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February 6, 2014

The Number of Reported Boston-Area Sexual Assaults on College Campuses is Rising

According to the Boston Globe, federal statistics show that the number of sexual assault reports involving Boston-area college campuses is going up—with “forcible sex offense” reports increasing by close to 40% between 2008 and 2012 across 22 campuses. There were 113 Boston sexual assaults in 2012—the highest annual figure in 10 years.

Some are saying that the higher figures could be attributed to more people reporting sexual assault incidents rather than the number of actual incidents going up. However, the study shows that about 88% of victims still choose to not formally report sex crimes.

If you or someone you love was the victim of sexual assault at a college campus, including in a dorm, sorority or fraternity, other school housing, or at a college sponsored-event, you could have grounds for a Boston injury lawsuit. At Altman & Altman LLP, we represent victims throughout Massachusetts that wish to pursue damages against their assailant, the school, and others that could/should have prevented the incident from happening.

Among recent college sex allegations occurring in this state are those involving three members of men’s hockey team at Fitchburg State University. The students are accused of sexually assaulting a woman and they have been barred from campus at least until the police investigation is concluded. The alleged sex assault is said to have occurred off-campus.

Obviously college sex assaults are not unique to Massachusetts. This week, the University of Connecticut filed court papers denying some of the key allegations in a gender discrimination lawsuit accusing the college of ignoring the claims of five women who reported that they had been sexually assaulted. The plaintiffs say their allegations were improperly handled and not taken seriously. One of the plaintiffs, Kylie Angell, contends that the school discouraged her from reporting the rape. Another plaintiff, former UConn ice hockey player ilvana Moccia, was allegedly kicked off the team by her coach because the rape had rendered her not “stable enough” to play.


Sex assault reports rise at Boston-area campuses, Boston.com, February 3, 2014

UConn Denies Women's Charges In Federal Sex Assault Lawsuit, The Courant, February 3, 2014

Investigated In Sex Assault, CBS Local, February 6, 2014


More Blog Posts:
Wyeth Must Face Defective Drug Label Claims Over Fen-Phen Diet Pill, Says Court, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyer Blog, January 29, 2014

Worker Fatally Injured in New Bedford Industrial Incident, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, January 20, 2014

Massachusetts Car Crash Involving Mattress Leaves Woman Dead, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 31, 2013

Continue reading "The Number of Reported Boston-Area Sexual Assaults on College Campuses is Rising" »

January 18, 2014

Clergy Sex Abuse: Pop Benedict Defrocked Almost 400 Priests in Two Years

The Associated Press says it obtained a document revealing that Pope Benedict XVI defrocked close to 400 priests during 2011 and 2012 for sexually abusing children. The information comes from data the Vatican has been gathering to assist the Holy See’s defense before The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child this week.

Speaking before the panel, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, who once served as the sex crimes prosecutor of the Vatican, said that the Holy See now understands that certain changes need to be made in the handling of clergy sex abuse cases. Last year, Pope Francis made the recommendation that the church take decisive action by speaking out about the protection of minors, taking the guilty to task, and helping the victims.

Please contact Altman & Altman, LLP if you believe your child was a victim of Massachusetts clergy sexual abuse and you would like to explore legal options. We also represent adults who were the victims of Boston sexual abuse as children.

Over the years, thousands of boys and girls around the world suffered at the hands of priests and other clergy members who used their authority and position in the church to molest, rape, and sexually assault them. Child sex abuse is an act of violence that can leave lasting emotional and psychological scars. Many victims suppress the memories and/or wait years to speak up about what happened out of fear and shame. It is only in the last several years when the Catholic sex abuse scandal became exposed as a huge problem occurring in countries around the world that the church has begun to take more action against such crimes. For years, the church would just move offending priests to other parishes where they would go on to molest more children.

Clergy sex abuse continues to happen. Vatican officials say that it knows of at least 612 incidents of clerical sexual abuse in 2012. Minors were involved in 418 of these cases.

Contact our Boston injury law firm today.

Vatican Comes Under U.N. Scrutiny Over Priest Abuse Scandal, NPR, January 16, 2014

U.N. Panel Grills Vatican on Sex-Abuse Cases, The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2014


Database of Publicly Accused Priests in the United States, BishopAccountability.org

More Blog Posts:
Measure Would Give Victims of Massachusetts Sex Abuse Lawsuits Until Age 55 to Sue for Personal Injury, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, May 8, 2013

Deerfield Academy Says Accused Teachers Committed Massachusetts Sexual Abuse, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 4, 2013

Vicodin, Oxycontin, & Percocet Linked to Birth Defects, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, September 26, 2013

October 18, 2013

Holden Woman Sues Worcester Pastor and Greek Orthodox Church for Massachusetts Sexual Abuse Damages

Susan Manter is suing Reverent Charles M. Abdelahad, St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Diocese of Worcester, Orthodox Christian Diocese of New England, and the he Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America, and a number individuals within the church network for Massachusetts sex abuse damages. Manter contends that these people should have known about the abuse and notified the police.

