Estimates are that as many as one out of every four people are abused. Sexual abuse among children has wreaked its havoc for hundreds of years. Fortunately, in this modern day and age, childhood sexual abuse is not as prevalent as it once was. Nevertheless, sex abuse remains all too common. However, as society becomes more aware of this continuing danger, the fear of “coming out” is less dangerous and more likely to reveal the truth, and subject the predator to swift justice.
For the victims of sexual abuse, there are remedies. There is hope. Recovery is made easier by laws in Oregon which protect sexual victims far more than laws in other states. In Oregon, if a child is sexually abused, that child can bring a claim as an adult, no matter what his/her age, so long as the sexually abused victim brings the claim within five (5) years of realizing that the abuse caused significant negative affects on that person’s life. In other words, if the abuse causes a person such negative feelings and consequences all of his/her life, and the victim years or decades later makes that connection between the abuse and the consequences, that person may make a claim anytime within five years of that revelation. From the hundreds of sexual abuse claims Dan Gatti has handled, adults have recovered substantial sums for abuse they have suffered. The claims have ranged from abuse perpetuated on a three years old child, to an 84 year old man who was abused as an alter boy nearly 70 years in the past.
Normally, one must bring a claim by the time a person reaches a certain age. And, the law is complex and different from state to state. Some states require certain facts and others do not. For example, in the state of Washington, in order to hold a different person or entity (a church, school, etc.) responsible for the act of the predator, one has to prove that the other person or entity had prior knowledge that the abuse was occurring and did nothing about it. NOT SO IN OREGON! In Oregon, no prior knowledge is necessary in order for liability to attach for the sexual abuse of another person under one’s control.
In Oregon, the Statute of Limitations (SOL) is as good or better for the victim than in any other state in America. Nevertheless, the SOL is extremely important, and it is vital that a victim talk to a knowledgeable lawyer about their abuse before the victim talks to others including, for example, a psychologist, church official, school marm, police officer or authority figure. Your lawyer can educate the victim with knowledge of legal issues and this knowledge is critical to helping protect the victim from defenses that may be raised by the predator.
Daniel J. Gatti was sexually abused when he was nine years old at a YMCA camp. Dan never told anyone. And that’s no surprise. Not telling adults is all too common. And the lawyers at Gatti & Gatti understand the natural defense mechanisms of a sexually abused child. It’s normal for a child of sexual abuse to feel shame, anger, and depression. Victims of abuse commonly have issues with alcohol, drugs, and/or relationships. These bad things are normal consequences of being a victim. Trust is shattered in the minds of children who have been victimized by someone they grew to trust. That trust was broken and the child feels guilt and shame, and isolates him/herself behind a wall of thorns that protect the victim from further abuse and further harm.
But like we said before, the laws of Oregon “protect sexual victims far more than laws in other states.” Dan, along with many of the lawyers at Gatti & Gatti, would be honored and more than willing to take on the predator who, to a child once looked like a giant and whose head needs to be brought to justice. These predators once had the power. But, the lawyers at Gatti & Gatti will do everything they ethically can to ensure that the power is restored to the innocent one who was not at fault and who is ready to take control of his/her life like they rightfully deserve.
–Daniel J. Gatti