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Articles Posted in Sexual Assault

The woman, a student at MSU, was 18 at the time of the alleged rape. She filed a lawsuit, claiming  that the men gang-raped her, and that the university’s counseling center discouraged her from coming forward with the allegations.

According to the lawsuit, the rape occurred a week after Michigan State lost to Duke in the 2015 Final Four. The woman, who is currently a student at MSU, says she was at an East Lansing bar when one of the three men bought her a drink. Shortly thereafter, she was invited to a party by one of the basketball players, who also claimed that her roommate would be there.

As soon as she arrived at the “party”, in an off-campus apartment, the woman realized her roommate wasn’t there and began “feeling discombobulated” and “thought she might have been drugged.” According to the lawsuit, one of the players threw her down on a bed and raped her, and the other two men soon began taking turns. A few hours later, she woke up and called a taxi. A Boston sexual assault attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been the victim of rape or any other type of sexual assault.

School Counselors Discouraged Victim From Reporting the Rape

The woman says she immediately reported the rape to MSU’s Counseling Center. Although the counseling staffer was initially supportive, “the counselor’s demeanor completely changed,” once the victim revealed that the three men involved were basketball players. Another staffer entered the conversation, informing the woman that reporting the rape may not be in her interest.

In response to the allegations about discouraging the plaintiff to come forward, staff at MSU’s counseling center said that “we have had many other students in the same situation who have reported, and it has been very traumatic for them.” The plaintiff also claims that staff said they had received several reports of cases involving “guys with big names” and that it would be in her best interest to “just get yourself better.” They also told her, “if you pursue this, you are going to be swimming with some really big fish.”

This is not the first time MSU has been pegged for a lack or transparency with regard to sexual assault cases. In fact, the school has been overseen by the Department of Education since 2014 due to mishandled sexual assault cases involving football and basketball players. A MA sexual assault lawyer can help you protect your rights if you’ve been the victim of rape or any other type of sexual assault.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) is an annual campaign that raises public awareness about sexual assault and how to prevent it, especially as it pertains to college campuses. According to statistics, one in five women are sexually assaulted while in college, and 43 percent of college women say they have experienced violent dating behaviors. And Massachusetts is no exception. In 2014, a total of 283 rapes at colleges were reported in MA, but only seven percent of those were ever reported to the schools. Continue reading

Jacob Moore, an 18-year old gymnast, is the first man to accuse gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual abuse. Nassar was the team physician for USA Gymnastics for about 20 years.

One day after practice in April 2016, Moore went to Nassar’s office to receive treatment for an injured shoulder. According to Moore, after Nassar advised him that acupuncture would be the most effective treatment, the doctor pulled down Moore’s pants and began administering acupuncture to his genital area. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment or abuse.

Not surprisingly, the unorthodox “shoulder treatment” did not relieve Moore’s shoulder pain. It did, however, leave him feeling “quite uncomfortable.”

“I left his basement thinking that did not help at all,” Moore said. “It’s frustrating when you have an injury and thinking you’re gonna get legitimate medical treatment, and you’re not getting that, for sure.”

And there was another person in the treatment room with Moore and Nassar during the incident – a young female gymnast. As he performed the disturbing treatment, Nassar asked the woman if she had ever seen a man’s body part before.

Moore made the decision to make his story public after nearly 200 girls – his own sister among them – came forward and testified against Nassar. Last week, the University of Michigan student joined a civil federal suit against the disgraced doctor.

“I was inspired by my sister and everyone else in this community to come out and help bring change to what allowed this to happen,” said Moore. “I don’t want (other victims) to be scared to come out because of stigma that guys can’t be sexually abused or taken advantage of.”

Nassar Sentenced to Decades in Prison

Earlier this year, Nassar admitted that he used his position of authority as a doctor to abuse his victims, and pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct. In addition to those charges, he was sentenced on multiple charges of child pornography.

