A sexual assault victim tends to feel isolated, alone, and stigmatized. The physical assault itself can leave pain and scars, but the emotional toll this type of assault can take can be even more traumatic.
This is true of all sexual assault cases, including those involving athletes. Too often, victims of sexual assault are made to feel as if their voice isn’t enough, that they don’t have the power or ability to get the justice and compensation they deserve. Or they feel intense shame and pressure to cover up the incident, pretend it didn’t happen, and try to move on because reliving the experience and telling the authorities is painful and triggering.
At Stern Law, we understand the intense emotional strain that victims of sexual assault endure. That is why our team of experienced legal professionals handles each case with sensitivity and compassion. We listen to victims, treat them with the dignity they deserve, and lay out the legal options they have for recovering compensation and seeking justice. No victim should be left voiceless. We want to help survivors of sexual assault find their voice and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.
If you have been the victim of a sexual assault or have been sexually assaulted while participating in any type of sport or sporting activity, contact the legal team at Stern Law. We can review your case and provide you with valuable legal advice, laying out your options and how we may be able to help you achieve a positive outcome.
We know you are going through a traumatic time right now. If you feel lost and aren’t sure where to begin, call Mr. Stern confidentially today at 248-347-7315 and let us be your shoulder to lean on.
What Is Sexual Assault?
In short, the definition of sexual assault as laid out by the United States Department of Justice includes any form of nonconsensual act or touching that is outlawed by Federal, state, or tribal legal codes. “Nonconsensual” also includes situations where the victim lacks the mental or physical capacity to consent to an act.
This definition is extremely broad and can cover a wide range of different scenarios, especially when you consider the fact that each of the 50 states has its own laws and penalties for sexual assault cases.
Types of Sexual Assault Crimes
Sexual assault crimes cover a wide range of criminal charges. The definitions and penalties for some of these charges can vary from state to state. Some jurisdictions break out sexual assault charges into very specific types of crimes. Other states keep their terms broad and allow different types of sexual assault-related crimes to be pursued under a broad criminal charge.
Some of the most common types of sexual assault-type crimes include:
Rape is sometimes used interchangeably with sexual assault, but the two terms do not mean the same thing under the law. Rape is a form of sexual assault. However, not all sexual assaults rise to the level of rape. Most states define rape as a forced sexual penetration without the victim’s consent. Penetration may be of the vagina, anus, or oral cavity, with any body part or foreign object.
While the term “force” sounds physically violent, the term force may also refer to the perpetrator using threats, manipulation, or emotional coercion to rape their victim. There may also be varying categories of rape, including marital rape, date rape, and serial rape. Depending on the circumstances and the state where the rape took place, penalties for a rape conviction can be severe, including fines and serious prison time.
Most states define statutory rape as unlawful intercourse with a minor. If the minor is under a certain age, which can vary between states, even if the sex is consensual, the act is still considered statutory rape and is punishable under the law.
Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse is nonconsensual sexual acts or unwanted touching performed on a minor. The law makes it clear the children cannot give consent to any type of sexual activity. In addition to physical contact, child sexual abuse can include obscene phone calls and text messages, obscene digital interactions, exposing oneself to a minor, forcing a minor to masturbate, or masturbating in the presence of a minor.
Possessing, manufacturing, or distributing child pornography is also a form of child sexual abuse and is typically prosecuted aggressively in most states and especially at the federal level.
Incest is considered sexual relations between partners who are too closely related to be legally married. Common examples of incest include sexual relations between parents and children and sexual interaction between siblings. Often times there is an element of sexual abuse or coercion happening in these types of relationships, especially if the sexual activity is between a parent and child.
Voyeurism or Peeping
Again, sexual assault is not always physical. Watching or spying on an individual without their permission or consent for sexual pleasure or gratification as in voyeurism or peeping is an act of sexual assault.
A number of states have begun to include sexting under the sexual assault umbrella. Sexting is when an individual sends unwanted or unsolicited nudes or sexily explicit photos or messages to a victim.
Sexual harassment can happen anywhere, in the office, school, church, community events, or any public forum. Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual advances, requests for favors, or other inappropriate conduct of an explicit or sexual nature. The behavior rises to the level of harassment when it interferes with a victim’s work, life, or education and creates a hostile environment. The harassment can be strictly verbal, or it can include touching or some form of physical contact.
While this list is extensive, it is not all-inclusive. Various jurisdictions at both the state and federal level may have other terms and charges that relate to sexual assault-type crimes. If you have been the victim of any form of sexual abuse, assault, or crime, contact an experienced attorney with Stern Law to discuss the aspects of your situation and how we can help.
Sexual Assault in Sports
Whether you are in the big leagues or little leagues, sports are both entertaining and often a safe and healthy outlet for physical exercise and development. However, new and emerging reports are also finding that sports and sporting leagues can harbor dangerous sexual predators.
These predators sexually assault and abuse their victims, everyone from minors up to professional athletes. While one of the most predominant stories about sports and sexual assault revolves around USA Gymnastics and Larry Nassar, sexual assault in athletics is not an unheard-of occurrence.
Pinpointing just how prevalent sexual assault in sports is has proven to be difficult since many cases go unreported. Some international studies estimate that anywhere from two to 48 percent of athletes have experienced some form of sexual harassment or sexual abuse. Other estimates speculate that approximately two to eight percent of athletes are sexually assaulted while participating in sports. This same study also finds that in 98 percent of sexual abuse cases related to sports, a coach, teacher, or instructor was the perpetrator of the assault.
The #MeToo movement combined with the atrocities committed by Larry Nasser has spurred a renewed interest in examining sexual assault in the context of athletics. While females are more likely to be abused sexually in athletics, they may also be more likely to report the abuse. Many researchers admit that while there are more recorded cases of abuse happening to female athletes, male athletes are not as inclined to report being sexually assaulted. This under-reporting may be skewing the numbers of actual cases of abuse.
USA Gymnastics isn’t the only high-profile case of sexual assault and abuse taking place inside the world of sports. Consider the cases of the Ohio State University athletes, especially wrestlers, that allege abuse. Or the sexual abuse case involving Penn State’s Jerry Sandusky. From children to college students to elite professional athletes, sexual assault in sports is a serious problem, one that needs more exposure if victims are to be heard and perpetrators prosecuted for their crimes.
Contact Stern Law to Discuss Your Case Today
Fear, shame, guilt, shock, anxiety, and depression are normal reactions to a sexual assault, but you aren’t to blame for what happened to you. The perpetrator needs to be held responsible, or the cycle will be allowed to continue. This is especially true if you have been a victim of a sexual assault by a sporting coach, teacher, or mentor with access to other potential victims. You can break the chain, and the legal team at Stern Law can help you do it.
If you have survived a sexual assault or survived a sexual assault while participating in sports, you have legal rights. To see justice done and seek compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering, you need an experienced legal team that has the resources and tenacity to go after sexual assault perpetrators. You are not alone. Call Mr. Stern confidentially today at 248-347-7315 for more information on how we can help you take back control. You will have someone on your side that has helped countless victims and you should benefit from that experience and compassion