Survivors of sexual assault and child sexual abuse often worry about how they can find justice. If your family is in this painful situation, you may be troubled with questions like:
- How will the criminal justice system prosecute the person responsible?
- Can others who enabled the sexual abuse be held liable?
- Should we speak with a victims' rights lawyer?
Our Nebraska sexual abuse victims' lawyers can help your family get financial support and justice.
Standing up for your legal rights through a civil sexual abuse lawsuit is often the best way to hold all liable parties accountable for sexual abuse.
"Thank you." They were there for us each step of the way with guidance and support.
After surviving a rape or sexual assault, many victims struggle with what to do next. The question of whether or not to report the crime to the police often poses difficulties for these victims. They may fear that they won’t be believed, that they’ll be blamed for the assault, or that reporting the crime will extend their trauma. These feelings are all normal, especially when the offender is someone the victim knows.
If you or a loved one has recently become a victim of sexual assault, there is help available. Our Nebraska sexual assault victims’ lawyers help survivors and their families seek justice and financial support through civil sexual abuse lawsuits. We can also help you learn more about how the criminal courts may handle your case.
A civil sexual abuse lawsuit provides several paths to justice not found in criminal courts - including the ability to hold negligent third parties liable for enabling abuse and to secure financial compensation for economic and noneconomic damages related to the sexual abuse.
We’ve provided summaries of Nebraska’s sexual offense statutes below, but be aware that sexual assault laws are undergoing changes throughout the country right now. If you want to fully understand how the criminal justice system may prosecute your offender, we can help you learn more about this part of the process in a free consultation.
Sexual Assault Of A Child
In Nebraska, all forms of unlawful sexual conduct between children and adults are covered under one of three degrees of sexual assault of a child:
A person is guilty of sexual assault of a child in the first degree if they subject a victim to sexual penetration in the following circumstances:
- The victim is under 12 years old and the offender is at least 19 years old, or
- The victim is at least 12 years old but younger than 16 and the offender is at least 25 years old
Sexual assault of a child in the first degree is a Class IB felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison for the first offense. If the offender has a previous conviction for a sexual crime, the sentence will be a mandatory minimum of 25 years with a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Second Or Third Degree
A person can be convicted of sexual assault of a child in the second or third degree if he or she is at least 19 years old and subjects a child under 14 years old to sexual conduct. If the offender seriously injures the victim then the charge will be second-degree. In all other cases, the charge will be third-degree.
Second-degree sexual assault of a child is a Class II felony punishable by 1-50 years in prison. In the third degree, this crime is a Class IIIA felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
In Nebraska, physicians, medical institutions, nurses, school employees, social works, the Inspector General, and anyone else who has reason to believe a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect must report the incident or suspicion of abuse to a law enforcement agency. Failure to do so is considered a misdemeanor and those who fail to report could also be held liable for damages related to their failure to report.
While many states have separate statutes for crimes like rape and sexual assault, in Nebraska, all sexual offenses are included in the sexual assault law. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, offenders who commit sexual assault can be charged in one of three degrees:
Offenses which would be legally classified as rape in many other states are considered sexual assault in the first degree in Nebraska. A person is guilty of this crime if he or she subjects another person to sexual penetration in any of the following circumstances:
- Without the victim’s consent
- When the offender was aware (or should have been aware) that the victim was mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of the sexual penetration
- When the offender is at least 19 years old and the victim is between 12 and 15 years old
First-degree sexual assault is a Class II felony punishable by 1-50 years in prison.
Second Or Third Degree
A person is guilty of sexual assault in either the second or third degree if he or she subjects another person to sexual contact (without penetration) either without the other person’s consent or in a situation where the offender knew or should have known that the other person was either physically or mentally incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of the sexual contact.
These offenses are charged in the second degree as a Class IIA felony (1-20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $25,000) if the offender causes serious personal injury to the victim during the sexual assault. Otherwise, the offender will be charged with third-degree sexual assault – a Class I misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine up to $1,000.
Sexual Abuse Of An Inmate Or Parolee
In Nebraska, it’s illegal for any employee of a jail, prison, correction facility, probation or parole department to engage in sexual contact or sexual penetration with an inmate or parolee. Even if the inmate or parolee consents to the sexual activity, the employee is still guilty of a crime.
In cases involving sexual penetration, the employee will be charged with sexual abuse of an inmate or parolee in the first degree. This is a Class IIA felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
In cases involving sexual contact but no sexual penetration, the charge will be in the second degree – a Class IIIA felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.
Sexual Abuse Of A Protected Individual
It’s also illegal for Nebraska employees of the Department of Health and Human Services to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with anyone in the care or the custody of that department. The punishments for this offense are the same as the punishments for sexual abuse of an inmate or parolee.
Help For Victims Of Sexual Assault In Nebraska
If you or a loved one has suffered from sexual violence, you can find more information about programs and assistance for victims by visiting the website for the Nebraska Coalition To End Sexual And Domestic Violence.