According to the civil lawsuit against Nassar, “There is no known medical connection between shoulder pain which can be treated through acupuncture in the area of a male’s genitalia. Plaintiff Jacob Moore believes the conduct of Dr. Nassar was sexual assault, battery, abuse, molestation and harassment performed by Defendant Nassar for Defendant Nassar’s sexual pleasure and gratification.”

USA Gymnastics terminated Nassar in 2015 after receiving several complaints about the doctor. But he continued treating Michigan State University patients until further allegations were made public a few months later. In November 2016, Nassar was placed under arrest.

How Was the Abuse Allowed to Go On for So Long?

According to the lawsuit, USA Gymnastics failed to inform the public – or even other gymnasts – about the allegations against Nassar after the organization dismissed him in 2015. As a result, Moore and other victims continued to suffer abuse for nearly a year after Nassar’s dismissal. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse. Continue reading

Roman Catholic priests keep making headlines, for all the wrong reasons. In 2003, Thomas O’Brien, who was bishop of the Dioceses of Phoenix at the time, admitted he had sheltered dozens of priests who had been accused of sexual abuse. Beyond just sheltering them, however, he allowed them to work with children. In 2016, O’Brien himself was accused of sexually abusing a young boy.

In the early 2000s, the Roman Catholic diocese exposed a handful of priests as abusers, two of whom fled the country and are still at large. Another 60-or-so lawsuits are currently pending against priests across the nation, some of the alleged sex crimes dating back seven decades. The most recent involves Louisiana Rev. F. David Broussard, a 51-year-old former pastor who was charged with 500 counts of possession of child pornography. Broussard remains free, on administrative leave.

Mark A. Broussard, a former priest who is not related to F. David Broussard but presided over a neighboring Louisiana parish, was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive life sentences and 50 additional years for molesting and raping altar boys in the 1980s. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been the victim of sexual abuse.

Is Justice Being Served?

Today’s Catholic Church is responding much differently to sex abuse scandals than the Catholic Church of the past. During the first half of the 20th century, priests accused of sexual abuse were often simply reassigned to different parishes. Today, the likes of Mark and F. David Broussard are turned over by Bishops who say they now follow the Catholic Church’s mandates to protect children, including requiring criminal background checks for anyone who has contact with children.

Although progress is definitely being made, you don’t have to go back to the early 1900s to see the Catholic Church turning a blind eye to sex abuse. In 1986, former priest Gilbert Gauthe was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he admitted to raping 37 children, also in Louisiana. But despite having abused more than 100 people, Gauche was released after only 10 years.

And in 2002, during the Boston archdiocese child sex abuse scandal, decades of covered-up child abuse in Wilmington, Delaware began to surface. By 2011, more than $110 million was distributed to 152 adults who had been sexually abused as children by Catholic priests in the Wilmington area. Dozens of priests were involved. A MA injury attorney can help you protect your rights if you’ve been sexually assaulted or abused.

Statute of Limitations

Most civil and criminal cases have a statute of limitations, a window of time within which a claim or lawsuit must be filed. With regard to sexual abuse cases, the statue of limitations varies from state to state. In MA, it’s 15 years. However, in light of the recent surge of sex abuse scandals involving Catholic priests, private schools, and even celebrities, some of these statutes of limitations are being lifted. In Minnesota, for example, a 2013 law temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for victims age 24 and under, giving them unlimited time to file a lawsuit. Anyone over 24 was given a new, three-year window. When that window ended in 2016, more than 800 claims had been filed against state churches and schools, and the Boy Scouts. Continue reading

While she was suffering from a drug overdose, a woman was transferred by ambulance from Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford, Mississippi to another BMH facility about 100 miles away. The Jane Doe now claims that during the transfer, she was sexually assaulted by a paramedic. Bryan Englebert, the EMT accused of sexual assault, plead guilty and is currently serving a minimum of five years in prison. But the victim is blaming more than her assailant.