Abdelahad was ordered to serve 90 days of a 2-year jail term after he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and battery. The abuse incidents reportedly took place during during counseling sessions at the church office.

Manter, who is in her 40’s, contends that Abdelahad sexually abused her from 2007 through September of 2010. She said that the Antiochan pastor also physically assaulted her and subjected her to emotional abuse.

She claims that she sustained concussions, broken bones, and other serious injuries. Manter was hospitalized and she said she had to see dentists and doctors a number of times. She wants compensation for negligence, emotional distress, assault and battery, and therapeutic malpractice.

Massachusetts Sexual Assault
Manter’s Massachusetts sex abuse case is a reminder that adults can also become victims of this crime and they too should be entitled to personal injury compensation for the harm they suffered.

Rape, sexual assault, sex abuse, molestation, and incest can lead to a lifetime of trauma for the victims regardless of their age. If you have been a victim of sex abuse, your perpetrator could be subject to criminal charges and you may have grounds for a Boston sex assault claim against the assailant and others who could/should have prevented/detected/stopped the abuse from happening.

Priest Smacked Her Around for Years, Woman Says, Courthouse News, October 7, 2013

Abuse victim sues St. George's former pastor, church
, Telegram, October 17, 2013


More Blog Posts:

Holyoke, Massachusetts Family Settles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Fraternity, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 11, 2013

Charlestown Workers Injured During Scaffolding Incident, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 18, 2013

Stryker “ShapeMatch Cutting Guide” and its Complications During Knee Replacement Surgery Lead to Voluntary Manufacturer Recall, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, October 8, 2013


October 10, 2013

Emerson College Vows to Improve Investigating Sexual Assault Cases in Wake of Federal Complaint

Emerson College has promised to improve its investigation of campus sexual assaults after a group of students filed a complaint with the federal government against the school.

criminal-defense.jpgThe complaint was filed last week with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Two of the complainants, sophomore Sarah Tedesco, 19, and junior Jillian Doherty had alleged that Emerson had downplayed and failed to fully investigate at least two separate sexual assault incidents. The complainants also alleged that Emerson violated their rights under Title IX and the Clery Act which states that:

If a school or its employees knows or reasonably should know about sexual harassment (including sexual violence), the school must take immediate action to eliminate the sexual harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects, even if the victim does not want to file a complaint.

Last October, Tedesco had been drugged and assaulted by an MIT student during an off-campus party. Though Tedesco had been hospitalized, Emerson administrators had discouraged Tedesco from talking to police and stated that they would handle the case through their own judicial system.

But Tedesco is now alleging that her school mishandled her case, closing it after several months because according to administrators, “it did not warrant a hearing.” In a second, separate incident, in which Tedesco was assaulted, Tedesco reported the incident to school administrators who again downplayed her complaint. According to Tedesco, her attackers still remain at their respective schools and have yet to face any judicial punishment.

Both Tedesco and Doherty said that filing the complaint was made in an effort pursue changes within the school’s procedures for handling assault cases; not just because of their experiences, but for the sake of all present and future victims of sex crimes.

In response to the complaint, Emerson president, M. Lee Pelton, said a number of steps, including the hiring of a “sexual assault advocate” to support sexual assault victims as well as the establishment of preventative programs, will be taken to properly handle and prevent future similar incidents.

While sexual abuse is a serious crime typically handled by law enforcement, what many victims do not know is that they may also be eligible to file a civil claim against the perpetrator or institution employing the perpetrator. In this case, both schools in which the alleged attackers are enrolled had the responsibility to thoroughly investigate the incidents and administer the necessary disciplinary action.

Continue reading "Emerson College Vows to Improve Investigating Sexual Assault Cases in Wake of Federal Complaint" »

August 31, 2013

Student Rape Crimes Alleged at Western Massachusetts Sports Camp

Our Boston injury lawyers represent students that have been the victim of violent crimes at schools, campuses, and related facilities throughout the state. Unfortunately, physical assault, shootings, and sexual assault can happen at institutions of learning. Lone gunmen have even been known to choose schools populated by some of our youngest children. Some violent crime incidents are instigated by teachers or students.

