Recent allegations against the Key School in Annapolis, Maryland are extremely troubling. Decades-old abuse allegations against multiple teachers call into question the safety and security of students at this private school for decades. When allegations like this come to light, many people examine their memories and past encounters and may realize that they, too are survivors of sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.
If you or a loved one thinks you may have been abused by teachers at the Key School or any other institution in Annapolis or the surrounding areas, contact Bennett and Heyman, P.A. today. Our attorneys can help you investigate your allegations and bring civil claims against the school and the individuals that harmed you in your past. To schedule a free, confidential consultation to learn more about the process involved with such claims, contact our law offices today at 410-429-7856
Civil Lawsuits for Claims of Sexual Abuse
Touching someone else in a way that makes them uncomfortable or touching them without their consent is a crime in Maryland, but it is also grounds for a civil lawsuit. Rather than facing the scrutiny of the criminal justice system as a victim coming forward, you may also file a civil lawsuit against your abuser and the institutions that allowed you to be victimized.
The central claim in many of these cases is a civil lawsuit against the actual perpetrator that abused you. It may be difficult to confront your accuser, especially if a long time has passed, but that should not keep you from seeking justice. Working with a sexual abuse victim advocate and an attorney on your side, you can take your abuser to court and seek damages for the harm and suffering they caused you, even years after the abuse took place.
The claim itself can be based on a wide variety of misconduct. As a survivor of abuse, it is not your job to determine whether the conduct specifically fit into any one statute that allows you to file a claim. In pursuit of this goal, the Maryland statute that authorizes victims of sexual abuse to file claims against their abusers, Maryland Family Law Article § 5-701, authorizes claims in a wide variety of circumstances.
The claims filed under this statute can be claims for any sexual abuse, including molestation, exploitation, obscene photography, rape, or any other sex offenses or “unnatural or perverted sexual practices.” The broad terms of this definition allow thousands of potential victims to come forward and seek justice.
In addition to filing a claim against the abuser, you may be able to file a claim against an institution that allowed you to be abused. Private schools like the Key School would likely fall under the definitions in the relevant statutes. To make a claim against an institution, your attorney must properly formulate some “duty” that the school owed you. The duty to thoroughly vet potential employees and monitor both students and faculty to ensure student safety and freedom from abuse may be able to supply the legal duty in your case and allow you to claim damages against the school as well as any teachers or staff that harmed you.
Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse Claims in Maryland
One of the biggest legal hurdles for many victims of abuse as a child is the statute of limitations in their case. The statute of limitations in any case is the legal time limit on when you can file your claim against the person who harmed you. In many cases, the statute of limitations can be complex and have many potential excuses to “toll” or pause the statute of limitations clock from running. Other rules may extend your time limit to file a claim, potentially helping victims who were abused decades ago come forward and seek justice.
Under current law, the statute of limitations for bringing a sexual abuse allegation under Family Law Article § 5-701 allows any victim to come forward up until the time they turn 18. In addition to this, a victim generally has 20 years after they turned 18 to come forward. This gives victims a substantial amount of time to consider what was done to them, work through the effects, and work up the courage to come forward and confront their abuser.
If a criminal case is filed against the abuser, you can still file a civil claim in addition to the criminal case. If the perpetrator is convicted of criminal charges, you are limited to filing your case within 3 years of their conviction. This is why it is important to act now if you were a victim of one of the teachers accused at the Key School; if they face any criminal charges for the acts relating to your incident, you may need to file your civil claim within 3 years after the conviction. Since there is no statute of limitations in Maryland for criminal sexual abuse cases, this gives you 3 years to tack on after a criminal case, even if it is brought more than 20 years after you turned 18.
Any claim against the institution or school might be limited by separate rules. Generally, claims against the school would be limited to being brought within 7 years of you turning 18, but if your claim alleges the school owed you a duty, was partly responsible for your harm, or committed “gross negligence,” this limit is lifted.
Even though these rules express the general standards, it is vital to talk to an attorney about how long you have to file a claim in your specific case. Especially for older claims, the statute of limitation might be different based on when the abuse took place.
Call Our Maryland Sexual Abuse Victim Attorneysif You or a Family Member was Victimized at the Key School
If you or a loved one was abused while attending the Key School in Annapolis, Maryland, contact the sexual abuse victim lawyers at Bennett and Heyman, P.A. today. Our attorneys offer free, no-obligation consultations in a confidential environment where you can discuss your abuse and work with our lawyers to build a case against your abuser and the institutions involved. To schedule your free legal consultation, contact our attorneys today at 410-429-7856.