Hartford Sexual Abuse Lawyer

The personal injury lawyers at Aeton Law Partners have handled complicated, sensitive, and personal sexual abuse and sexual assault cases in Connecticut.

Some of our recent results include:

  • Attorney Baber reached a confidential settlement with the owner of a daycare in an amount representing the full homeowner’s policy limits on behalf of a 5-year-old who was abused at an at-home daycare by another child. The claims against the daycare provider included breaches of Connecticut’s regulations of home daycare providers and common law claims. The settlement was reached before a lawsuit was ever filed.
  • Attorney Baber reached a confidential settlement with a Connecticut city’s Board of Education on behalf of a teenage student who was sexually assaulted by a substitute teacher and coach. The Board settled the claims at mediation before a lawsuit was ever filed, even though the coach was arrested, and the sexual abuse occurred off campus. Settling prior to commencing a lawsuit was crucial, as Attorney Baber’s minor client never had to be deposed or testify.
  • Attorney Baber settled a sexual abuse claim for $450,000.00 on behalf of a now 51-year-old man who was sexually abused by a priest of the Ukrainian Catholic Church beginning when he was 12 years old. The abuser, now deceased, was Reverend Father Joseph Shaloka. He was the priest at St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church in Terryville, Connecticut until his death in 1990. Prior to his time at St. Michael, he was a member of the clergy in Syracuse, New York, and Pennsylvania. Attorney Baber’s client showed extraordinary courage in pursuing his claim. We were able to resolve his decades-old claim without ever having to file a lawsuit. The case was mediated by a well-known mediator with experience settling clergy sex abuse cases.

Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Cases

Statutes of Limitations are procedural laws that govern when a claim may be brought after it has “accrued” (when it happened). Most Connecticut personal injury cases will fall under Connecticut’s personal injury negligence statute of limitations, Connecticut General Statutes § 52-584. This statute imposes a two-year window within which to commence a lawsuit. For example, if you received personal injuries in a car accident in Hartford caused by the bad driving of another person, then you would have two years from the date of that accident to commence a lawsuit against the bad driver. Note, it is not enough for the injured person to make a claim to the responsible person’s insurance company within that time period. Instead, you must “commence” a civil lawsuit by a formal process.

Connecticut applies different statutes of limitations to sexual abuse claims. For example, Connecticut General Statutes § 52-577e allows the victim of sexual assault to bring a civil claim at any time, without any time limitation, if the person who assaulted the victim is convicted of first-degree sexual assault or aggravated first-degree sexual assault.

If this specific provision does not apply, then the general statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims may apply, Connecticut General Statutes § 52-577d. However, there are significant questions that still have not been resolved with this statute.

In 2019, the Connecticut legislature changed the statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases. Prior to this change, a sexual abuse victim under the age of 21 had until the age of 48 (30 years past the age of 18) within which to bring a claim. The prior version of the statute stated: “… [N]o action to recover damages for personal injury to a minor, including emotional distress, caused by sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or sexual assault may be brought by a such person later than thirty years from the date such person attains the age of majority.”

In other words, under the old law, if a person was sexually abused in the 1980s at the age of 12, then that person would have 36 years to bring file a lawsuit – 6 years until that person turned 18, then another 30 years until the age of 48.

The 2019 legislation, known as Public Act 19-16 and also known as the “Time’s Up Act,” repealed and replaced this statute. It now reads: “…[N]o action to recover damages for personal injury to a person under twenty-one years of age, including emotional distress, caused by sexual abuse, sexual exploitation or sexual assault may be brought by a such person later than thirty years from the date such person attains the age of twenty-one.”

Seemingly, this extended the statute of limitations in one way: it redefined the age of the class of victims it applied to, from those under 18 to those under the age of 21. Now, a victim under the age of 21 has until the victim’s 51st birthday to bring a lawsuit.

A woman saying no who needs to call our Hartford Sexual Abuse Lawyers

However, and most importantly, this statute specifically only applies to claims where sexual abuse, sexual assault, or sexual exploitation occurred on or after October 1, 2019. The previous law applied to claims that occurred prior to its passage.

Unfortunately, the legislature intended this new law to only benefit those victims well into the future, at the enormous expense of victims of abuse before October 1, 2019. As a result, it is entirely unclear what statute of limitations applies to those victims who were abused as minors prior to October 1, 2019. Because Connecticut’s legislature abandoned those victims, it appears as though the Courts will have to decide which law applies to this class of victims.

