Settlement Amounts of Sex Abuse Lawsuits

This page is about settlement amounts in sex abuse civil lawsuits. We look at jury awards and settlement compensation in other sex abuse lawsuits, including 2023-2022 verdicts and reported settlements.  Our sex abuse lawyers handle these cases in all 50 states.

Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
Settlement Amounts in Sex Abuse Lawsuits
Statute of Limitations in Child Abuse Cases


November 22, 2023: Nearly three decades ago, at the Moreno Valley Unified School District in California, two former sixth-grade students were sexually abused by their teacher. Despite previous complaints of child molestation against the teacher, the school district continued to employ him. The victims, who are now in their late 30s, filed a school sex abuse lawsuit against the district, alleging negligence and a failure to provide protection from the teacher’s abuse, which persisted into their sophomore year of high school. A California state jury awarded the victims a combined $135 million in damages. The verdict allocated 90% of the fault to the Moreno Valley Unified School District and 10% to the teacher. The two victims received $55 million and $80 million as compensation for the mental and emotional distress they suffered.

November 21, 2023: In a lawsuit against a St. Peters massage spa and its owner, it was alleged that a massage therapist employed at the spa sexually assaulted six women over a nine-month period. Despite previous allegations of assault against the therapist at another location, the spa continued to employ him and failed to act on subsequent reports of misconduct from its own customers. The St. Charles County jury found the spa and its owner liable, awarding nearly $250 million in damages to the plaintiffs. The awards, ranging from $35.2 million to $47 million per plaintiff, included both compensatory and punitive damages, significantly surpassing the plaintiffs’ last pretrial demand of $4 million and the final pretrial offer of $1 million by the defense. The accused therapist, who missed several court hearings in fall 2021 after posting bail, remains at large.

November 18, 2023: Plaintiffs who claim that Pornhub published sexually explicit videos of them as minors has requested class certification in a lawsuit against MindGeek, the owner of Pornhub. They argue that there is shared evidence indicating MindGeek intentionally designed its website to encourage the posting of child sex abuse material (CSAM). The plaintiffs’ legal team highlighted that MindGeek lacked age verification processes for performers and that its audit revealed over 38,000 instances of content categorized as child sex abuse material. The motion pushes the idea that MindGeek’s website design promoted the posting of such material to increase web traffic and generate revenue. Additionally, they are seeking an injunction requiring MindGeek to verify the age of all performers in the content each time something is published on their sites. This is a great idea, but it seems like there are lots of ways around it, unfortunately. Of course, MindGeek really wants to push back on the age verification because that is bound to lead to fewer users of the website.  People watching porn online will not be excited about showing ID.

November 10, 2023: Columbia University has announced a $100 million fund to compensate victims of Robert Hadden, a former obstetrician-gynecologist at the university convicted of sexual abuse.The fund is part of a broader response that includes an external investigation into the failures that allowed the abuse to occur. The university’s President issued an apology for the institution’s failure to protect victims.In addition to the settlement fund, Columbia is setting up a patient safety center to review and improve its health programs and protocols. Hadden, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison following his conviction, has not practiced since 2012.

Over 6,500 of Hadden’s former patients will be informed about his conviction and provided information on available resources and their legal rights under the New York State Adult Survivors Act. This act permits survivors to file lawsuits even after the statute of limitations has expired.

October 28, 2023: A consortium of insurance companies has urged a bankruptcy judge in New Jersey to dismiss the latest Chapter 11 reorganization plan put forth by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden and its official committee of tort claimant creditors.The insurers – who make it sound like they think they are the real victim here – argue that the proposed plan exacerbates the errors that led to the rejection of the diocese’s initial plan in August. The insurance companies who will ultimately be paying settlements and verdicts filed a detailed objection, emphasizing that the plan fails to address the court’s directive to be more impartial and inclusive of insurers’ interests. Their other beef is with the new trust administrator, Matthew Dundon, citing his close ties to the tort committee and plaintiffs’ attorneys, creating a conflict of interest.  They are concerned about his representation of individual plaintiffs’ attorneys and their or clients in aggregate litigations and bankruptcies is an important part of his business for him to be impartial.

Sexual Abuse Settlements Amounts and Verdicts

Below are summaries of other major sexual abuse cases that resulted in publicly reported settlements. These cases give us a representative cross-section of the types of civil lawsuits and compensation payouts common in sexual abuse lawsuits.

