A Toledo Sexual Abuse Attorney to Fight for Your Rights
Sexual battery, also known as sexual assault, is a felony in Toledo OH and across the US. The circumstances of the sexual abuse determine the degree of the felony and the penalty.
Unwanted sexual behavior including physical touching is included in the definition of sexual battery, and in some instances this is legally classified as rape. The legal definition of rape is, “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina, the anus with any body part, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim,” according to the FBI.
The Victim Fails to Report the Incident Most of the Time
Crimes of a sexual nature have always been difficult to report for the victim. Fear of reporting the information is only part of the reluctance. 60 to 90 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. Women hesitate to report incidents of sexual assault and rape for a variety of reasons including:
- Fear of not being believed.
- Getting blamed for acts of sexual violence
- Victims are embarrassed, ashamed and humiliated.
- Self-blame for the incident
- Belief that the criminal justice system will further victimize them
- Fear that the violence may escalate as a result of reporting the crime
These crimes remain severely under-reported. Efforts throughout the 1990’s and more recently have attempted to encourage reporting by discrediting the old attitudes, but change is slow.
In 2011 Ohio reported:
- 5,532 sexual assaults
- 1,249 menacing via stalking incidents
- 6,622 violations in orders of protection
- 43,655 domestic violence incidents
Men also hesitate to report this type of crime. They too are victimized, more than is known. Educational efforts by support groups and others have made a difference in improving reporting.
Legal remedies for sexual abuse in Toledo OH can include actions in both criminal and civil courts. Successfully prosecuting those accused of committing sexual abuse or crimes of rape has been notoriously difficult. Particularly in the past, women suffered the burden of somehow having a witness observe the encounter to collaborate the event.
It remains important to report the crime. You will want to hire a sexual abuse attorney who will represent you in the best way possible, and act as an aggressive court representative and an advocate on your behalf. A lawyer specializing in sexual abuse will enable you to obtain the justice you so sorely deserve.
The state of Ohio and both Toledo, OH and Maumee, Ohio offer criminal courts and the civil courts within which to pursue legal action for sexual assault. In the event justice does not prevail in the criminal court, there is the option to sue in civil court.
Civil Court Can Punish the Abuser
The civil courts can force the abuser to pay damages for the pain and suffering of the victim. Whether a child falls victim to a clergyman’s abuse, the random abuse of a stranger, a wife is sexually abused by her estranged husband where an order of protection may have been violated, the signs of abuse can go on for years terrorizing the lives of victims. Covering the cost of services, healthcare and counseling should be born by the abuser.
Only the savvy sexual assault attorney can address and navigate the court system while also providing a sensitive, understanding hand where children may be involved and/or traumatized adults.
Criminal Penalties and the Courts
Criminal penalties for crimes of sexual assault and rape, both felonies, are not trivial. The more violent the crime, the more severe the sentence, and the younger the victim, the sentence is even more severe. The following penalties apply in Ohio:
- Sexual assault on victims 13 years or older has a fine and 1 to 5 years in prison.
- If the assault included rape, prison time extends from 5 to 11 years.
- If the victim of sexual assault is less than 13 years, in addition to the fine, prison ranges from 2 to 8 years.
- If the assault to the child age 13 or younger includes rape causing the victim harm, or the victim was under the age of 10 regardless of harm, the sentence is life without parole.
Ohio offers citizens legal protections as victims of domestic violence (Amy’s Law), teen dating violence (Tina Croucher Law), the Shynnera Grant law, abuse on-the-job and more. The ideal sexual abuse attorney is extremely knowledgeable in these laws.
A sexual assault attorney representing victims in the Toledo OH area may be able to present a successful civil case even if the criminal case fails. The burden of proof in the civil court differs and to some extent may offer significant advantages not found in the criminal court. Civil procedural rules are said to be less favorable to the defendant.
The best sexual assault attorney in Maumee, Ohio can negotiate both criminal and civil court systems without shifting gears. The best attorney knows the intrinsic workings of the court systems, the personalities and simultaneously can maintain sensitivity, understanding the psychological component that can unhinge victims who have been seriously violated. The best sexual assault attorney in Toledo, Ohio will fight vigorously and relentlessly for the client.
Contact Michael E. Bryant’s Toledo, OH law office today to get the justice you deserve. Find Michael E. Bryant online at www.mebryantlaw.com, visit our law office in Toledo, OH on the second floor of 1119 Adams St. or call us at (419) 243-3922.