A piano teacher from Roswell, Georgia has been arrested for charges of child molestation. The teacher had been teaching for decades and had access to dozens of students; two victims came forward with claims of molestation between 2008 and 2012. The teacher, Troy Palmer, is believed to have molested multiple other victims. He is currently facing two counts of aggravated child molestation.
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics
Sadly, child sexual abuse is surrounded by a conspiracy of silence. Very few people choose to report sexual abuse of a child and instead uphold what seems like a code of silence. Society has, until recent years, made it the responsibility of a child to come forward when they are ready to turn in their abuser. It is estimated that less than 15 percent of childhood rapes get reported to authorities. Sadly, some studies indicate the one out of every six boys and one out of every four girls will experience some type of sexual abuse before they turn 18 years of age.
Differences Between Criminal and Civil Claims
We’ve all heard the term lawsuit, but there is a difference between a criminal case and a civil lawsuit. A civil lawsuit is any type of claim that isn’t a criminal case. The two differ in other areas as well. During a criminal case, the State of Georgia will initiate the action through the prosecuting attorney. A civil claim, on the other hand, is a private lawsuit brought forth by a plaintiff. In the case of a sexual abuse civil action, the plaintiff is often the victim or the family of the victim.
The goal of a civil lawsuit is to seek monetary recovery for the victim while the goal of a criminal case is to punish the person that broke the law. The prosecuting attorney is in control of a criminal case, but the victim is in control of a civil case. When it comes to criminal lawsuits, the prosecutor must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the attorney in a civil case must only prove the case by a preponderance of the evidence. Criminal claims favor the rights of the defendant and civil claims favor the victim of the crime.
Benefits of Filing a Civil Action for Sexual Abuse
A civil lawsuit will help obtain financial recovery for the victim for things such as emotional distress and trauma, loss of income, medical expenses including counseling, and other expenses that the victim had to pay for out of pocket resulting from the sexual abuse. The victim may even be able to recover damages for future losses and trauma.
While no amount of financial compensation can take back what happened, monetary compensation can at least provide opportunities for the victim such as an improvement in living conditions and schooling and decreasing stressors so they can focus on recovering. It also sends a message to other people that if they fail to follow the law and victimize someone, they could be forced to pay for their actions.
Contact a Georgia Child Molestation Attorney Today
The attorneys at Council & Associates, LLC have years of experience helping their clients receive the compensation they deserve after suffering at the hands of a child molester, and they can help you and your child too. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation to begin the process of healing.