Yesterday, three Somerville High School Junior Varsity boys soccer team were arrested on Massachusetts rape charges over an alleged sex assault at Camp Lenox in Otis. The city of Somerville had rented a facility at the camp to foster team building.

Three teens, all high school juniors, are accused of going into a cabin where freshmen students were staying and assaulting three people. One of the accused, a 17-year-old boy, is charged with multiple sexual assault crimes involving a child younger than age 16. The other two suspects are 16-year-olds, and similar criminal charges against them are expected.

Separate from any criminal case, the alleged victims may have reason to pursue Massachusetts injury damages for sexual assault not just against their assailants but also against the camp, the school, the city of Somerville, or others if negligence on their part allowed/failed to prevent the assault crimes from happening.

School Sexual Assault
With so many schools and colleges located in Massachusetts, crimes against students are a problem, and sexual assault is in an especially serious concern. (Studies show that 1 out of 4 women are raped while in college and many of these incidents go unreported.) Dorm rapes, sexual assault in school buildings and in sororities and fraternities, as well as in other group housing have happened.

Schools know the risks and they are supposed to provide adequate security on their premises. This security and supervision extends to school sanctioned and sponsored events that take place away from school grounds.

Three Somerville High soccer players charged with raping students at sports camp, Boston.com, August 30, 2013

Somerville High School student athletes charged with aggravated rape, My Fox Boston, August 30, 3013


More Blog Posts:

Measure Would Give Victims of Massachusetts Sex Abuse Lawsuits Until Age 55 to Sue for Personal Injury, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, May 8, 2013

GranuFlo Lawsuits Seek to Give Patients and Families Compensation Over Dangerous Drug Injuries, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, August 13, 2013

OSHA Proposes New Rule to Protect Workers from Toxic Silica Exposure, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, August 29, 2013

July 16, 2013

Brookline Hot Coffee Assault Gives Woman First-Degree Facial Burns

In Brookline, a woman sustained first-degree burns to her face when another woman assaulted her with hot coffee. The incident took place at the HRI hospital cafeteria.

According to the report, Amber Kelly threw the drink at the woman, who is related to the ex-wife of her husband. Kelly is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, in addition to four other additional warrants.

Massachusetts Personal Injury and Assault
A Brookline, MA personal injury lawsuit doesn’t just have to involve accidental incidents that caused harm or injury. A plaintiff can also file a civil suit for violent incidents such as physical assault, sexual assault, rape, assault and battery, and other instances in which one party hurts the other. Please contact our Boston injury lawyers to find out whether you have grounds for a case.

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, one man is suing New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez. That personal injury lawsuit accuses him of shooting Alexander Bradley in the eyes after an altercation. Bradley is seeking over $100,000 in damages. News of the complaint surfaced around the time that Massachusetts police began investigation the NFL star’s possible involvement in another man’s death. Hernandez has since been charged with murder.

In another high profile case that could likely lead to a wrongful death lawsuit, the family of Trayvon Martin still could sue George Zimmerman in civil court. Zimmerman, 29, was acquitted of the teens murder in criminal court. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Martin’s parents have already settled their wrongful death claim with the homeowners association of the subdivision where the boy died.

Zimmerman shot the unarmed teen, 17, inside the gated community last year. While the night watchman admitted to shooting Martin, he is adamant about acting in self-defense and that it was the teenager that attacked him. Unlike in a criminal murder case, the standard of proof in a civil lawsuit is lower, and the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove liability beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather, “more likely than not.”

Suspect throws hot coffee at woman’s face at Brookline hospital, Wicked Local, July 16, 2013

Lawsuit: Patriots’ Aaron Hernandez shot man after fight at a Miami Gardens strip club, Miami Herald, June 20, 2013

George Zimmerman’s Acquittal Sparks Talk of Civil Lawsuit, Bloomberg, July 15, 2013


More Blog Posts:

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Massachusetts Blames Hotel Security Guard for Teen’s Fatal Shooting During Class Trip, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, June 7, 2013

Massachusetts Wrongful Death/Personal Injury Lawsuit Blaming Lax Supervision at Gillette Stadium for Drunken Driving Crash Will Go to Trial, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, December 19, 2012

Two Plymouth Teens Injured in Texting and Driving Crash, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, July 10, 2013

May 8, 2013

Measure Would Give Victims of Massachusetts Sex Abuse Lawsuits Until Age 55 to Sue for Personal Injury

A measure is being proposed that would raise the statute of limitations for victims of Massachusetts child sex abuse so that they would have until age 55 to sue for personal injury damages. Currently, most victims in the state have only until they turn 21 to file a civil case—save for an exception to the law that lets older people sue an alleged abuser if the sex abuse lawsuit is submitted within three years of when the victim first discovered that he/she was molested.

