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October 22, 2014

Two Young Women Sue Website in Boston for Sex Trafficking

Two young women are suing Backpage.com after they became the victims of sex trafficking. Their Massachusetts lawsuit, filed in Boston is accusing the company of setting up a business model that enabled child sex trafficking in the U.S. The plaintiffs’ lawyers describe Backpage.com as a website that carries advertisements for illegal commercial sex.

One of the plaintiffs says that sold for over 1,000 times in 18 months when she was 15 and 16 in ’12 and ’13. The other girl says she was trafficked as a teen between ’12 and ’13. The two girls were purportedly trafficked in separate “stables” of girls who were moved to different cities, including Boston, other Massachusetts cities, and Rhode Island.

The plaintiffs claim that Backpage.com and parent company Camarillo Holdings LLC violated the Massachusetts Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2010 and the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act of 2008. They also are accusing the defendants of succeeding in purposely becoming a lead player in the online sex trade and making misrepresentations to non-profits and law enforcement to make it appear as if the website was trying to get rid of the child sex traffic ads when that wasn’t the case.

The Boston injury lawsuit is not the only litigation seeking damages from Backpage.com for child sex trafficking. The Washington Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case filed by three plaintiffs. The three young women’s’ lawyers said the victims were sold as prostitutes in ads on the web site. The plaintiffs claim they were raped on numerous occasions after pimps forced them to sell themselves for sex.

Backpage.com is arguing that both lawsuits are attempts at censorship. It claims that the Communications Decency Act grants it immunity. An attorney for the company noted that it was not Backpage.com that created the sex crime ads.

If you or someone you love was injured in a sex crime you should speak with an experienced Boston injury lawyer right away. Sex trafficking is illegal and a crime. Often, young minors are forced into prostituting themselves.

There may be more than one party that should be held liable for your injuries. In addition to the person that directly caused you harm, there may be individual or entities that allowed you to get hurt rather than protecting you by preventing or stopping the incident.

Alleged child sex trafficking victims suing Backpage.com, Boston.com, October 17, 2014

Backpage.com ask high court to throw out lawsuit, The Washington Post, October 21, 2014

CPSC Votes to Make Mandatory Standards for Window Covering Cords, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 11, 2014

MA Electrical Company Cited By U.S. Department of Labor After Deaths of 2 Workers, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 28, 2014

Brookline Police Gauge Interest in New Bicycle Law, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 3, 2014

September 11, 2014

Brandeis University Faces Scrutiny by Federal Investigators for Sex Abuse Cases

Brandeis University in Waltham is the latest college to come under scrutiny by the United States Education Department for the handling of sexual assault complaints involving its students. The university is the 10th school in Massachusetts and one of more than 75 in the country to be investigated by the U.S. Dept. of Education according to WCVB.

According to reports (initially published by The Boston Globe), the investigation is centered on a student's allegation that the school wrongly and unfairly found him responsible for sexual misconduct this past spring and subsequently disciplined him.

While Brandeis spokesman Bill Schaller did not comment directly about that particular investigation, he acknowledged that the school had already taken initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual assault complaints, including opening a rape crisis center, hiring a psychological counselor who specializes in trauma and sexual violence, and relocating its office of sexual assault services and prevention to a more central location on campus. According to WCVB, the university conducted bystander-intervention training for students and created an informational website and distributed resource guides to students, faculty, and staff to increase awareness of sexual assault services and prevention efforts.

This past May the Department of Education began an investigation of 55 campuses for complaints that they possibly violated rules governing the handling of sexual violence and harassment cases. Included in that list are Amherst College, Boston University, Emerson College, Harvard College, Harvard Law School, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Berklee College of Music, Hampshire College, UMass Dartmouth, and Brandeis University.

Continue reading "Brandeis University Faces Scrutiny by Federal Investigators for Sex Abuse Cases" »

August 15, 2014

Former Student Sues Emerson College in Massachusetts Sexual Assault Case

Jillian Doherty is seeking personal injury compensation from Emerson College. She claims that that the college mishandled her Massachusetts sexual assault case. Doherty wants compensation for the emotional trauma she suffered and her hospital bills and tuition. She dropped out of the school earlier this year.

