Acts of sexual abuse and assault are devastating to victims and carry life-long consequences. Many times victims are reluctant to speak up because they feel powerless,that they may be partially at fault in allowing the abuse to happen, or that too much time has gone by. The lawyers at Devereaux, Stokes, Fernandez, and Leonard fight for victims of these life-altering crimes.
All states prohibit sexual assault and abuse, though the definitions of different sexual crimes vary state to state. We have represented victims of these cases since the 1970s; we are well-versed in state and federal statues in order to best represent you so that you don’t have to remain silent.
Our sexual assault lawyers stand with the survivors of such heinous acts; we bring perpetrators and any institutions involved to justice.
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault includes any unwanted sexual activity. Perpetrators use force and power to coerce their victims into sexual situations without their consent. Assault or abuse do not always have to be physical force. Very often these perpetrators victimize the young and helpless by taking advantage of their positions of superior power and intimidating victims into not reporting.
Sexual assault can occur in many situations including, but not limited to, the following:
Teacher and Coach Abuse
Teachers, coaches, and counselors by their very definition are expected to be leaders, role models, and protectors of the well-being of young people whom they teach and guide. Parents who send their children to school, register them to play on a team, or send them to summer camp have placed faith in these teachers and coaches and entrusted them with their most valuable possession – their children. Abuse by a teacher or coach is particularly heinous because not only does is it involve the victimization of a child, but also it is a betrayal of trust and power.
Was your child assaulted or abused in a before- or after-school program? Was your child targeted for sexual abuse in a home daycare? It is hard to imagine that someone would actually sexually abuse a young child. However, the cold, harsh reality is that we know it happens. Signs of sexual abuse of a child can include sexual playing out by the child, regression in speech or potty training, and changes in mood and sleep habits. If your family has been victimized, we can help.
We place our trust blindly in doctors, therapists, and counselors. We bare our souls to them and reveal our most intimate thoughts and problems. Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous professionals out there who are willing to leverage this information and take advantage of the relationship for their own sexual gratification.
Were you abused, sexually attacked, or otherwise taken advantage of through your relationship with a professional, such as a therapist or psychiatrist? We can help you uncover and expose the truth.
Nursing Home Abuse
When you entrusted your husband, wife, father, mother, or other close family to the care of licensed nursing homes in Missouri or Illinois, you did so expecting that accepted standards of care would be followed. You expected your family member’s health and well-being to be guarded, protected, and supported through proper care. Nursing home abuse is a direct betrayal of the trust put into the facility.
Sexual assault manifests in more ways than unwanted touching. It can also be penetration, oral sex, showing explicit images to minors or anyone without their consent, exposing oneself, and other sex crimes. If someone advances in a sexual manner without expressive consent, they are abusing their victim. If the person at whom these activities are directed is a minor then they can not give consent no matter the circumstances.
What to do if you have been sexually abused
If you are the survivor of a sexual assault, report the case to local law enforcement. This will help build evidence. If you need to be treated for any injuries sustained from the assault, including penetration, go to the hospital. This will also help preserve evidence to use in the case. Trained medical personnel can preserve DNA evidence, hair and skin samples as well as documenting injuries, all of which may be important in bringing the perpetrator to justice.
If time has passed since the assault or abuse took place and you weren’t able to talk to law enforcement or go to the hospital, that’s OK; in fact, it’s very normal. Other victims may feel reluctant to report because the assault happened while they were intoxicated, doing recreational drugs or during a situation which they put themselves in even though they knew they shouldn’t have. Again, all of this is very typical and does not justify a rape or sexual abuse. We can still offer assistance, advice, and representation. We will work with any situation are you in.
Contact a lawyer whom you trust to represent you against your perpetrator and the institutions that allowed this behavior to occur; we have both male and female attorneys on our staff to help make you as comfortable as possible. Get in touch with our law firm today to start building your case. We have been representing survivors of sexual crimes since the 1970s. One of our partners, Gonzalo Fernandez, is a former prosecutor in the St. Louis City Circuit Attorney’s office where he was on the Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Unit as well as the Special Victims Unit. For many years, he worked on only these types of cases assuring that justice was brought to these perpetrators.
Our attorneys have received the highest possible AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 rating* from Martindale-Hubbell. The firm is also a member of The Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious group of U.S. trial lawyers who have received million and multi-million dollar verdicts, awards and settlements. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.
Since our founding, we have achieved remarkable success for our clients and are consistently determined to achieve the best outcome possible; the concern we have for our clients runs deep. In any case we accept, we strive to give the victim a chance to recover the full compensation available under the facts and the law. We never cut corners or make unnecessary compromises.
Call for a free consultation so that we can review the facts of your case to determine the best path forward.