While some are questioning whether allowing for a child sex abuse case after so much time has passed could weigh unfairly against those accused—by this point memories might be vaguer and there may not be as many witnesses—other believe that giving victims more time to sue is in their best interests. If you were the victim of Massachusetts sexual abuse, please contact our Boston sexual assault law firm to request your free case assessment.

Child Sex Abuse
Sexual abuse can leave a victim with lasting trauma. Some may not remember the incident for years or they may be too terrified to speak out. It can literally take some people a lifetime to process enough of their pain and suffering so that they can actually take action or even tell anyone what happened to them. Some may even need a lot of counseling first.

In some sex cases, accusing the alleged abuser can be tough, especially when he/she and the victim had a close relationship. There even may be the fear that more people will get hurt if the abuse becomes known.

You want to work with a Boston sexual abuse law firm that understands the nature of your emotional and psychological injuries, as well as the impact this is having on your personal relationships, career, health, and well-being. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Massachusetts injury lawyers are aware of the delicacy surrounding this matter even as we work hard to make sure you recover the compensation that you are owed.

Change sought in Mass. limit on sex abuse lawsuits, Boston.com/AP, May 7, 2013

Understanding Child Sex Abuse
, American Psychological Association


More Blog Posts:
Deerfield Academy Says Accused Teachers Committed Massachusetts Sexual Abuse, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 4, 2013

$500,000 Massachusetts Clergy Abuse Settlement Reached Between Former Williamstown Altar Boy and Two Ex-Springfield Roman Catholic Bishops, Boston Injury Lawyers Blog, July 29, 2012

Dorchester, Massachusetts Child Sex Abuse?: Teacher's Assistant Accused of Lewd and Lascivious Behavior Involving Disabled Student, Boston Injury Lawyer, December 13, 2011

April 4, 2013

Deerfield Academy Says Accused Teachers Committed Massachusetts Sexual Abuse

Following a report by Deerfield Academy that it is looking into allegations of Massachusetts sexual abuse involving two of its former longtime faculty members, police say that they too plan to conduct an investigation. The report confirms that Peter Hindle, who taught math at the exclusive boarding school from 1956 to 2000, sexually interacted with at least one student, while English teacher Bryce Lambert, who is now deceased, had sexual contact with two students.

According a letter signed by Deerfield’s board of trustees president Philip Greer and school head Margarita Curtis, the school could have done more to better handle past reports of inappropriate behavior involving the two teachers. Meantime, another man has stepped forward to claim that he too was sexually abused by Hindle, who, while he has not commented on these allegations, has previously admitted to giving backrubs to a number of students.

Sexual Abuse and Schools
If you or someone you love was sexually abused by a teacher, a counselor, a coach, or someone else at a school, you may have grounds for a Boston sexual abuse lawsuit. Unfortunately, sexual predators in positions of authority can use their power to perpetuate sexual crimes and other abusive acts on those under their watch. Many times, young kids are too scared to report what happened or may feel unable to speak out against their perpetrator.

Sexual abuse often leaves lasting emotional and psychological wounds that can lead to a lifetime of trauma and heartache. Eating disorders, depression, suicide, intimacy issues, addictions, posttraumatic stress disorder, and other serious complications can result.

While no amount of money can make up for your pain and suffering, obtaining Boston personal injury damages can allow you to hold those responsible—including those that should/could have prevented/detected/stopped the abuse form happening—liable while providing you with the financial resources you need to get help.

Abuse Charge at Exclusive Boarding School Stirs Inquiry, The New York Times, April 1, 2013

Third man accuses former Deerfield Academy teacher of sexual abuse, lawyer says, Boston.com, April 2, 2013


More Blog Posts:

Boston Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed by Former Student Claims Inappropriate Relationship with Teacher, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 21, 2013

$500,000 Massachusetts Clergy Abuse Settlement Reached Between Former Williamstown Altar Boy and Two Ex-Springfield Roman Catholic Bishops, Boston Injury Lawyers Blog, July 29, 2012

Massachusetts Child Sex Abuse Allegations Lead to Charges Against Former Newton Teacher and Woburn Little League Coach, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 10, 2012

March 21, 2013

Boston Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed by Former Student Claims Inappropriate Relationship with Teacher

A former Andover, MA student is suing Pike School, Groton School, and staff at the two schools for Boston personal injury. The plaintiff, who is now in his 30’s, claims that he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female teacher. He believes that staff at the two schools behaved negligently in that they failed to notice and prevent the teacher, Judith Elefante, from acting with him the way she did.