Doherty says she was raped in April 2012 after having consensual sex with a male student after she refused to have anal sex with him. She contends that he forcibly penetrated her. The two of them were intoxicated at the time.

Doherty claims that she waited to report the incident nearly a year later because Emerson did a poor job of informing students about sexual assault and the resources that were available. When the accused provided new evidence and a character letter from someone who wasn’t even involved in the matter at the hearing, Doherty says she was not given a chance to respond. The male undergraduate was cleared in the case. However, following an appeal, the school found him responsible and he was expelled.

In her Springfield, MA injury case, Doherty says that Emerson violated its own policies. She claims that the assault and the way the Emerson handled the case caused her grades to drop. Doherty developed post-traumatic stress and chronic depression. Her request for academic accommodation was refused. Doherty sought hospital treatment and later withdrew from school.

Emerson is one of several Massachusetts colleges and universities that the US Department of Education is looking at for the way they handle sex assault cases. The college is also facing a Title IX probe. Doherty and several students also submitted a complaint to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

If you have been the victim of a Boston sexual assault crime on campus, do not hesitate to contact Altman & Altman, LLP today. You may have reason to pursue a civil case against your assailant and other parties.

Unfortunately, Massachusetts campus crimes happen on a regular basis. It is the responsibility of schools to create an atmosphere that discourages incidents of sexual and physical violence, as well as protect its students.

Ex-student says Emerson mishandled rape investigation, BostonGlobe, August 14, 2014

Title IX


More Blog Posts:

Back-to-School: Drugs and Alcohol, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, August 13, 2014

Hyde Park Contractor Subjects Employees to Electrocution Hazards: Faces $70,000 in Fines, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, July 28, 2014

More Zoloft Drug Injury Lawsuits, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, August 12, 2014

August 7, 2014

Teenage girl raped at Keith Urban concert

Two Saturdays ago at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, amidst a roaring crowd, the permeating smell of alcohol, the blazing lights and the blasting sounds of country music singer Keith Urban, a 17-year-old girl endured a painful traumatic event: rape. According to police reports, the event took place in the front lawn of the venue, in plain view of onlookers, most of who just watched. Some even filmed the rape on their phones.

According to a Mansfield Police statement, officers were not aware of the situation until a witness approached them. She had asked the victim, who was lying on the ground, whether the act was consensual. The girl allegedly told the witness it wasn’t. The girl then broke free of the attacker, and fled into the crowd. Sean Murphy, 18, of West Roxbury was arrested and charged with sexual assault, and released two days later on bail. He has pleaded not guilty.

Also at this concert, 22 people ended up hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, 50 underage drinkers were taken into protective custody, and many more were treated for injuries and arrested for public intoxication.

Though large public events that permit alcohol consumption are not unheard of, especially during the summer months, rape is inexcusable. What could have been done to prevent the assault? To start with, the security measures for large events need to be re-evaluated. Where were the officers and security team to bring order into large, drinking crowds? At the July 26th concert, an estimated 18,000 attendees filled the Xfinity Center on that night alone. If the Xfnity Center can hold such a sizable crowd, it should also have an equally sizable and efficient security measures than the ones currently in place. Yet the police department in Mansfield had trouble responding to the demands of the large crowd, at the cost of preventing rape.

"We were very busy with a lot of things going on not the least of which was taking care of the (rape) victim," Police Chief Ronald Sellon said to the Boston Herald.

Continue reading "Teenage girl raped at Keith Urban concert" »

June 18, 2014

Bill Would Give Massachusetts Childhood Sex Abuse Victims 32 More Years to Sue

The Massachusetts House has passed a measure that would extend the statute of limitations for when a victim of child sex abuse can file a civil lawsuit in the state. Currently, victims have until age 21 to file an actions against their alleged assailants or the institutions that should have prevented/stopped the abuse. This bill gives victims until they turn 53 to sue for damages.

The proposed measure would also increase how much time a victim has after recovering repressed memories of Massachusetts childhood sex abuse to file a case. Currently, abuse victims have three years from when they remember. The bill extends that time period to seven years. The legislation now heads to the state senate.