The vast majority of sex abuse lawsuits settle before the case ever goes to a jury.  It is no coincidence that all these lawsuits settled before trial.

  • 2023, West Virginia: $100,000,000 Settlement. Former students at a private boarding school alleged that they suffered various forms of abuse, including bodily injury, sexual misconduct, false imprisonment, malnutrition, and emotional distress during their time there. The alleged abuse included being confined in small, dark, and cold rooms for prolonged periods with minimal food and unsanitary conditions. There were also claims that the school did what we see in so many clergy abuse and other institutional abuse cases – it concealed evidence of this maltreatment. A significant settlement of around $100 million was reached to resolve many of these claims, though other cases remained pending.
  • 2023, Missouri: $1,000,000 Settlement. At a day care facility, a 13-year-old autistic boy was molested by another student in a bathroom due to inadequate supervision by the staff. The assailant later admitted to initiating the abuse and instructing the victim in sexual acts during an interview with state officials. Subsequently, the day care settled the matter for $1 million with the victim’s family. The specific identities and the location of the facility remain undisclosed. Sex abuse lawsuits.
  • 2023, Nebraska: $116,000 Settlement. The plaintiff, a retail store employee, claimed that her supervisor on multiple occasions attempted to touch her buttocks, grazed her breast with his elbow, grabbed her breasts intentionally, and asked the plaintiff to engage in a sexual relationship several times. Eventually, the supervisor forcibly raped the plaintiff on the job under the threat of being fired.
  • 2023, New Jersey: $331,000 Verdict. The defendant, a municipal government, allegedly allowed one of their employees to use his positions with them as their firefighter, community figurehead, mentor, and/or counselor to allegedly sexually abuse the plaintiff many times, from approximately 1986 through 1990. The plaintiff allegedly was sexually abused by the employee, beginning when the plaintiff was approximately eight years old.
  • 2022, Missouri: $1.35 Million Verdict. A girl accused her classmate of sexual assault. She claimed he assaulted her in a school stairwell. The girl suffered emotional distress. Her family alleged that the school district failed to stop the classmate’s harassment and monitor the stairwell. The family received a $1,350,000 verdict.
  • 2022, New York: $16.3 Million Settlement. Virginia Giuffre accused Prince Andrew of sexually assaulting her when she was underage. She claimed Jeffrey Epstein coerced her into having sex with the Prince. Prince Andrew denied Giuffre’s allegations. He agreed to settle for $16.3 million.  This settlement amount is a bit of an outlier.
  • 2022, California: $2 Million Settlement. A woman accused her former Spanish teacher of sexually abusing and grooming her when she was 17 years old. She claimed he abused her between October 2018 and January 2019, when he was arrested. The woman alleged that the San Jose School District failed to prevent her teacher from sexually harassing, abusing, and molesting minors. The school district agreed to settle for $2 million.
  • 2022, Michigan: $490 Million Settlement. Over 1,000 individuals, including former college football players, accused former University of Michigan sports doctor Robert Anderson of sexual abuse and assault. They claimed Anderson sexually assaulted and abused them during routine examinations. The individuals allege that the university failed to protect them from Anderson. The University of Michigan agreed to settle these lawsuits for $490 million.
  • 2022, Texas: $875,000 Settlement. Fifteen women accused the City of Austin of mishandling their sexual assault cases. They allege that the justice system failed them. The women also claimed that city prosecutors failed to prosecute anyone in their cases. The City of Austin voted to approve an $875,000 settlement.
  • 2021, New Jersey: $4.5 Million Settlement. Several apartment tenants accused their landlord of sexual harassment. They claimed he harassed women and gay and bisexual men and provided housing benefits in exchange for sexual favors. The individuals alleged that their landlord’s actions violated the Fair Housing Act. This case settled for $4.5 million.
  • 2021, New York: $600,000 Settlement. Twenty former employees accused chef Mario Batali and his business partner of perpetuating a culture of sexual harassment in their three restaurants. They claimed male managers made lewd comments regarding female employees’ looks. The employees also claimed that Batali lewd comments himself and inappropriately touched a female employee. Batali and his business partner agreed to settle for $600,000.
  • 2021, New York: $71.5 Million Settlement. Seventy-nine women accused former Columbia University-affiliated gynecologist Robert Hadden of sexual assault. They hire a sex abuse lawyer and filed a lawsuit claiming he inappropriately touched them during examinations. Not atypically, many women claimed Hadden became more intrusive during subsequent exams. He faced additional lawsuits that accused him of molesting hundreds of women. New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center agreed to settle for $71.5 million.
  •  2021, California: $2.2 Million Settlement. Two former students of actor James Franco’s acting school accused him of sexual misconduct and fraud. They claimed he forced them to perform in sexually gratuitous scenes and denied them the use of nudity riders in a sex scenes class. Franco agreed to settle these lawsuits for $2.2 million.
  •  2021, California: $1.1 Billion Settlement. Over 700 women accused former USC gynecologist George Tyndall of sexual misconduct. They claimed he sexually abused them during the procedure. The women alleged that USC failed to protect them from Tyndall. The university agreed to settle for $1.1 billion.
  •  2009, New York: $500,000 Settlement. Virginia Giuffre accused billionaire Jeffrey Epstein of sexually trafficking her. Giuffre claimed Epstein hired her as a sexual servant when she was a teenager. The woman alleged that he flew her all over the world for sexual encounters with many men, including politicians, academics, businessmen, and royals. Epstein agreed to settle for $500,000.

