Visitor Question

Restitution for my son’s sexual abuse?

Submitted By: B (Palm Springs, CA, USA)

I am looking into some kind of restitution for my son and ourselves that his Abuser left behind for us to deal with and pick up the pieces. Our case was not picked up by the DA. Because of that it has sparked rage in my son and his younger brother as well.

My oldest son, who is 10 now, was sexually abused by my live-in boyfriend at the time. He has completed one year of therapy and still requires more due to his rage and newer details he’s started to share with me.

His younger brother is still in therapy as his therapy was extended for an extra 2 months. He was diagnosed with PTSD due to the abuse his brother endured. He thinks it’s his fault. The youngest brother also completed one year of therapy and is recovering, as he’s still quite young.

We put all 3 in counseling and all did family sessions to help the younger brothers together. My son is just starting to trust me again, since it happened in my home and with my boyfriend. This does trigger him and put him in a rage.

As a Mother, it’s utterly heartbreaking. I continue to struggle with this. I don’t think its fair that my sons have to be left to deal with this trauma like it’s their problem or their fault. The Abuser needs to be held accountable for something, rather than walking free like nothing happened. While it’s been a little over a year, we’re still suffering and struggling.

My son says that the abuse started around 2nd grade, up until he finally came out to his Father when visiting in August 2013. He was taken to a special interview. They also performed a forensics study on him, with pictures and everything. It was very traumatic. His father and I were never allowed to know those details.

Child Protective Services (CPS) came that same night to take a report on me and to deliver the news. I had no idea it had happened or was happening. I was distraught and in another world.

Nonetheless, the Father has full custody at this point, but we work closely together and I see my sons every week/weekend. I can see them anytime I want, as he now trusts me as well. I did everything the court asked of me. The only step left is to get joint custody again.

I have them all the time so I know I’m doing better, but what’s more important is getting my sons through this process to protect their future. They deserve a chance at a good life. I have all the court documents, my sons statements/story, CPS reports, etc. How can I get restitution for my sons?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear B,

California Civil Procedural Code 340.1 provides that actions for the recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse may be commenced…

“…on or after the victim’s 26th birthday, if the person or entity against whom the action is commenced knew, had reason to know, or was otherwise on notice, of any unlawful sexual conduct by an employee, volunteer, representative, or agent, and failed to take reasonable steps, and implement reasonable safeguards, to avoid future acts of unlawful sexual conduct.”

It is difficult to understand why the Office of the District Attorney decided not to file a felony complaint against the perpetrator. It may be because they DA didn’t have enough physical evidence to present to the grand Jury for an indictment. In any event, your sons can bring a civil action against the perpetrator at any time up until their 26th birthday.

The challenge will be identifying assets belonging to the perpetrator, which can be levied (taken) if it is found the perpetrator committed the offenses. Unless he has assets, your sons won’t have much to take as compensation for the atrocities perpetrated against them.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: November 18, 2014

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