RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWYER

Apartment complexes, businesses, and hotels have a legal duty to make their property safe.

According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, there are nearly 300,000 victims of sexual assault each year in the United States. Shockingly, 98 percent of rapists are never incarcerated for their crimes.

Often, rapes and sexual assaults can be prevented by commonsense security measures. Apartment complexes and hotels should have enough lights, gates, and security guards to protect tenants, customers, and their guests. In fact, Georgia law requires that business owners take reasonable measures to protect the people invited onto their property. Sturbridge Partners Ltd., 267 Ga. 785, 787 (1997). But when rapes or sexual assaults occur because of inadequate security measures, the property owners who were supposed to provide security sometimes escape without accountability. These property owners are almost never prosecuted criminally, and it takes a skilled civil lawyer to show that the property owner should be held responsible. Even if the criminal justice system lets you down, you may be able to hold the property owner responsible in a civil lawsuit. That’s where our experience can help.

CRIMINAL PROSECUTION VS. CIVIL LAWSUITS

In criminal cases, perpetrators are prosecuted by the district attorney. If a perpetrator is convicted, the penalties may include incarceration, a fine, and inclusion on the sex offender registry. Although violent criminals deserve the prison time, this type of sentence does little to help sexual assault victims recover from their injuries or get the counseling they need. Civil cases provide a way for innocent victims to recover compensation. In a civil lawsuit, you can also seek compensation from people whose misconduct allowed the attack to occur. For example, if the owner of a hotel or apartment complex failed to provide adequate security for customers or residents, you may be able to file a negligent security claim against the property owner based on the owner’s failure to abide by the applicable legal standards.

PROVING SEXUAL ASSAULT AND OTHER SEX CRIMES

There are two different standards of proof for criminal and civil trials. In criminal court, a defendant must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a very high standard, and the prosecutor may not be able to meet it if there is a lack of evidence or witnesses.  The standard for civil cases is based on a preponderance of the evidence.

What does preponderance of the evidence mean?

Preponderance of the evidence simply means a jury needs to believe that, “more likely than not,” the defendant’s negligence or misconduct caused the injury or attack.  When we go into a courtroom and talk to a jury, we need to show that is was more likely than not that the defendant did something wrong.

SEX CRIMES IN GEORGIA

The criminal code has strict definitions and punishments for sexual assault, rape and other sexual crimes. Aggressors can be charged with sexual assault, statutory rape, sodomy, and sexual battery. In Georgia, a person commits the crime of sexual battery when he intentionally makes contact with the intimate parts of someone else’s body without consent. As defined in O.C.G.A. § 16-6- 22.1, “intimate parts mean the primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.”

There are rules in civil cases too. Property owners must provide adequate security for their customers or tenants. Georgia imposes a “non-delegable duty”—meaning that the duty can’t be passed on to someone else—on property owners to provide reasonable safety measures. See O.C.G.A. § 51-3- 1. In fact, property owners must “exercise reasonable care to make the premises safe” for customers, tenants, or tenants’ guests. See Robinson v. Kroger, 268 Ga. 735, 741 (1997).

We can’t erase the pain of a rape or sexual assault—but we can hold the responsible people accountable.  Every consultation we provide is 100% confidential.

CLICK HERE FOR A FREE CASE EVALUATION