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A new Maryland law may allow survivors of sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit regardless of when the abuse took place.
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Maryland Juvenile Hall Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Youth detention facilities are intended to give children a chance to heal, rehabilitate, and rebuild their lives. Instead, those children are being abused and traumatized by the thousands.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice report, youth residents of juvenile hall facilities are subject to high rates of sexual abuse by both adult staff and other inmates – and the problem is particularly severe in Maryland.  Unfortunately, the perpetrators of the abuse and facility staff that fail to protect children are rarely held accountable. 

However, a new Maryland law may allow survivors of sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit regardless of when the abuse took place.  We believe that perpetrators of sexual abuse and the institutions that enable them should be held accountable.  We can help you file a civil claim and seek justice for what happened to you.

If you or a loved one were sexually abused in a juvenile hall facility in Maryland, please, contact our firm when you are ready.  Call  888-383-8019 for a free, completely confidential case evaluation.

How We Can Help

We hold institutions accountable when they endanger children with their negligence.  We believe that civil lawsuits are a powerful tool to get justice for survivors, correct institutional failures, and protect vulnerable youths in the future.  

Our attorneys can:

  • Stand up for survivors of sexual abuse in juvenile hall facilities
  • Thoroughly explain your legal options and guide you through the process, allowing you to focus on healing
  • Identify the parties and institutions that are legally responsible for the abuse and file a sexual abuse lawsuit on your behalf
  • Fight for justice and pursue compensation that can help you find closure and move forward

Our mission is to provide a voice for the vulnerable and empower survivors of sexual abuse.  If you choose to pursue legal action, we are here to help. 

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We believe that civil lawsuits are a powerful tool to get justice for survivors, correct institutional failures, and protect vulnerable youths in the future.

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Maryland Child Victims Act Of 2023 Allows A Path For Justice To All Survivors

The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 was signed into law by Governor Moore on April 11, 2023.  This law eliminates the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases, allowing survivors to file civil lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred.  When signing the bill, Governor Moore had a message for survivors.

“I just want these people to understand that you are heard [and] you’re not alone,” he said. “For the individuals in this body, in the State House, your staff that reached out to me over the years — dozens and dozens — and told me their story, shared with me something they won’t share with anybody else: This is hope.”

This bill is exactly that – hope.  It’s hope for survivors of institutional sexual abuse for a very important reason.  It is rare for survivors of child sexual abuse to ever disclose that they were abused.  However, when they do, survivors often wait years – even decades – to report it.  In fact, according to a study of survivors, the average age at the time of reporting child sexual abuse is 52 years.  

Before this bill was signed into law, the statute of limitations prevented anyone over the age of 38 from filing a claim for sexual abuse during childhood.  The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 gives all survivors the right to seek justice, even if it takes them longer to come forward.

What is Considered Sexual Abuse in Maryland Juvenile Detention Centers?

Sexual abuse can involve a wide range of conduct.  In Juvenile hall facilities, it refers to any sexual contact or behavior involving a minor that is non-consensual or inappropriate due to the minor’s inability to provide legal consent.   The U.S. Department of Justice defines several categories of juvenile detention center sexual abuse in its report.  However, in general, any form of touching or physical contact of a sexual nature involving a minor can be considered to be child sexual abuse. Other forms may include:

  • Sexual Contact
  • Sexual Assault
  • Grooming
  • Exhibitionism
  • Voyeurism
  • Exploitation
  • Inappropriate Romantic Relationships
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Sexual Harassment

Do I Have a Case?

The Department of Justice report found that juvenile justice administrators reported nearly 2,000 incidents of sexual victimization by staff.  However, from what we know about delayed disclosure in child sexual abuse cases, the true number is likely significantly higher.  However, you may be eligible to file a civil legal action if you were sexually abused, even if you did not initially report it.  Specifically, if:

  • You were sexually abused by a juvenile hall facility staff member, such as a counselor or supervisor.  
  • The abuse occurred at any juvenile hall facility in Maryland at any time in the past.
  • In some cases, you may be able to bring a claim if you were abused by another inmate and the facility did nothing to address or prevent it.

In these situations, perpetrators rarely face criminal penalties for the heinous acts they commit.  However, civil claims in sexual abuse cases differ from criminal proceedings in that they focus on institutional accountability.  Therefore, you may still have a claim even if:

  • you did not initially report the abuse
  • your abuser was never charged or convicted of a crime
  • your abuser is no longer alive
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Damages Available in Maryland Sexual Abuse Claims

Civil sexual abuse lawsuits are often the only avenue that survivors have to seek justice for what they have been through.  While they are an important tool in holding institutions accountable and preventing further victimization of other children, they also allow survivors to recover financial compensation for the ways that the abuse has impacted their lives.  Referred to as damages, this can include:

  • Past and future medical and mental health expenses, including medications, therapy, and more. 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress or psychological anguish
  • Lost income or reduced capacity to earn income
  • Among others

The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 increased the statutory cap on non-economic damages in child sexual abuse cases to:

  • $1.5 million in cases involving private entities
  • $890,000 in cases involving public or governmental entities

Non-economic damages include things such as pain, suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and diminished quality of life.

Maryland Juvenile Hall Facilities with a History of Sexual Abuse

We have clients who report sexual abuse at the following juvenile hall facilities:

  • Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School – Baltimore, MD
  • Cheltenham Youth Detention Center – Cheltenham, MD
  • Victor Cullen Center – Sabillasville, Maryland
  • Thomas J.S. Waxter Children’s Center – Maryland City, MD
  • Montrose School for Girls – Reisterstown, Maryland
  • Alfred D. Noyes Children’s Center – Rockville, MD
  • J. Deweese Carter Center – Chestertown, MD
  • Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center – Baltimore, MD
  • Good Shepherd Services – Halethorpe, MD

Other facilities with reported abuse include:

  • Backbone Mountain Youth Center
  • Western Maryland Children’s Center
  • Green Ridge Youth Center
  • Lower Easter Shore Children’s Center
  • Garret Children’s Center
  • Mountain View

The unfortunate reality is that it is likely that sexual abuse has occurred in every facility throughout the state.  If you or a loved one survived sexual abuse at any juvenile hall facility in Maryland – even if it is not on the list above – you may have a valid claim. 

We Are Here When You Are Ready

We understand how difficult it can be to come forward after surviving sexual abuse, but our attorneys are here to listen and help you fight for justice.  When you are ready to speak with someone about what happened, we are here for you. We offer a free consultation and can handle your case with complete confidentiality.