When we go to the hospital – or any health care professional, for that matter – we have no choice but to put our lives and well-being in their hands. Hospitals and medical professionals owe us a duty of care to protect us from further harm, at the very least, while in their care. Medical professionals can make honest mistakes; they’re only human. But when negligence is a factor, a provider and / or health care facility may be liable for any resulting damages, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.

Doe alleges that the hospital’s failure to provide proper training and supervision to its employees, as well as its lack of an adequate safety policy, put her in harm’s way. In her lawsuit, she claims that Englebert sexually battered and assaulted her while the driver, Matthew Austin, videotaped the assault. Doe was incapacitated during the incident, and has a history of mental health issues. As such, the hospital owed her an even higher duty of care. She is suing for negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. According to her lawsuit, Doe suffered significant physical injury, and mental trauma and suffering.

Hospital Liability

So, when is the hospital liable, and when is it just an honest mistake? Fortunately, the vast majority of medical professionals have the best interest of patients in mind at all times. However, even good doctors can make serious mistakes when fatigued or under extreme pressure or stress. Sometimes, mistakes are due to inexperience. Other times, lack of communication, administrative problems, and even bad handwriting are the culprit. And occasionally, health care-related injuries can be a result of gross negligence. A MA personal injury lawyer can help you determine whether negligence played a role in your particular case.  Continue reading

Following a nine-month investigation by a security consulting firm, school officials at Massachusetts’ prestigious Milton Academy recently confirmed a decades-long sexual abuse scandal. Four teachers are alleged to have molested several students over the years. The school’s theater program director from 1975 to 1987, Rey Buono is accused of abusing at least 12 boys. Buono was fired in 1987 after admitting to molesting a male student. According to the consulting firm, Milton Academy “had some knowledge of Rey Buono’s misconduct in 1982,” but he continued to work there for an additional five years.

More than 200 Victims

The investigation extends beyond Milton to other schools in New England. All in all, more than 200 victims have come forward, and at least 90 legal claims have been filed against at least 67 private schools in the region. In an official apology letter, Milton school officials wrote, “On behalf of Milton Academy and its board of trustees, we want to acknowledge and deeply apologize for those failures.” That letter was but one in a series of apology letters sent by dozens of private schools in the New England region. In fact, a recent investigation by the Boston Globe discovered sexual abuse allegations in more than 100 New England private schools in the past 25 years.

“Milton Academy’s leadership at that time failed to protect students and failed to investigate whether Rey Buono had abused other students during his tenure at the school,” said Todd Bland, the current head of school. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse or harassment, a Boston sexual abuse attorney can help you determine how to proceed.

After losing his job in 1987 due to sexual abuse allegations, Buono moved to Southeast Asia in 1988 and has been working in a similar capacity – with children – ever since. According to a spokesperson for Milton Academy, immigration authorities have been contacted with the findings of the investigation. In addition to Buono, three other Milton employees are alleged to have sexually abused three female students. The claims range from lewd comments to sexual intercourse. Milton Academy has not identified the other male employees, but says that reports have been filed with “appropriate officials and law enforcement agencies.”

Sexual Abuse Can Have Lifelong Repercussions

Milton Academy’s current school leaders have acknowledged the detrimental impact that sexual abuse can have on an individual, saying that these victims “can live with the repercussions of those acts for years.” The school is responding by offering to pay for counseling services for victims. A MA sexual abuse lawyer can help you determine your rights and options if you were a victim of sexual abuse at Milton Academy or any other school. Continue reading

College is an exciting time for young people from all walks of life to gather, learn and grow into the primes of their lives. Boston is filled with a number of world class universities.  College campuses, in an ideal world, would be bastions of safety, where the aspiring leaders of tomorrow can feel comfortable regardless of the scenario. Unfortunately, as with every other aspect of society, people do horrible things that can have life-altering consequences.

Sexual assault on college campuses is an increasingly prevalent problem in American society. According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, one in five women and one in 16 men will be sexually assaulted while they are enrolled in college. Women in college are also three times more likely to be sexually assaulted than average.

