Kansas Sex Abuse Lawsuits

This post will explain the basics of Kansas sexual abuse lawsuits. We examine how Kansas law defines sexual abuse and assault and when victims of sex abuse can file civil lawsuits and get compensation. We will also analyze the potential settlement value of sex abuse lawsuits in Kansas.

Kansas Sex Abuse Lawsuits News & Updates

April 20, 2024: Kansas’s recent legal changes to eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes involving the sexual abuse of minors have made it possible for victims to pursue justice in criminal courts indefinitely. This significant legal reform allows for the prosecution of such crimes regardless of when they occurred, recognizing the long-term impact and often delayed reporting of child sexual abuse.

However, not all survivors can bring claims under this updated law due to the principle of non-retroactivity in criminal law. This principle dictates that laws applying to criminal conduct are generally not retroactive, meaning they are governed by the laws in effect at the time the crime was committed. Therefore, if the statute of limitations had already expired under the previous laws when the crime was reported or discovered, the updated law eliminating the statute of limitations would not apply.

For example, even after the abolition of the statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits in Kansas in 2013, there were situations where charges were dismissed because they were brought after the statute of limitations had expired under the laws that were in effect at the time the crimes occurred. In these cases, despite the victims only realizing or reporting the abuse years later, the legal system could not prosecute the alleged perpetrators because the time limits imposed by the earlier law had already lapsed before the new laws eliminating such limits were enacted.

How is Sex Abuse Defined in Kansas?

In Kansas, sexual assault or sexual abuse is defined as sexual touching or contact without the other person’s consent and for the purpose of sexual gratification. In the context of a civil lawsuit, sexual abuse or assault is often referred to as sexual battery. Under this definition, a wide range of acts (from groping a breast to violent rape) meets the definition of sex abuse.

There are two key elements that must be present to meet the definition of sexual abuse in Kansas. First, the contact or touching must intentionally done for the purpose of sexual gratification. Grabbing a woman’s breast in a crowded elevator or to catch her from falling is not sexual abuse because there is no sexual intent behind the contact.

The second essential element is the lack of consent. For intentional sexual touching to qualify as abuse or assault, it must be done without mutual consent. Under Kansas law, minors under the age of 18 cannot give consent to sexual touching. Any sexual contact with a minor by an adult is automatically considered sexual battery.

So even if a 16 year-old fully consents and enthusiastically participates in sexual activities with a 25-year-old, those activities meet the definition of sexual abuse because that 16-year-old lacks the legal capacity to give that consent.

When Can Abuse Victims Sue?

Sexual abuse or assault is both a criminal and civil offense in Kansas. This means that sex abuse victims have the right to press criminal charges and/or file a civil lawsuit and seek financial compensation. Anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse or assault can file a lawsuit.

Sex abuse victims can file a civil lawsuit regardless of whether the abuser was ever criminally charged or convicted. In fact, victims can file a civil lawsuit even if they never reported it to the police and even if they never told anyone about the incident.

The evidentiary burden for proving sexual battery in a civil case is much lower than the burden in a criminal case. This means it is much easier for a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit to prove that the sexual abuse or assault occurred. So even if an abuser escapes criminal justice, they can still be held accountable in a civil court.

Suing Third Parties in Kansas Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Sexual abuse victims can always sue the individual person that abused them. Usually, however, suing the abusers is somewhat pointless because you won’t be able to get any money from them. Chances are they are either broke, dead or in jail.

The key to getting compensation in sex abuse lawsuit is finding a company, school, or other third party with deep pockets (or insurance) to hold liable for negligence. Kansas law allows abuse victims to file civil lawsuits against third-parties who were negligent in failing to prevent or stop the abuse. Common third-party defendants in sex abuse civil lawsuits include schools, churches, or organizations such as the boy scouts. If you can show that the one of these organizations had a duty to prevent or stop the abuse and failed to do so, they can be held legally liable for damages.

For example, if a teacher abused you at your school, the school could potentially be liable for negligently failing to stop the abuse or investigate prior complaints against the teacher. Also, if you were sexually abused or assaulted in a dimly lit parking lot, you could sue the parking lot owner for negligent security.

Kansas Statute of Limitations in Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Kansas is among those states that have recently passed new laws making it easier for victims of child sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits. In 2023, Kansas passed a new law extended the statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits. Now child sex abuse victims can file a civil lawsuit anytime before their 31st birthday (age of majority [18] plus 13 years); OR 3 years after the abuser is criminally convicted, whichever is later. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 60-523(a) (2023).

Kansas Sex Abuse Settlements and Verdicts

Below are settlements and verdicts from recent sex abuse lawsuits in Kansas.

$15,500 Settlement: A 15-year-old male suffered sexual molestation and emotional distress when he was told to disrobe and then submitted to a body search in a restroom by a Quiktrip employee who claimed he was police officer. The plaintiff contended that the employee was negligent in falsely representing himself as a police officer, invading the privacy of a minor, assaulting the plaintiff, and falsely imprisoning the plaintiff and that the Quiktrip was negligent in assisting the defendant by permitting him to use its store.

$1,800,000 Verdict: A six-year-old female, diagnosed with Down’s syndrome, suffered severe emotional distress after she was repeatedly molested by the defendant bus driver while riding to special classes within the defendant school district. As a result of her injury, the child required constant supervision. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant transportation service was negligent for failure to supervise the driver, even after it was revealed that he had difficulty disciplining the children on his bus.

$10,000 Settlement: A five-year-old female suffered child abuse and emotional distress when a 14-year-old male, the son of the defendant day care owner, sexually molested the plaintiff over a period of time. The plaintiff contended that the defendant had been warned of her son’s behavior problem and that the defendant was negligent for failing to properly supervise the children in her care. The plaintiff alleged that the school district was liable for its failure to follow board of education polices governing the reporting of problems on buses and suspected child abuse.

$269,442 Verdict: A 13-year-old male suffered sexual abuse and emotional distress by a softball coach.  The plaintiff contended that while he was working in the offices and during soft ball practices and games, which were coached by the defendant, the defendant was negligent for molesting, abusing and fondling the plaintiff.

$150,000 Settlement: Teenage boy, while an inpatient at the defendant boys home, was sexually assaulted by another male inpatient. The plaintiff contended that the defendant negligently failed to provide a safe environment, knew that the nonparty male inpatient had a history of sexual offenses, and took no steps to warn or provide security to the other inpatients. The plaintiff also contended that the defendant negligently failed to adequately supervise the dormitory, and was negligent in taking no action after being aware that the assault took place.

Contact Us About a Kansas Sex Abuse Lawsuit

If you have sexual abuse lawsuits in Kansas, call our lawyers today at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation, or contact us online.


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