Child sex abuse can lead to lasting scars. Often, children are too scared and confused to understand or even report what has happened to them. It may be years before they remember or want to speak out.

Unfortunately, not only do incidents of child sex abuse continue to happen, but often the assailants are people the victims know. Family members, family friends, teachers, counselors, coaches, priests and other adults who given access and authority over them because of their “trusted” positions have been known to abuse this privilege.

If you were the victim of child sex abuse, you still may have grounds to pursue a Boston child sex abuse lawsuit even if the incident happened years ago. Depending on what happened, you could have a case not only against your assailant but also against any institution that failed to protect you. This is the reason schools and churches and other institutions are named as defendants.

In other Massachusetts child sex abuse news, the Walpole Times is reporting that the Home for Little Wanderers, a residence for at-risk youth, continues to either wait too long to report serious campus crimes (including incidents of sexual abuse) or not report the incidents at all. By law, the residence’s employees are supposed to notify the authorities about any child sex abuse incidents right away. The home, however, disputes the way the paper and local polices have been reporting and “labeling” what allegedly transpired there.

If you think that you or your child could have grounds for a civil sex abuse case, please contact our Boston personal injury lawyers today. Altman & Altman, LLP represents children and adult survivors.

Bill Would Grant More Time for Sex Abuse Lawsuits, Boston.com, June 18, 2014

Walpole police: Rape in Longview Farm dorm went unreported, Wicked Local, May 21, 2014

Home For Little Wanderers Disputes Walpole Police Over Alleged Sex Assault
, CBS Boston, May 21, 2014


More Blog Posts:
Former Student Files Massachusetts Sex Abuse Case, Says Teacher Gave Him Pain Pills For Favors, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, May 7, 2014

Clergy Sex Abuse: Pope Benedict Defrocked Almost 400 Priests in Two Years, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 18, 2014

Research Shows Link Between Heartburn Medication and Bone Breaks, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, June 18, 2014

May 7, 2014

Former Student Files Massachusetts Sex Abuse Case, Says Teacher Gave Him Pain Pills For Favors

A 23-year-old man is suing his former Spanish teacher for Massachusetts sexual abuse. The plaintiff, identified only as “John Doe,” says that Emily Parks, who used to be the principal at Westwood High School, and the school committee failed to protect him from Ashworth’s sexual advances.

According to the Massachusetts personal injury case, Ashworth, who is from Needham, became Doe’s Spanish teacher when he was a sophomore. Because he has a debilitating skin disorder, Doe was a special education student and often used a wheelchair.

He claims that Ashworth “groomed” him for the abuse by paying extra attention to him and giving him a higher grade. She became his study adviser and spent time with him outside class.

When Doe’s mother complained to Parks that Ashworth was texting her son at all hours and showed her the messages, the then-principal reportedly responded that Doe was the one instigating contact and he should stop. The school district’s attorney, however, said that Ashworth was suspended and Parks told the teacher to stop having “excessive contact with students.” Ashworth quit working at the school in 2009.

According to Doe’s Massachusetts sexual abuse lawyer, during the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant, Ashworth gave his client, Valium, Oxycodone, and Atavan to alleviate the pain he experienced because of his condition. In return she requested sexual favors.

In 2011, Doe was arrested because Ashworth accused him of stealing pills and assaulting her. Doe contends that she called the cops because he wouldn’t give in to her sexual demands.

Unfortunately, Massachusetts sex abuse and sexual assault can happen in schools. According to the Associated Press in 2007, over a five-year period there were over 2,500 cases involving educators who were punished for sexual misconduct. In many of these incidents, the victims were students.

If your son or daughter was a victim of rape, molestation, or sexual assault in school or on campus, please contact our Boston sex abuse lawyers today. You may be able to pursue Massachusetts personal injury damages from the assailant, as well as from others who could have but failed to prevent the abuse from happening.