How Sex Abuse Settlement Amounts Are Determined

The calculation of sexual abuse settlement amounts is a complex and sensitive process that takes into account a number of different factors. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how these settlements are valued. Every sex abuse case our law firm has handled is special and unique. But, generally, there are key factors that may influence the valuation of a sexual abuse settlement:

  1. The severity of the abuse: The more severe the abuse, the higher the settlement amount is likely to be. This can include physical, emotional, and psychological harm. This is the single biggest driver of sex abuse settlement payouts because this is what juries care about most.
  2. The impact of the abuse on the victim: The settlement may consider how the abuse has affected the victim’s life and well-being, including any physical or emotional scars, lost earning potential, and medical expenses. As awful as it sounds to say it out loud, the more the victim was damaged by what happened, the higher the settlement amount, all things being equal.
  3. The length of time the abuse: If the abuse took place over a long period, the settlement amount is likely to be higher than if it took place over a shorter period.
  4. The victim’s age: Children and young people are often awarded higher settlements than adults, as they are more vulnerable and may have a longer life ahead of them to deal with the consequences of the abuse. This rule has stark exceptions, but younger victims have statistically higher settlement averages.
  5. The jurisdiction: Different states and countries may have different laws and regulations that govern sexual abuse settlements, which may considerably impact the final settlement amount.
  6. The ability of the abuser to pay: The settlement amount may also be influenced by the ability of the defendant to pay. If the defendant is a large corporation or wealthy individual, the settlement amount may be higher, as they have the financial resources to compensate the victim adequately. This is often the most critical factor in the case if you do not have a deep-pocket defendant.
  7. The evidence:  The availability of evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and other documentation can also impact the settlement amount. The more substantial the evidence, particularly a criminal conviction, the more likely the victim will receive a higher settlement.

Are Sexual Assault Settlements Taxable?

Sexual assault settlement amounts are generally not considered taxable income for the victim. The tax treatment of such settlements is typically governed by the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) of the United States. Specifically, IRC Section 104(a)(2) states that “gross income does not include…the amount of any damages (other than punitive damages) received (whether by suit or agreement and whether as lump sums or as periodic payments) on account of personal physical injuries or physical sickness.”

Sexual assault settlement amounts fall are basically “personal physical injuries or sickness,” for our purposes and should not be taxable.  Punitive damages or a specific lost wage award can be exceptions.

Tax laws vary and you want to get a legal opinion specific to this case. But sexual assault compensation payouts are generally not taxable.

Finding the Right Lawyer to Fight for You

Our lawyers understand the traumatic impact that childhood sexual abuse can have on a person’s life. Our law firm is dedicated to helping survivors of sexual abuse recover compensation for the physical and psychological harm that they have endured.

We are experienced and knowledgeable in handling cases of sexual abuse that have taken place in various institutions, including churches, summer camps, youth recreation programs, schools, religious organizations, and others. Our attorneys approach each case with sensitivity, discretion, and a commitment to securing the best outcome possible for our clients.

If you or a loved one is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, we encourage you to reach out to us for a free, confidential, and no-risk case evaluation. During this evaluation, we will listen to your story, assess your case, and provide you with information about the next steps you can take to secure the compensation you deserve.

Our goal is to support you and your loved ones in this difficult time and help you find closure and healing. Contact us today online or call 800-553-8082 to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

More on Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Our sex abuse lawyers are reviewing these claims nationwide but most of our cases come from these jurisdictions with more favorable laws:

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