Karate Instructor Sexual Assault Lawsuit Attorney
Karate classes are one of the most popular activities among young children and teens. It’s considered one of the best martial arts for developing coordination, balance, and aerobic endurance, and many kids enjoy themselves at their classes. However, these classes can also present opportunities for sexual abuse and assault by a karate instructor.
It’s not surprising why these incidents occur so frequently. In karate classes, instructors have to demonstrate proper form and movement, which may require them to touch a student. Additionally, many instructors give private lessons, where they may be alone with a student for hours at a time. These, and various other situations at a karate studio, can be exploited by an instructor to take advantage of an innocent child.
If you or your child was a victim of sexual assault or any type of sexual misconduct by a karate teacher, you have the ability to sue the perpetrator and other responsible parties for monetary damages. The sexual assault attorneys of DTLA are here to bring you the justice and compensation you deserve. Contact our law firm and schedule a free case evaluation.
What is the Definition of Sexual Abuse?
Sexual assault falls under the category of sexual abuse, which is a form of child abuse when the incident occurs between a minor and an adult. Child sexual abuse can take place in many forms, including:
- Child molestation
- Attempted rape
- Indecent exposure
- Child grooming
- Producing / disseminating child pornography
- Masturbating in front of a minor
- Child sexual exploitation / trafficking
All these acts involve an adult using a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification, which is the legal standard that must be met in order to file a sexual assault lawsuit. At this point, there may be a question on your mind that you’re afraid to ask: What if the minor wanted to engage in sexual activity with the karate instructor? This is a very important question that many people are divided on, but in the eyes of the law, there is only one answer: minors cannot give consent to sexual activity.
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Can a Minor Consent to Sexual Activity?
Each state has an age of consent, which is the age where an individual is able to make an informed decision regarding their participation in a sexual activity. In California, that age is 18, which means an adult can be charged with statutory rape if they engage in sexual activity with someone under the age of 18. This is important to know, because we’ve seen far too many cases where teachers or instructors insist that the student wanted to have sex or engage in some other sex act with them. The student may say this as well, and argue that they’re in a legitimate relationship with the instructor.
So, the big question is, why can’t a minor consent to sex with an adult? The main reason is that consent has to be “informed,” meaning all the involved parties understand the physical and emotional consequences of what they’re about to do. Those under the age of consent lack the cognitive and psychological abilities to understand the ramifications of sex, thus they are deemed unable to give consent.
Essentially, if a student was under the age of 18 when a karate instructor engaged in sexual activity with them, that is a crime under California law. Additionally, the victim or their family members can sue the perpetrator and recover compensation for the losses they’ve suffered. However, the karate instructor may not be the only party you can sue. In fact, the majority of these cases involve lawsuits against the karate academy and other entities that may have known about the abuse.
Who is Liable in a Case of Child Sexual Abuse?
Child sexual abuse cases are complicated, as many parties may be involved in why a child was harmed by a sexual predator. In a martial arts studio, for example, there’s the individual instructor who is taking advantage of one or more students under their care. However, the academy most likely has other adults on site, who come into regular contact with the children. Quite often, students show signs of sexual abuse, which staff members should be taught to recognize. Some students are brave enough to come to these adults directly and report what has happened to them.
The martial arts academy is legally obligated to report these incidents to the police or Child Protective Services under California’s mandated reporting laws. If they fail to do so, they can also be a party to a lawsuit for the victim’s physical and emotional injuries. However, the list of liable entities doesn’t stop there. Martial arts students usually participate in tournaments that are held by various organizations throughout the state and country.
Tournament organizers and sports facilities can also be brought to account if they were aware of abuse incidents between an instructor and their student. These organizations, in fact, may be liable under the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sport Authorization Act of 2017. This is a federal law that applies to sports organizations involving minors, which include schools, sports facilities, churches, teams and leagues, and tournament hosts. Adults working for these entities are required to report all suspected or reported sexual abuse and assault cases to the proper authorities. Not doing so can make them liable in a lawsuit for child sexual abuse.
