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Sex Abuse

woman holding up her hand against an abuser with black background.Sex abuse cases that have plagued the nation for decades are still very much a part of our landscape. There was the explosive 2018 case of Larry Nasser, the lead physician of the women’s USA Gymnastics team, who was sentenced to the equivalent of life in prison for sexual assault after the jury heard stunning testimony from more than 150 of his young victims. And, unfortunately, more sex abuse cases involving athletes and college campuses continue to surface each day. 

Still ongoing is the revelation of rampant sexual abuse cases in the Boy Scouts of America; at least 12,000 children were allegedly abused during a 72-year period. Investigators suspect thousands of more cases went unreported.

Perhaps the most staggering case of sexually abused victims comes from the Catholic church. Catholic dioceses worldwide were revealed to be perpetuating and covering up allegedly tens of thousands of sex abuse cases wherein children were sexually assaulted by trusted clergy and other church leaders. In 2019 alone, the number of allegations more than quadrupled than the previous five years. Ever since the scandal took off in 2002, a yearly audit has been performed at almost 200 dioceses across the U.S.

New legislation has been passed or at least proposed to reduce child sex abuse. Multiple states have recently passed laws doing away with or reducing the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse and increasing the maximum age a victim can be to bring a suit. “Look-back windows” have been enacted in many states allowing victims to open previously unresolved cases and bring forth new ones no matter how long ago the incident took place. But the justice system still has a long way to go in eradicating this shameful part of American history.

And let’s not forget the victims of workplace sexual harassment. Despite the rise of 2017’s powerful #MeToo movement and multiple state and federal laws prohibiting sexual harassment and discrimination, it is still very much a reality for thousands of employees, especially women. Current statistics reveal that 21 percent of Americans have experienced sexual harassment at work, and 81 percent of sexual harassment victims are women. Some of the most vulnerable are healthcare professionals and hotel workers. 

Learn more from our affiliates about sex abuse cases happening around the U.S. and the various legal options available for survivors

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