About Sexual Abuse in Missouri
Sexual violence can take many forms. Since it can be hard to define, litigation around sexual violence can seem just as ambiguous to victims. However, there are clear legal consequences for perpetrators of sexual abuse, and just reporting it can go a long way in terms of lawsuits. If you experienced sexual abuse, you may feel powerless, but a sexual abuse lawyer can bring your case to justice.
Why Sexual Abuse Goes Unreported
Although sexual abuse is common, it can go unreported and under-investigated. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), “One in five women and one in seventy-one men will be raped at some point in their lives.” However, according to the same resource, “Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to police.”
For a crime that is so rampant, some sexual abusers never face the criminal law system. That’s because there are some well-known barriers that victims face when it comes to reporting sexual abuse. According to clinical psychologist Elizabeth Jeglic, Ph.D., people who did report sexual abuse mentioned the barriers they faced to reporting it:
- “Feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment”
- “Perceived negative consequences of reporting”
- “Fear of retaliation by the perpetrator”
- “Financial dependence upon the perpetrator”
- “Not wanting a family member or friend to be prosecuted”
- “Disbelief in getting a successful prosecution”
- “Lack of resources for getting help”
- “Distrust of the criminal justice system”
- “Cultural or language barriers”
Evidently, no two sexual abuse cases are exactly alike, but there are a lot of common reasons why acts of sexual violence go unreported. There is a spectrum of fear-based barriers that convince victims not to proceed with legal action, or even just reporting the case to the police.
However, the same article by Dr. Jeglic mentions that there can be healing in reporting sexual abuse and bringing it to justice. When it comes to sexual abuse, knowledge is power, but working with a lawyer does not render you powerless. Begin working on your case when you give us a call today at 314-444-4444.
Legal Options for Sexual Abuse Victims
In bringing your story to the justice system, our lawyers will explain all of your legal options. You may feel overwhelmed by the burden of the legal process, but rest assured that your case will be in good hands, with lawyers who want to defend your rights.
Our lawyers will work to collect evidence on your behalf, in addition to any potential evidence you can provide for us. In a criminal sexual abuse case, DNA evidence and a police report can be vital. DNA can directly trace the perpetrator to the scene of the crime, and potentially hold them liable for any previous cases of sexual abuse. However, if there is not DNA evidence available, our lawyers will discuss all of your options for proceeding with the case. There are still ways to draw connections from the perpetrator to the abuse, whether it was a chain of events or one incident.
Pursuing Criminal Sexual Assault Charges
Under Sect. 566.010 of Missouri Statutes, there are a range of potential sexual abuse claims. Every case will be different, so consulting with a lawyer can completely change the course of action you will take in court. In addition, if the perpetrator is found guilty and convicted of a sexual abuse crime, the potential penalties vary, depending on the class and severity of the abuse. Rest assured that when you work with Schultz & Myers, LLC we will fight for the most serious criminal penalties for which your case qualifies.
Our lawyers have protection of your rights and your best interest in mind when filing sexual abuse charges. Generally, there is no limit on filing a sexual abuse case if the victim was someone younger than 18 years. Otherwise, the statute of limitations may vary. The types of cases we will handle and its statute of limitations include, but are not limited to:
- First Degree Rape: There is no time limit for legal proceedings.
- Second Degree Rape: There is no time limit for legal proceedings with victims under 18 years of age. For all other victims, proceedings must commence within 3 years after the incident.
- Statutory Rape in the First Degree: There is no time limit for legal proceedings.
- Statutory Rape in the Second Degree: There is no time limit for legal proceedings.
- Sodomy (First and Second Degree): There is no statute of limitations for first degree, and for second degree, there is no statute of limitations if victim was under 18, and 3 years if the victim was over 18.
- Child Molestation (First and Second Degree): There is no time limit for legal proceedings.
- Sexual Misconduct Involving a Child: There is no time limit for legal proceedings.
- Sexual Contact with a Student: If the victim is under 18, there is no time limit for legal proceedings. For victims over 18, there is a limit of 3 years.
The nuances of sexual abuse cases may seem intimidating, but our lawyers can navigate sexual abuse law. Do not worry about handling the litigation process, or defending yourself in court.
Consult with Sexual Abuse Lawyers in St. Louis
Let the lawyers at Schultz & Myers, LLC represent you in court so you can get back to living and enjoying life. We want you to feel comfortable bringing your abuser to justice with the solid protection of a lawyer and the justice system on your side. We can begin working on your case when you give us a call today at 314-444-4444.