In his Boston sexual abuse case, the alleged victim says that the sexual relationship with Elefante began at Pike School and went on while he attended Groton School (and also, later in college). He claims that Elefante took advantage of his self-confidence and dependency problems and assaulted, raped, and battered him. The plaintiff says that because of the alleged sexual abuse, he stopped going to school and suffered serious permanent emotional and physical injuries.

Sexual Abuse and Emotional Injuries
Sexual abuse can have serious, permanent emotional consequences for victims. Such trauma may manifest itself immediately or even years later—depending on each person’s reaction to the violating and disturbing event. For example, some sex abuse victims may suppress the memory of what happened to them and it may not be until much later in life that what they remember manifests itself into trauma.

Emotional Effects of Sexual Abuse Can Include/Lead to:
• Post traumatic stress disorder
• Sleeping disorders
• Dissociative Identity disorder
• Self-harm
• Drug abuse
• Alcoholism
• Depression
• Suicide
• Flashbacks
• Eating disorders
• Borderline personality disorder
• Intimacy issues
• Anger issues
• Trust issues
• Shame related to sex and the body

Sexual abuse is a form of Massachusetts personal injury that can be grounds for compensation from the liable party. In addition to the abuser, other potential liable parties may include those that allowed the abuse to happen or could/ should have known the sex abuse was taking place and done something to stop it, the owner of the property where the sex abuse/assault happened, and/or the party that was charge of supervising a victim at the time that the abuse occurred.

The state is aware that sex abuse can be a very complex issue and that sometimes a victim may need years to remember/grapple with/summon up the courage to report what happened. The law allows for certain kinds of civil cases to submitted years after the actual abuse incidents transpired.

Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Pike School, Staff, Andover Patch, March 20, 2013


More Blog Posts:

Clergy Sex Abuse Returns to the Spotlight with Pope Benedict’s Resignation and the Wait for His Successor, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, March 6, 2013

Beverly, Massachusetts Sexual Abuse Allegations Continue Against Landmark School, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2013

Boy Scouts Concealed Child Sex Abuse, Reports LA Times, Boston Injury Lawyers Blog, September 18, 2012

March 6, 2013

Clergy Sex Abuse Returns to the Spotlight with Pope Benedict’s Resignation and the Wait for His Successor

Following the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, speculation is focusing on who will take his place. Now, according to CNN, a group representing victims of clergy sex abuse have come up a list of cardinals that it believes would be the worst papal candidates in light of how they handled claims of child sex abuse in the past.

Included on this “Dirty Dozen” list are three US cardinals: Timothy Dolan of NY, Donald Wuerl of DC, and Sean O’Malley of Massachusetts. While some of the 12 cardinals were named because of they way they allegedly covered up sex abuse incidents, others were included because of public comments they made about the clergy abuse debacle.

The group seeking to blacklist these men is called the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests. SNAP also wants some of the older cardinals to not take part in the meetings that have been scheduled before the new pope is elected because the organization feels that some of these men actively protected priests that were accused of molesting kids.

Unfortunately, kids are easy targets for adult molesters, who may choose to abuse their authority over someone in this way. You should know that in addition to rape and sexual assault, sex abuse can come in many forms, including inappropriate or unwanted touching, making someone watch pornography or a live sexual act, or sexualizing a child in other ways.

Our Boston sex abuse lawyers represent children and adults that have been the victim of clergy sex abuse. Sexual abuse is very insidious and can led to a lifetime of emotional trauma and pain, impeding someone’s ability to lead a healthy, normal, and productive life. Even if you are no longer a child and the abuse happened a while ago, you still may be able to file a Massachusetts personal injury lawsuit against your abuser and/or the church leadership.

Related Web Resources:
Pope Benedict Resigns: Next Steps to Conclave, ABC News, March 1, 2013

Abuse in the Catholic Church, The Boston Globe

Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests

Priest abuse victims' group blacklists 12 cardinals for pope, CNN, March 6, 2013


More Blog Posts:
Beverly, Massachusetts Sexual Abuse Allegations Continue Against Landmark School, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2013

$500,000 Massachusetts Clergy Abuse Settlement Reached Between Former Williamstown Altar Boy and Two Ex-Springfield Roman Catholic Bishops, Boston Injury Lawyers Blog, July 29, 2012

Man Sues City of Waltham for Massachusetts Child Sex Abuse Allegedly Committed by Former Assistant High School Football Coach, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, December 19, 2011