Sexual abuse victims already know the criminal justice system is not on their side. According to statistics gathered by RAINN, more than 99% of perpetrators will never see jail or prison time for rape and sexual abuse. For the two sex abuse victims of a Salem school teacher who only served 30 days in jail, that statistic is more than just a number: It’s a chilling reminder that the criminal justice system was unable to achieve the full justice they deserved.
That’s why our Salem personal injury lawyers at The Gatti Law Firm assisted one of the victims with filing suit against the church that employed her abuser. Asking for $5.25 million in civil damages from Livingston Adventist Academy, we were able to provide the victim with a measure of justice after the enormous betrayal of trust she endured.
Scant Justice from the Criminal Justice System
Once charged, our client’s sexual abuser – Christian private school teacher and athletic coach Donald Mansell – was not even taken into police custody after his arrest warrant was issued. According to a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, deputies failed to follow up with the prosecutor on the warrant, and Mansell was permitted to leisurely turn himself in more than 4 months after arrest.
Eventually, Mansell was convicted on two counts of third-degree sexual abuse, for fondling our client and another teenage student on separate occasions. He had also persistently harassed both of them for sexual favors, which was recorded on one of the victim’s phones. Yet he served only 30 days in jail for these actions, and the prosecutor was quoted as saying that a trial would have been “too lengthy and complicated.”
The Benefits of Filing Civil Suits for Sexual Abuse
Even when the government decides to pursue charges against a sex abuser, the chances of a felony conviction and appropriate jail time are very rare. Many repugnant violations of victims are only considered misdemeanors under the law, and if the individual is a first-time offender, the sentences tend to be even more lenient.
Our personal injury team has more than a century of experience holding organizations accountable for allowing sexual abuse to take place. Because Mansell was never even licensed to teach in Oregon, the administrators at Livingston Adventist Academy clearly failed to examine his educational and criminal background or to perform any due diligence in hiring him. Additionally, our client alleged that these administrators knew about her abuse and did nothing to stop it.
By seeking damages from negligent organizations like these, we can often help sex abuse victims receive considerable compensation to cover their emotional anguish, the costs of therapy, and lost earnings for the future. It isn’t enough to make up for the abuse, but in the absence of justice, a personal injury lawsuit can offer traumatized victims the chance to regain their confidence and sense of self.
Do you need assistance with a sexual abuse case in Salem? Contact us at (503) 543-1114 for a confidential, no-obligation consultation.