Attorney Baber has aggressively advocated those responsible for drafting this weak legislation to recognize and change the law so that those who were abused as minors prior to October 1, 2019, are not left in the dark, and instead, have clarity on what their rights are.

Unfortunately, sexual abuse lawsuit defense attorneys are preparing to argue that if the abuse occurred prior to October 1, 2019, the general statute of limitations of three years applies, even if the victim was under the age of 18.

If you have a sexual abuse claim that falls into these categories, then contact Aeton’s sexual abuse attorneys to discuss your case. We can help you navigate these complex issues.

General Statute of Limitations for Connecticut Sexual Abuse Claims

We do know that if the intentional act occurred 1) while the victim was an adult (over the age of 18) and the sexual abuse, sexual assault, and/or sexual exploitation occurred before October 1, 2019, or 2) while the victim was over the age of 21 and the sexual abuse, sexual assault and/or sexual exploitation occurred on or after October 1, 2019, then Connecticut’s three-year statute of limitations may apply.

In addition, if a victim who belongs to one of the classes in 1) and 2) brings a lawsuit sounding in negligence against, for example, the employer of the perpetrator, then Connecticut’s two-year statute of limitations law may apply.

Statutes of Limitation can create complex and confusing issues for anyone who is considering bringing a claim for sexual abuse, sexual assault, and/or sexual exploitation, even lawyers. If you have a claim against a perpetrator or that person’s employer, contact Aeton’s sexual assault attorneys for a confidential consultation.

Who Can Be Sued for Sexual Abuse in Connecticut?

Simply put, any person or entity responsible for sexual abuse can be held responsible for the victim’s abuse. Of course, the perpetrator of the abuse can be sued for that person’s intentional act of committing the abuse. In those cases, trouble often arises in whether that perpetrator can pay monetary damages for any judgment a victim receives. In other words, sometimes if the person who is responsible for the abuse has no insurance, assets, or money, then getting a judgment against that person does not mean the victim will actually ever receive a dime!

Experienced sexual abuse attorneys will also investigate to determine whether any other person or entity may be responsible for the victim’s injuries. Although an employer, for example, is not responsible for the intentional acts of his employee, if they knew or should have known that their employee may sexually abuse or hurt a person with whom the employee encounters during the course of employment, then that employer may be held responsible, too.

Oftentimes, employers have insurance, assets, and money to cover a money judgment. Therefore, the law allows a victim of sexual assault to sue the employer, too, if there are grounds to believe that the employer is also responsible.

Contact our Hartford Sexual Abuse Lawyers today!

Attorney Baber has been successful in settling cases against employers for the sexual abuse committed by their employees, including municipalities and churches.

If you have a question about how to bring a claim for sexual abuse, contact us at 860-791-4831 for a free and confidential consultation.

FREE CASE EVALUATION

N. Kane Bennett

Partner

Neyah Kane Bennett is the managing partner of Aeton Law Partners LLP. He is AV Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell. The AV Rating is the highest possible rating in both legal ability and ethical standards. In 2014-2020, he was awarded the Super Lawyer designation for business litigation.  He authored the business torts section of a book for ALM on the topic of civil discovery in Connecticut. He recently published “How to Bulletproof Your Business, Ten Tips from Ten Years of Business Disputes.” The book includes an easy to use checklist and features very practical advice on avoiding lawsuits for small to mid-sized business owners.  Attorney Bennett is also the publisher of the Connecticut Business Litigation Blog. The blog is in its ninth year and covers a variety of legal topics impacting business in Connecticut.

Attorney Bennett’s practice at Aeton includes representation of individuals and businesses in a range of trial and transactional matters, such as business, employment, commercial law, technology, and complex personal injury. In addition, he provides general counsel services to individuals and businesses related to litigation, contracts, technology, employment matters, and risk management issues throughout Connecticut. He also regularly handles cases in Massachusetts and other states.

Litigation and Trial Experience

Attorney Bennett tried his first jury trial case on the day he passed the bar exam more than 20 years ago. He has been in and out of courtrooms ever since on all types of cases throughout Connecticut and in multiple states. He started his career as a prosecutor in a jurisdiction with significant levels of serious crime. He received training in trial practice and investigative tactics from senior trial attorneys both locally and nationally. He has tried numerous jury and non-jury cases to verdict and questioned hundreds of witnesses under oath in court proceedings.

Attorney Bennett moved on from his job as a prosecutor to join one of Connecticut’s largest litigation and trial firms. There, he gained extensive training and experience in civil litigation working alongside and under the supervision of notable veteran attorneys. After several years of practice and reaching the status of Partner, Attorney Bennett moved on to form his own law firm, Aeton Law Partners.

