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Denver Sexual Assault Lawyer

What Good Can Come From Hiring a Sexual Assault Lawyer?

Sexual assault and sexual abuse have life-long consequences for survivors. By pursuing a case with the help of an experienced and compassionate sexual assault lawyer, you may find closure, help others, and hold predators and their enablers accountable for the harm they’ve caused.

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A revolutionary new bill has passed in Colorado allowing future survivors of child sexual abuse or assault unlimited time to seek justice. This means that Catholic priests, Boy Scout leaders, and other adult predators can no longer hide behind a statute of limitations deadline. Time’s up for the institutions which have protected them as well.

Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers has partnered with the firm James, Vernon & Weeks to provide robust support and advocacy for sexual assault and abuse survivors. With over 150 years of combined legal experience, the attorneys at James, Vernon & Weeks have already achieved a $166 million settlement against the Northwest Jesuits over sexual abuse.

Instances of sexual misconduct, assault, and abuse in churches, workplaces, and medical spaces is unacceptable. These acts violate some of the most sacred trusts in our society. Contact the sexual assault attorneys at Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers by calling (720) 613-9706, and begin your journey towards justice today.

Table of Contents

What Is Sexual Assault/Abuse?
What Is Institutional Sexual Abuse?
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Sexual Assault?
What Could a Sexual Assault Lawsuit Settlement Include?
How Can I Contact a Sexual Assault Attorney Today?
Testimonials for Zaner Harden Law
Sexual Assault FAQs

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What Is Sexual Assault/Abuse?

According to statistics from the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), an American is sexually assaulted ever 68 seconds. Every 9 minutes, that victim is a child, but only 25 of every 1,000 perpetrators of sexual assault will serve prison time.

Types of sexual violence, assault, and abuse include:

  • Sexual Assault: Unwanted sexual touching, forced performance of sexual acts, rape, and attempted rape.
  • Child Sexual Abuse: Exposing a child to sexual or pornographic materials, obscene communications (including texts), any sexual touching or intercourse, and trafficking for the purposes of sex are all forms of child abuse. Sexual contact between family members is known as incest, and can impact children and adults.
  • Intimate Partner Sexual Violence: Regardless of gender or marital status, intimate partner sexual abuse warning signs include behavior like isolating a person from their family, friends, and finances. Threatening to harm pets or take away custody of children are other forms of abuse, as are insults meant to belittle your worth.
  • Sexual Harassment: Whether it occurs in schools, workplaces, or public spaces, sexual comments, advances, threats, touches, and acts are all considered sexual harassment. Stalking can also be a form of sexual harassment or intimidation.
  • Vulnerable Persons Sexual Assault: This category includes sexually abusing or assaulting vulnerable elders (including instances of nursing home abuse), coma patients (medical sexual abuse), or those in a drug-induced state.

These general categories of sexual abuse don’t always look the same from the outside, but do cause the same surviving issues with trust, self-confidence, and future sexual health. Each of these forms of abuse can also be worsened by institutional misconduct.

What Is Institutional Sexual Abuse?

Institutionally-assisted sexual abuse occurs in spaces like workplaces, churches, militaries, hospitals, prisons, asylums, and rehab facilities—anywhere there is a power imbalance or your livelihood is on the line.

Many people are aware of the large-scale facilitation of abuse that has occurred in the Catholic Church and The Boy Scouts of America. They are two examples of institutional failure to protect children, just as the Fox News sexual harassment scandals and the coverups of sexual violence in the U.S. military are examples of institutions actively victimizing adults.

Senate Bill 88 (SB88) in Colorado is a game-changer for empowering survivors of child sexual abuse, and makes great leaps in holding institutions accountable. Generally in Colorado, individuals would have six years after they turn 18 to file a lawsuit against their abuser, but only two years to sue an institution. 

SB88 states that a surviving victim may sue both the perpetrator of the abuse and any youth-related organization if they knew (or should have known) about a risk of sexual misconduct. The act waives sovereign immunity for public employees or public entities that operate a youth program, including schools and other educational activities.

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The language of SB88 allows surviving victims of sexual misconduct that happened between January 1, 1960 and January 1, 2022 to undertake a lawsuit before January 1, 2025. For those who are abused on or after January 1, 2022, there is no limitation on the time to bring a claim for sexual misconduct.

Colorado is ushering in a brighter future for children to grow up and take control of their histories, their bodies, and their lives.

Kurt Zaner and his team helped me every step of the way. I was always treated with kindness, compassion and respect. I give my 100% recommendation. He not only truly enjoys his job, he is good at it. Money will not heal the injuries, but it is the only thing that can be awarded to help.”

If you feel you have been sexually violated in any way, you have the right to speak up, and Zaner Harden Law is a safe place to be heard. Reach out to us at (720) 613-9706—we’re here to listen and to help.

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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Sexual Assault?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men experience physical sexual violence in their lifetime. Between one-fourth and one-third of rape victims across genders experienced sexual assault for the first time before the age of 17. 

The long-term harm caused by sexual abuse and assault includes:

  • Physical conditions like sexual performance disorder and unwanted pregnancy
  • Psychological injuries including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and/or sleep and eating disorders.
  • Emotional distress that may disrupt healthy relationship building, lead to despair and loneliness, and suicidal thoughts or actions.

