What Happens When Trust Is Broken? Legal Rights of the Child Sexually Molested and Abused by an Adult in Florida

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In Florida and other States, child predators / sexual offenders often time prey on children from a position or occupation of trust. While most people are honest, law abiding citizens, there is a certain element in society that will use a position of trust to abuse, molest, and sexually assault a child. Because of age, immaturity, trust, and naivety, children are at risk for harm by a clever and scheming adult who uses a position of trust to harm a child. When a child is a victim of an assault, attack or molestation event, there are three types of legal cases that may result from the incident: 1. Criminal; 2. Administrative; and 3. Civil.

1. Criminal. When a person assaults, attacks, abuses, or molests a child, an arrest and criminal prosecution can be pursued. If there is probable cause to make an arrest, the local police department will arrest the molester and present the evidence and information to the State Attorney / prosecutor for further proceedings. Unfortunately, many incidents go unreported or undetected. The ones that are reported often lack the requisite evidence to successfully prosecute the defendant. When there is sufficient available and / or produced, a criminal prosecution can and should result in the incarceration of the person who abused, neglected, molested, assaulted, or otherwise attacked the child. Restitution can be part of the criminal proceedings. Restitution typically covers an economic damage like those related to medical or counseling expenses.

2. Administrative. In certain instances, an administrative proceeding may also be pursued when a child is abused, neglected, assaulted, or molested. Administrative proceedings can result when the Defendant is a government employee. Administrative proceedings can also result if the incident takes place at a school, day care center, or other facility that requires a license. In addition, an administrative proceeding may be initiated if the Defendant holds a professional or occupational license issued and / or regulated by the government. Administrative proceedings can result in fines, license suspension, and other penalties.

3. Civil. The parents / guardians of the injured child can pursue a legal claim or case for the damages caused to the child due to an assault, attack, molestation, and / or sexual abuse. A civil case can be pursued against the individual(s) who molested the child and / or the employer or facility where the individual worked. Often times, there is a lack of proper supervision by school and / or day care center when a child is molested or abused. Unfortunately, many liability insurance policies exclude incidents that involve abuse, assault, molestation, and / or corporal punishment committed by an employee, teacher, aide, assistant, homeowner, guests, or other person. In some instances, there is coverage under a different theory of liability like negligent hiring or negligent supervision. Even if there is no liability insurance in place or if there is an exclusion under the policy, a case can still be pursued against the individual and facility if the incident happened at the facility or during an event or field trip organized by the facility, school, or day care center. Due to the complexity of these cases, the parents should consult with a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, and legal representation on cases of this nature.

In Jacksonville, Florida, Richard Cannon, a former JSO (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) police officer, was recently sentenced to a 30 year prison term for the attempted sexual battery of a child (under the age of 12) and the sexual battery of a child (under the age of 18). You can read more about this story at Former Police Office Sentence to 30 Year Prison Term. Unfortunately, Richard Cannon, with 25 years of law enforcement experience, would seem like a trustworthy person. The evidence and criminal conviction proved quite the contrary. While Mr. Cannon will have plenty of time to repent and think about his horrendous acts, the criminal conviction will not erase the harm done or the hardships created by his criminal acts.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Child Abuse, Medical Bills and Treatment, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury. Another good resource for parents is the book – Florida Day Care Center Injuries – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – Building Blocks of Knowledge for Parents. Get this book for free at Florida Day Care Center Injuries.