What is more heartbreaking, though, is that 90% of victims who are assaulted while in college do not report the crime. Researchers have hypothesized that part of the reason for the lack of reports is due to the shame, negative stigma and possible backlash that can follow as a result of going public with a sexual assault incident.

Rape culture: Prioritizing silence and shame over justice

“Rape culture” refers to an aspect of American culture that shames victims of sexual assault into not reporting the crime. Whether it’s due to fear of not being believed, fear of being blamed or shamed or just wanting to try to forget that it happened. One need look no further than the most recently publicized college sexual assault case involving Brock Turner, a standout swimmer at Stanford University who digitally raped a 22-year-old female student after she fell unconscious, to see how twisted the sociological climate regarding rape is.

Two eyewitnesses saw the crime occur and actually intervened to stop it from going further, and despite a good amount of physical evidence and a possible sentence of 14 years for felony sexual assault, Turner was given only six months in a county jail and three months of probation. He only served three months of that sentence, and is currently living at his family home on probation, sparking widespread outrage across the country.

Although Turner was convicted guilty, and some legal minds have defended the judge’s verdict as being reasonable considering the circumstances, the public’s furious response nevertheless indicated how people are becoming more and more fed up with sexual assault on college campuses. It was seen as a slap on the wrist, preferential treatment being given to someone because they were an aspiring athlete. Meanwhile, the victim he assaulted has to deal with the repercussions of that night forever.

“Your damage was concrete; stripped of titles, degrees, enrollment. My damage was internal, unseen, I carry it with me,” said the victim in a powerful impact statement during the trial. “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.” Continue reading

Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News Channel anchor, filed a suit against chief executive Roger Ailes on Wednesday, claiming she was terminated after she denied his sexual advances and complained about sexual harassment at work.  Ailes replied in a statement denying all allegations and also claiming Carlson was prompted to file the lawsuit in retaliation for her contract not being renewed.  Carlson had worked at Fox for 11 years was abruptly fired on June 23.  According to Carlson, it was nine months earlier in a meeting with Ailes in which she addressed her feelings of discrimination.  During this meeting, Carlson claims that Ailes said, “you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.”  This is not the only comment the 50-year-old Carlson alleges Ailes made.  Carlson, named Miss American in1989, claims that the 76-year-old Ailes constantly gawked at her, made numerous comments about her legs, insisted she wear form fitting clothes to enhance her figure and also said she was sexy but “too much hard work.”

These allegations are not without consequence.  Ailes is one of the most dominant moguls in the media business and will, no doubt, put up a fight.  Ailes built the Fox News Channel from the ground up starting in the 1990s.  It has since become a top-rated television news network with a significant sway on politics.  It is a greatly lucrative network for its parent company, 21st Century Fox.  Carlson says that she was terminated as host of the morning show “Fox & Friends” in 2013.  This was followed by a pay cut with the transfer to a daytime slot.  Carlson alleges this is a result of her complaints about being sexually harassed.  One of her co-hosts from “Fox & Friends,” Steve Doocy, “had created a hostile work environment by regularly treating [her] in a sexist and condescending way” according to Carlson.  She goes on that Ailes’s response to these complaints was to condemn Carlson as a “man hater” who should learn to “get along with the boys.”  Her account also alleges that Ailes punished her by reducing the amount of political interviews she conducted and stopped her regular appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s prime-time program.  21st Century Fox made a statement saying it has full confidence in Alies and Doocy but they have launched a full investigation into the matter.  Continue reading

Sexual abuse cases are always highly sensitive. This is especially true when the offender is a trusted authority figure, such as a doctor or teacher. The Boston Globe recently called attention to a disturbing number of sexual abuse and harassment cases in New England private schools, churches, and a medical center. Contact a Boston Sexual Abuse Attorney Today.

Attorney Tyler Fox, Of Counsel to Altman & Altman, who specializes in representing the victims of sexual harassment and assault, is currently investigating and representing clients who were sexually abused while students at boarding/prep schools in New England.  Many more victims are expected to come forward as they gain the courage to tell their stories and seek justice for the abuse and cover-up by the schools.  Tyler is also representing victims of abuse by priests of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston. And he has recently been featured in a Boston Globe article about an ongoing series of sexual assault cases and negligence cases against a doctor from the Fertility Centers of New England.

