According to the Rape, Incest & Abuse National Network (RAINN), female college students (18 to 24 years old) are three times as likely to be victims of sexual abuse or assault. College aged males are 78 percent more likely to experience sexual assault than non-college students. NBC News once found that 58 percent of students in grades 7 to 12 experience sexual harassment. Some of this abuse unfortunately occurs with student athletes at high school and college gyms, football fields, hockey rinks, locker rooms and other recreational sports facilities. The abusers are most often coaches, trainers and physicians who act inappropriately (and illegally) with young athletes in a sexual manner. Other teammates have also sexually abused, harassed and assaulted other students, sometimes trying to claim that it is only a form of hazing.
If you, your child or another loved one were an athlete that was sexually assaulted, then know that you can take action. You can have a strong voice with experienced sexual assault attorneys by your side. The Philadelphia sexual assault lawyers at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jenk, P.C., know how difficult and trying a time this can be for high school and college athletes and their families and want to provide you with world-class legal representation. Though based in Philadelphia, we can take on clients from all across the country. We wish to aid in your recovery process and help provide you with closure on a painful episode in your life. We are partners with Take Back the Night Foundation which provides information for sexual assault victims and their families so that they know their rights when seeking to file a civil lawsuit.
What Is Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania?
The state of Pennsylvania has swift and punishable consequences for multiple sexual assault crimes including sexual assault, statutory sexual assault and indecent assault. The following is how the state defines each crime:
- Sexual assault is engaging in sexual intercourse with another person without his or her consent.
- Statutory sexual assault occurs when the victim was under 16 years of age, the defendant is more than four years older and they were not married at the time of the offense.
- Indecent assault occurs when a victim experiences indecent contact, such as contact with the defendant’s urine, feces or seminal fluid done for the purposes of sexual arousal without the victim’s consent.
The state of Pennsylvania, according to RAINN, also defines sexual assault by a sports official, volunteer or employee of a non-profit association as such a person engaging in sexual intercourse or indecent contact with a child under the age of 18 participating in the sports program of the non-profit or for-profit association. It is considered a third-degree felony with a maximum penalty of seven years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000.
Who Is Liable for Sexual Assault at a High School or College?
High school, college and university personnel are responsible for taking reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their students, which includes protecting them from sexual assault. Due to this, if you are sexually assaulted by a coach, trainer, physician, teammate or other sporting official, then you might be able to include the school in the civil lawsuit in addition to whomever committed the assault. Some schools ignore complaints or warning signs from students or will even put pressure on them to stay silent if an assault has occurred. However, the Clery Act requires colleges and universities to formulate and enforce safety policies as well as report crimes — such as sexual assault — that occur on campus or school-owned property. This includes gyms, sports venues and recreational facilities owned by the school.
In many cases, a school might wish for a sexual assault victim to remain silent if the perpetrator of the crime is an athlete or coach that is important to the team’s success. A physician or trainer might have a years-long reputation that would affect the school’s reputation if anything ever came out. However, those concerns are secondary if you or a loved one — especially a child or young adult — was sexually assaulted. Someone, whether it was a coach, team captain, trainer or other position, abused their position of authority, and it cannot be allowed to stand. Your safety and that of many other young athletes was put in danger. Do not be afraid to speak out. Contact sexual assault attorneys in Philadelphia to help you put a case together to bring suit against all the parties responsible for your sexual assault.
Call for a Free, Confidential Consultation with Our Sexual Assault Attorneys
Dealing with the aftermath of a sexual assault can be one of life’s toughest trials, and our sexual assault attorneys want to help however we can, whether you are located in Pennsylvania or anywhere else across the US. We give you a chance to tell us your story, even if you think no one else will listen, and we put in the extra time, effort and expense to see that you are able to reclaim your life.
Call us for a free, confidential consultation at (215) 600-0104 or contact us online so we can get started on earning you the restitution you deserve and instill some peace of mind.