As you can see, sexual abuse cases involving minors can be very complicated. That’s why it’s essential to seek advice from a lawyer that’s experienced in working with sexual abuse victims.
Damages from a Karate Instructor Sexual Assault Lawsuit
A sexual assault can leave victims with lifelong injuries on many levels. Most of these damages are emotional, but trauma can easily manifest into mental health disorders, like PTSD, depression, and suicidal ideation. Compensation is available for these injuries, which you may be able to recover from a personal injury lawsuit.
The specific damages you are entitled to depend on your personal circumstances. However, sexual abuse lawsuits typically include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
You may be able to ask for additional damages, which our attorneys can go over with you during a free consultation. If you’re ready to learn more about your rights as a sexual abuse victim, please give us a call at our office.
Can I Sue for Child Sexual Abuse as an Adult?
Are you an adult who was sexually abused by a karate instructor as a child? If so, you may be able to file a lawsuit under the rules of California’s Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218). This statute allows victims up to the age of 40 to bring a lawsuit for sexual abuse that occurred before they turned 18. The law recognizes that children are not always aware that they were sexually abused. As a result, the damages of sexual assault may not appear until they are adults. These victims are now given a chance to seek justice in the civil courts under AB 218.
Additionally, AB 218 offers a 3-year window on all childhood sexual abuse cases, regardless of how long ago the incident took place. That means victims who were previously barred from suing due to expiring the statute of limitations can still file a legal claim for damages. However, this 3-year window expires on December 31, 2022. As time is running out, please contact our office right away if you are a child sex abuse survivor. These cases are incredibly challenging, but they can be successful with help from an experienced attorney, as evidenced by settlements and verdicts throughout the country.
For more information on AB 218 and your right to sue for damages, contact our law firm without delay.
Triple Damages under California’s AB 218
Another important aspect of AB 218 is treble, or triple damages, which may be awarded in cases where an organization deliberately covered up an incident of sexual assault or abuse against a minor. That means a victim can recover three times the amount of compensation they would normally receive from the responsible parties. The most famous example is the long-standing cover-up by the Catholic Church to hide incidents of priests sexually abusing children. However, treble damages apply to any organization that engaged in “a concerted effort to hide evidence relating to childhood sexual assault.”
As an example, let’s say a student who is being sexually abused by a karate instructor reports the abuse to another staff member. The staff member tells the owners what she heard, but they tell her to stay quiet about it. They’re aware of previous sexual abuse incidents involving the instructor, but they never called the authorities or informed the parents. Furthermore, they told the instructor to get rid of all texts, photos, etc., that can implicate him in the abuse of the minor. This is a deliberate cover-up by the karate academy, which may result in triple damages if they are sued by the victim or victim’s family members.
While treble damages can significantly increase the compensation you will receive, you must be able to prove that the organization was fully aware of abuse allegations involving the karate instructor. Additionally, you must show that they took specific actions with the intent to cover up these incidents. A thorough investigation is needed to prove these elements, which is why you should not wait to speak to an attorney.
Speak to a Sexual Assault Lawsuit Attorney
Martial arts like karate can help children develop self-esteem and protect themselves in unsafe situations. Sadly, karate lessons can have the opposite effect when a student is abused by their karate instructor.
Are you an adult survivor of child sexual abuse by a karate instructor? Was your child sexually assaulted or subjected to another form of sexual abuse at the hands of their karate teacher? If so, you have the right to seek monetary compensation from the instructor, the academy, and any other organization that knew about the abuse. At the very least, you should seek legal advice and learn about the options that are available to you.
One of our lawyers can speak with you during a free consultation and help you decide on the best course of action for you and your family. If you decide to pursue a legal claim, our lawyers are committed to fighting for the full range of damages you are entitled to. We are also committed to protecting your finances, which is why we offer a Zero fee guarantee. That means you pay nothing upfront, since we only recover our fees by winning your case. If we don’t win, you won’t be responsible for any legal fees.
To learn more about your rights in a case of karate instructor sexual assault, contact our office and schedule a free case evaluation.