The school year is supposed to be the beginning of something new and exciting but sometimes, adults are made aware of circumstances that shocks them to their core. Just this past August, on the second day of school, a brave student informed her teacher that she was being sexually abused.
Montana Man Under Arrest For Sexual Assault Of A Child
The victim, who is only 7-years-old and in second grade, felt comfortable enough with her teacher that she informed her that a man was sexually abusing her every night over a period of several months. The teacher was horrified to hear the child tell her that the man removed her underwear and then place either his finger or his penis inside of her anus.
The teacher immediately contacted Family Services who in turn called the police. The victim was then escorted to a child advocacy group where she underwent a forensic interview.
What Is A Forensic Interview?
When a child reports that they have been sexually assaulted, a forensic interview is performed. The purpose of this interview is to obtain as much detailed evidence as possible about any inappropriate contact the child may have experienced. Information that the investigators are seeking to obtain may include:
- Any information that could potentially help investigators pursue criminal charges against the abuser.
- Information that will be used to assess the child’s living arrangements to determine if they are safe.
- To assess if the child needs medical care or psychological support.
During the interview, the child reported that she had informed her mother about the repeated assault but that her mother told her she must be confused and that he must have just accidentally put his hand on her butt.
The police arrested the 23-year-old man who the child alleges assaulted her and took him to the hospital for a “suspect sexual assault examination”. He has denied the allegations.
Will She Be Sent Back Home With Her Mother?
That is up to the police and Family Services. If they determine that the mother wasn’t intentionally placing her daughter in harm’s way, they may allow the child to return home. At this time, the police have interviewed the mother who confirmed the daughter told her something but that she only understood that the man had touched her hip.
It’s amazing that the child felt confident enough to report the abuse as police have not only confirmed that she told her mother and was rebuked but also that the man assaulting her told her that it was their special secret.
In many cases, children don’t report their assault. This occurs for several reasons:
- The child knows and possibly even loves their abuser.
- The person abusing them has threatened to hurt them or hurt someone that they love.
- They did tell an adult and that adult didn’t believe them.
It’s difficult for any victim to speak up, let alone a child, which is why it’s so important to take them seriously when they come forward.
Common Signs Of Sexual Abuse In Children
For the children that are too scared to speak out, adults should be aware of the common signs that sexual abuse may be occurring. This includes:
- Ripped and bloody underwear
- Bruises or other injuries
- Mood swings
- Sudden bed wetting
- Changing in eat habits
- Unusual knowledge of sexual terms
If sexual assault is suspected, making a report is the best thing that any adult can do.
Can A Child Pursue A Sexual Assault Lawsuit?
Yes and no. It’s typical for the child’s guardian to file a lawsuit on the child’s behalf. This lawsuit is completely separate from any criminal charges that may be filed against the abuser and is intended to provide the child with monetary compensation for the losses they have suffered. Depending on the psychological and physical injuries that are sustained, this might include compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Emotional trauma
- Attorney’s fees
The exact amount that could be recovered through either a settlement or verdict varies from case to case.