratification. The law explicitly includes language in the definition of child abuse that pertains to the nonaccidental serious mental injury to a child or an act that can cause an imminent risk of serious physical injury to the child. The Pennsylvania law defines the actual sexual abuse or exploitationto include looking at a child’s private parts for the purpose of arousing oneself, engaging or participating in sexually explicit conversation with a child, whether that be by telephone, computer or a computer-aided device, to arouse oneself, or completing, or aiding the completion of the actual or simulated exual activity with a minor child, who is under the age of 14 years old.
Besides the acts described above, Pennsylvania law considers rape, sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecesent assault, prostitution, and sexual exploitaation within its definition of child sexual abuse.
In 2019, an investigation discovered that there were more than 300 child sexual abuse cases in the Roman Catholic Church between 1970 and 2000. This sparked a wave of legislation, specifically pushing the Pennsylvania legislature to enact a new law that extended the amount of time that child abuse victims could bring a lawsuit against their abusers. Now, child sexual abuse victims can bring a civil lawsuit until they turn 55 years old, giving them a 37-year statute of limitations, which begins to run when the victim turns 18 years old. The law also allows victims who were abused between the ages of 18-24 to bring a civil claim until they turn 30 years old. The law also removed the statute of limitations for bringing a criminal charge, meaning that victims can now bring a criminal lawsuit against their abuser at any point.
However, these laws do not apply retroactively. Therefore, if the abuse happened before the new law was enacted in 2019, then the new statutes of limitations do not apply to your case. Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania did not enact an “lookback window” for victims of childhood sexual abuse where the abuse happened decades ago. Nonetheless, the fight to enact a lookback window is currently happening and while the amendment currently is not set to go before Pennsylvania voters, advocacy groups are adamantly fighting for these victims’ rights.
If you were abused as a child or know someone who was abused as a child, even if the abuse happened decades ago, you could pursue a claim against the abuser and potentially the organization that allowed the abuse. You can pursue criminal charges against the abuser by filing a report immediately to the police or the district attorney in your area. Once you report the abuse, the authorities will prosecute the abuser, and you will have the opportunity to tell your story.
You can also pursue civil charges against both the abuser and the organization. Civil actions have been increasing exponentially in recent years due to state legislatures’ recent passage of laws that allow victims to continue to pursue claims. Many states, including New York and Texas, are allowing child victims of any age to file claims to receive monetary damages to help support them in their healing journey. Each state’s laws differ, and the time limit for when you can file a suit, known as the statute of limitations, may be coming soon. It is crucial to consult with an experienced law firm to learn about your rights and the steps you can take if you’ve been abused or know someone who has been abused.
Children are highly vulnerable to ‘grooming’ behavior, which can include buying the child gifts, flattering the child, increasing attention to the child, and targeting the child to gain the child’s trust. The adults in a child’s life should be familiar with the red flags and signs of predators. You can learn about these red flags on my website and take the quizzes with your child to ask the hard questions on whether or not there’s someone they should be concerned about.
Further, parents should always watch for any changes in their child’s demeanor, habits, actions, and well-being. Adults are responsible for ensuring children are safe and are in stable, nurturing environments. You should also speak to your child about what is right and not right, how they control who can touch their bodies, and which parts of their bodies are ‘private.’ It is crucial to speak to your child often and make them feel comfortable talking with you. If something does happen, your child should feel safe coming to you and telling you about anything that happens.
Finally, institutions and organizations must improve their vetting processes before allowing any employees in an environment with close proximity to children. Youth and family-serving organizations, faith communities, schools, and public/governmental agencies must have the training and available information to prevent child sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse occurs in many forms. It is committed by many different types of people in your life and effects many different types of victims. Consequently, sex abuse lawsuits are extremely varied and require varying approaches.
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