Former student accuses Westwood High teacher of sex abuse, The Herald News, May 6, 2014

Lawsuit alleges Westwood teacher sexually abused special needs student, MyFoxBoston, May 6, 2014

Sexual Misconduct Plagues US Schools, The Washington Post/AP, October 21, 2007


More Blog Posts:
Clergy Sex Abuse: Pope Benedict Defrocked Almost 400 Priests in Two Years, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 18, 2014

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

Officials Believe Clamp is to Blame for Providence, RI Circus Accident, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, May 5, 2014


April 30, 2014

Student Says She Was Victim of Massachusetts Sexual Assault at Curry College in Milton

A female student at Curry College says she was the victim of a Massachusetts sex crime that took place on campus. The incident allegedly occurred in a dorm building. Her assailant has not been identified but police are investigating the matter.

Curry College is just one of a number of Massachusetts schools in the media spotlight because of sexual assaults on college campuses. Just this week the US Department of Investigation announced that it is investigating 55 colleges and schools to determine whether they illegally handled complaints involving sexual harassment and violence. Schools in this state that are part of the probe: Boston University, Amherst College, University of Massachusetts- Amherst, Emerson College, Harvard College and Harvard University-Law School.

Already, the Department of Education has said that Tufts University did not comply with rules about how to deal with sexual assault. Meantime, both Emerson College and Harvard University are accused of creating hostile environments for sexual assault victims.

President Obama has set up the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. According to the administration, 1 in 5 female college students has been sexually assaulted. However, only 1 out of 8 will file a report. It is important to know that men can also (and have been) victims of sexual assault crimes.

Also this week, the Department of Education issued new guidance so that federally funded schools are aware of what their obligations are when tackling the issue of sexual violence. The guidance applies to all schools from kindergarten and up. Failure to comply with Title IX could result in a lack of funding.

Please contact our Boston sexual assault victim law firm today. Separate of any criminal charges, you also may be able to pursue a Massachusetts personal injury against your assailant, or other parties that could or should have prevented the rape or sexual assault from happening.

You may even have reason to file a Boston negligent college campus securities case or find that you have other grounds for suing for Massachusetts premises liability damages.

Reported sexual assault at Curry College under investigation, WCVB, May 1, 2014

U.S. Department of Education Releases List of Higher Education Institutions with Open Title IX Sexual Violence Investigations, Ed.gov, May 1, 2014

When Men Are Raped, Slate.com, April 29, 2014

Guidance Issued on Responsibilities of Schools to Address Sexual Violence, Other Forms of Sex Discrimination, Ed.gov, April 29, 2014

48 Massachusetts Workers Killed on the Job in 2013, Says Report, Massachusetts Workers Compensation Lawyer Blog, April 28, 2014


More Blog Posts:
Tufts University and Harvard University Face Government Scrutiny for Sexual Assault Cases, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, April 30, 2014

The Number of Reported Boston-Area Sexual Assaults on College Campuses is Rising, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, February 6, 2014

April 30, 2014

Tufts University and Harvard University Face Government Scrutiny for Sexual Assault Cases

Tufts University and Harvard University are facing harsh criticism from government officials for their procedures of handling sex assault cases on their campuses.

On Monday the U.S. Department of Education found that Tufts University has not been complying with federal rules on how colleges should address sexual assaults, and stated that the university needs to do more “to ensure the safety of more than 10,000 students” at the school. The case stems from a complaint filed in 2010 by a woman who accused Tufts mishandled her sexual assault allegations. According to a federal investigation, Tufts waited nearly six months before it launched its own investigation of the woman’s complaint, and did not offer the victim appropriate options; including offering to have her move out of the dormitory where she and the accused lived and still requiring the young woman to attend a leadership class alongside her assailant or else face removal from the program.

According to WCVB.com, a Tufts spokesperson said that the school has been working closely with the Department of Education and is “shocked it has been declared out of compliance with Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sexual discrimination and affects education funding.” The school is at risk of losing its federal funding if it does not reach an agreement with the education department’s Office of Civil Rights.

On Tuesday of this week, a White House task force on sexual assault is expected to recommend that schools identify trained, confidential victim’s advocates and conduct surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses
Harvard University is also facing scrutiny after federal investigators launched separate investigations against the Ivy League school as well as dozens of other schools for allegedly creating hostile environments for sexual assault victims.

Continue reading "Tufts University and Harvard University Face Government Scrutiny for Sexual Assault Cases" »

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: Pope 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