Over 200 New England Private School Students Have Alleged Sexual Abuse

According to a recent Boston Globe report, more than 200 students at about 67 different schools have come forward since 1991, claiming they were sexually abused or harassed by teachers and staff. At least 90 lawsuits have been filed as a result. However, only about 37 of the accused have been fired for their alleged conduct, while several accused began working at other schools. Prior to the Globe’s investigation, elite private schools often ignored sexual assault cases, sometimes intimidating claimants into dropping their lawsuits. Fortunately, the tables are beginning to turn.

According to the New York Times, “This year at least eight New England private schools have started or disclosed investigations into sexual misconduct. At least five of those inquiries—at St. George’s School in Rhode Island, the Taft School in Connecticut, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and Thayer Academy and Concord Academy in Massachusetts—have led to staff members being placed on administrative leave or fired, [The Globe] said.” Continue reading

When most people go to see a doctor, they generally place their trust in that doctor’s words and actions. Afterall, physicians are highly trained to care for us in our most vulnerable states. Whether we’re ill, injured, or seeking medical advice, we rely on health care providers to have our best interests in mind at all times. Unfortunately, as with any person in any profession, doctors can be negligent, careless, and some may even commit criminal acts. In fact, a Boston-area fertility doctor who resigned in 2014 after sexual assault allegations threatened his career, has just been accused by two more patients. Contact a Boston Sexual Assault Lawyer Today.

Boston Fertility Doctor Had Long History of Patient-Sex Abuse

Dr. Roger Ian Hardy, medical director for the Fertility Centers of New England, has just been accused of sexual assault by two more patients who were treated at the clinic. Earlier this month, a Marlborough woman and her husband were the first to file suit against Hardy and his employer. The claimant alleges that Hardy assaulted her while she was under anesthesia for an egg retrieval procedure in 2013. According to the lawsuit, the victim awoke from anesthesia with “severe vaginal trauma and bleeding,” and Hardy told her the injuries were just a “normal part of the procedure.” The lawsuit also claims that the Reading-based clinic knew about Hardy’s history of patient-sex abuse but kept it from patients. A second woman has just hired an attorney and alleges that she was also touched inappropriately by Hardy during a 2012 ultrasound test.

Further investigation into the case has revealed that these two women are not alone. A reporter from the Globe interviewed three more patients who accused Hardy of similar acts of sexual misconduct or assault. In fact, according to former Princeton University classmates, Hardy has been assaulting women for decades. Two of the alleged assaults of Princeton students were reported to officials at the university, and a third woman reported her assault to the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine. In all of these cases, little to nothing was done to address the reports of assault. College administrators, fertility clinic owners, and regulators were all notified of Hardy’s actions but took minimal steps to resolve the behavior. Hardy, who is now living in Thailand, declined to be interviewed about the allegations against him. Continue reading

A study conducted by the Association of American Universities released on Monday has produced staggering results in regards to the number of sexual assaults taking place on college campuses across the country. According to their report entitled “Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault” approximately 23.1 % of female undergraduate students have been victims of unwanted sexual contact by physical force or threat of physical force. The study included information amassed from 150,000 students at 28 different universities across the U.S.

The Association of American Universities, AAU for short, administered their Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault to 60 different member universities but only 27 universities chose to take part in the survey. One non-member university also participated in the survey administered by the AAU. Of the 60 member campuses, three from Massachusetts declined to take part. Boston University, Brandeis University, and MIT all opted out of the sexual assault survey. Harvard University, however, chose to take part in the survey and found their results to be alarming. Approximately 31% of their 60% senior female student body responded that they had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact since they began taking classes at Harvard University. Many of the 31% indicated that the sexual could be classified as rape and not just sexual harassment. Continue reading