Visitor Question

Can I sue a child molester that owns his own business?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Texas)

I found out a year ago that a family friend molested my child for years. We’ve filed a case against this man. Over the course of the past year, we’ve had to take off work and used all of our vacation, and spent gas to go to the court, wear and tear on the vehicle, and endured mental suffering for my child and myself.

He owns a car detailing business and had it for over 5 years. I was wondering if I can sue him and his company (for using the work truck to complete the act) for all that I have lost? What about for punitive damages or anything else like that? Thank you for any information you can provide.

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.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

From the facts you present, the family friend may have violated Section 21.02 (b)(1)(2) of the Texas Penal Code, which reads in part:

“CONTINUOUS SEXUAL ABUSE OF YOUNG CHILD OR CHILDREN.

(b) A person commits an offense if:

    (1) during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, the person commits two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the acts of sexual abuse are committed against one or more victims; and

    (2) at the time of the commission of each of the acts of sexual abuse, the actor is 17 years of age or older and the victim is a child younger than 14 years of age.”

A conviction for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child is a first degree felony punishable by 5-99 years in prison (life in prison), a $10,000 fine, or both.

The Statute of Limitations in a criminal prosecution under Section 21.02 is 15 years from the date the offense was committed. In continuous sexual assault of a child, the offense begins at the time the actor abuses the child twice within a thirty (30) day period.

Statute of Limitations, Section 16.005 – Limitations of Personal Actions

If the statute of limitations has not expired, the family friend may face charges under Section 21.02 of the Texas Penal Code.

Your child would be best served by contacting the investigating law enforcement agency to be sure the family friend is arrested for the crime. Then follow up with the prosecuting attorney in the county in which the crime occurred.

A conviction would be sufficient evidence for a civil judge or jury to award a civil judgment against the family friend. To pursue the civil action will require legal representation. Unless you are a trained attorney you can not undertake a civil lawsuit of this nature on your own.

Speak with several attorneys. If the family friend has sufficient assets to make it worth an attorney’s time and effort, you may find an attorney to accept the case. In the alternative, if the family friend does not have sufficient assets, your civil recourse may be limited to a small claims action.

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: September 17, 2017

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