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse have are left facing years of after-effects, especially as they develop sexual maturity and begin forming intimate relationships. Sexual violence costs survivors an over $200,000 in a lifetime of lost productivity, criminal justice activities, and medical expenses. For those assaulted as children, the amount gets higher as the years progress. 

In addition to counseling and social support, hiring a sexual abuse lawyer can help compensate survivors for their losses and future care.

Statistics on the cost of sexual assault and abuse on men, women, and children.

Download a copy of the “The Life-Long Impact of Sexual Abuse” here.

What Could a Sexual Assault Lawsuit Settlement Include?

A settlement or successful verdict in a sexual assault or abuse case could entail funds for:

  • Medical bills for physical and psychological care
  • Lost wages, backpay, and future earnings if the sexual misconduct happened at work or affected your ability to work
  • Pain and suffering for the trauma experienced in the aftermath of abuse, especially if it causes stress-related health conditions
  • Punitive damages, which are fees charged by a judge to punish wrongdoers, and may apply to an individual who harmed you or a company/entity which allowed abusive behavior or access (schools, businesses, and organizations)
  • Wrongful death if your sexual assault or rape victim lawyer can present evidence showing that sexual violence contributed directly to your loved one’s death (as in cases of suicide)

These are the possible settlement and damages award outcomes of civil court claims, which are separate from criminal cases, in which the burden of proof is higher. You have a right to pursue your own case against those who harmed you or your loved one, regardless of whether criminal charges are filed. In fact, even a spouse can sue those responsible in civil court, all in an effort to compensate for any resulting rifts in their relationship, anger issues, or pain and suffering caused in their marriage or family.

Likewise, those who can be held liable for sexual assault or abuse include the perpetrator(s), those who played any part in facilitating the abuse, or those who negligently failed to protect you. For example, if a sexual assault happened in a hotel room, where security was inept or the locks were broken, the hotel itself may be found partially responsible. 

How Can I Contact a Sexual Assault Attorney Today?

Lawyers for sexual assault victims are highly aware of the discomfort involved in talking about such incidents. No matter what you’re feeling—anger, embarrassment, disgust, shame, or despair—all of your feelings are legitimate, and will be respected by the lawyers and staff at Zaner Harden. 

If you need to be heard, believed, and helped, we’re here for you. Zaner Harden Law, in partnership with the outstanding professionals at James, Vernon & Weeks, are ready to listen to your circumstances and discuss your legal options. Your choice to place a call today could be your first step towards justice, closure, and peace. Your courageous action could also help save the innocence and possibly the lives of others.
If you or someone you love has been a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault, call Zaner Harden Law for a free and confidential consultation at (720) 613-9706, or complete our online case evaluation form and we’ll reach out to you.

Sexual Assault FAQs

What is consent, and what is the age of consent?

Consenting to sexual activity means saying, or nonverbally communicating, “yes!” Consent should be given enthusiastically, freely, and affirmatively. Any unsureness, hesitation, or resistance is not consent. Anything less than “yes” means “no.”

Consent cannot be assumed, obtained through force or coercion, or be granted under the mind-altering influence of drugs or alcohol. Similarly, when it comes to anyone under the age of 13, consent cannot be given at all. No one under 18 can give consent to caretakers (like parents, teachers, or babysitters), and individuals between 14-15 can only legally consent to sex with non-caretakers within 4 years of their age.

Actions that exceed the boundaries of consent like “stealthing” (secretly removing a condom during sex) violate consent, and may be prosecuted or taken to civil court. Consent can be revoked at any time. 

What is considered sexual coercion?

Coercion and manipulation include acts like pressuring someone for sex, badgering them, extorting them, lying to them to obtain sex, or threatening them if they don’t “consent.” 

None of these tactics actually elicit true consent. Anyone who treats you or a loved one this way is committing a form of sexual violence.

Who can sue for sexual assault or abuse?

Those who can sue over sexual abuse or assault include:

  • The victims of sexual violence
  • Certain family members of the person victimized (like parents or spouses)
  • Witnesses to the assault may be able to sue for negligent infliction of emotional distress
  • Surviving heirs of the victim in instances of sexual assault wrongful death cases

If you have questions about your rights or standing to pursue a sexual assault lawsuit, call Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers today at (720) 613-9706 to discuss your options.

How long do I have to bring a civil lawsuit for sexual assault or abuse?

Many states have filing deadlines (known as “statutes of limitation”) for civil sexual assault cases. The majority of states limit your window for legal action between 1-3 years. Some states allow extended time periods after the age of 18 for survivors of child sexual abuse, but others do not. Some states like Colorado (where Zaner Harden is headquartered) have lifted all timeline restrictions for child sexual abuse survivors going forward.

Wherever you are located in the United States, it’s important to consult with an attorney as soon as possible so you don’t miss your opportunity for justice. Contact Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers at (720) 613-9706 to secure representation right away.

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Where We Are

We are located across the street from Union Station in downtown Denver and offer validated parking for all our clients. We also have offices in Boulder and Colorado Springs.