Attorney Bennett has represented several companies and business owners in matters involving breach of fiduciary duty lawsuits, employment claims, shareholder rights and protection of trade secrets. He has handled litigation and trial matters involving financial investors, minority and majority shareholders, dissolution proceedings, and shareholder disputes. He has acquired significant case handling experience in the area of shareholder rights, including both the defense and prosecution of claims for shareholder oppression, breach of fiduciary duty, and dissolution. He has also represented nurses, physicians, and other health care practitioners in all types of disputes concerning ownership rights and business matters as well as cases with employers involving compensation, termination, and medical staff privileges.

Transactional Experience and General Counsel Services

Attorney Bennett’s transactional practice was developed after many successful results in business litigation and employment matters. Attorney Bennett’s business, employment and commercial litigation cases frequently resulted in settlements or business deals that required transactional work. His clients started to ask him to serve as outside general counsel on all transactional and litigation matters to include negotiating employment agreements, general terms of service, master services agreements, corporate governance, technology purchases, and risk management. Today, Attorney Bennett’s transactional practice includes general counsel services for small to mid-sized businesses, negotiation and drafting of all types of business and employment contracts, and purchase and sale agreements and other sale and acquisition documents.

Law Firm Management and Technology

Early in his career, Attorney Bennett started to adopt new legal technologies to increase his service level to clients. He has continued to stay on the leading edge in the use of legal technology.  Aeton Law Partners was one of the first firms to use only digital files and cloud based practice management. He also published a column for the Connecticut Law Tribune on various technology platforms to help attorneys deploy better methods of law firm practice and management.

Industry Knowledge and Publications

Attorney Bennett is the author of the recently published book “How to Bulletproof Your Business, Ten Tips from 10 Years of Business Disputes.”  The book includes an easy to use checklist and features very practical advice on avoiding lawsuits for small to midsize business owners.  Attorney Bennett is also the publisher of the Connecticut Business Litigation Blog. The blog is in its ninth year and covers a variety of legal topics impacting business in Connecticut. Attorney Bennett also has been featured on video or quoted in the news media on his own cases or for opinions on other legal matters.

Education

  • J.D., Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts
    • Cum laude
    • Honors: Law Review
  • University of Connecticut

Bar Admissions

  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • U.S. District Court District of Connecticut
  • U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 2nd Circuit

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Connecticut Bar Association
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance

Published Works and Seminars

  • How to Bullet Proof Your Business – Ten Tips from Ten Years of Business Disputes (2019)
  • Co-Author of the Business Torts section of CT Civil Discovery Form, CT Law Tribune (2012)
  • Head in the Clouds: The Ethical and Practical Considerations for Attorneys in Cloud Computing (2013)
  • Dare to Go Digital: How a 21st Century Law Firm Can Increase Productivity and Profits by Smart Use of Technology, Connecticut Bar Association Annual Meeting (2011)
  • Design and Management of the Lean Law Firm, CT Bar Association Small Firm Management Section (2011)
  • Alternative Fee Arrangements: Where Are We Now and How Are Firms Changing to Implement AFA’s, New England Legal Marketing Association (2011)
  • Firm Future, Practice Management and Legal Technology, The Warren Group (2010)
  • Find It Free and Fast on the Net: Strategies for Legal Research on the Web, National Business Institute (2010)
  • Flash Forward or Lost: How Technology is Changing the Practice of Law, and What’s Next? Connecticut Bar Foundation (2010)
  • Commercial Litigation Roundtable, Managing Litigation, Council on Litigation Management (2010)
  • The Business of Law: Does It Have to Be Profits v. Ethics? A Discussion of Alternative Fees. New Jersey Institute for Legal Education (October 2010)
  • Technology Basics for Solos and Small Firms, New Haven County Bar Association (2009)
  • Don’t Get Caught Operating Without A License, For the Defense (DRI 2008)
  • Product Liability Defenses: A State-by-State Compendium, Connecticut Chapter, (DRI 2007)
  • Speech Recognition Software More Reliable Than Ever, CT Law Tribune (2007)
  • A Better Option for Viewing Transcripts Electronically, CT Law Tribune (2006)
  • Sore Thumbs Up to Lawyer Mobility, CT Law Tribune (2006)
  • When is it Timely to Bring a Third-Party Indemnification Action in a Product Liability Case, The Defense, Journal of Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association (2005)
  • Low Digital Prices Facilitate Video Depositions, CT Law Tribune (2005)

Community Involvement

Attorney Bennett is a proud contributor of various groups including the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.