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Louisville Sexual Assault Attorney

Compassionate Legal Guidance When You Need It Most


Representing Victims of Sexual Assault in Louisville & Throughout Kentucky

Sexual abuse happens more frequently than people believe. Millions of men and women have been sexually abused, either as children or adults. And few abusers are ever caught or held accountable.

Many institutions shelter and protect abusers and have been doing so for decades. For example, the rampant sexual abuse in the Catholic Church has only recently come to light. Abuse in the Boy Scouts of America has also been kept under wraps for decades until brave survivors stepped forward.

If you have been sexually assaulted, you need an advocate who believes you. The Noakes Law Group has helped many victims of assault and will do everything we can to bring your abuser to justice. Speak with our Kentucky sexual abuse attorneys today for a free consultation.

What Is Considered Sexual Assault in Kentucky?

Kentucky law defines both “rape” and “sexual abuse” as criminal offenses, although the two terms are not interchangeable. In broad terms, rape is when someone engaged in sexual intercourse with another person who is entirely under “forcible compulsion” or is not legally capable of giving consent. Sexual violence also referred to as “sexual assault,” is when someone is subjected to “sexual contact by forcible compulsion,” or the victim is incapable of consenting to sexual contact.

Victims of rape and sexual abuse may bring civil sexual assault claims separate from any criminal prosecution. Depending on the facts of a given case, a sexual assault victim may also a have civil claim for any or all of the following common law offenses:

  • Assault (i.e., the threat of unwanted touching)
  • Battery (i.e., unwanted touching or harmful and offensive contact)
  • False Imprisonment 
  • Stalking
  • Trespassing

Why Bring a Sexual Assault Claim Against Your Abuser?

Civil lawsuits differ from criminal lawsuits in several key ways. The first is the burden of proof. In a criminal prosecution for sexual assault, a Commonwealth’s Attorney must prove every element of the charged offense “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Whether you are talking about rape or sexual assault, the jury must unanimously conclude the Commonwealth has met its burden.

One element of criminal sexual assault is the issue of consent. Obviously, there is no crime if the victim consented to the sexual conduct alleged. And since many sexual assault cases are “he said/she said,” Kentucky prosecutors are often unwilling to even bring a criminal case without additional corroboration. Again, this goes back to the fact that a criminal charge must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

With a civil claim for sexual assault, in contrast, a victim need only prove their claims based on a “preponderance of the evidence.” This is a significantly lower standard than beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury need only find it more likely than not that the victim was raped or sexually assaulted. Put another way, in a civil lawsuit the jury only needs to be 51 percent sure the defendant committed sexual assault, while in a criminal prosecution, the jury must be closer to 95 percent certain.   

A second key difference between civil and criminal sexual assault cases is the nature of the penalties or remedies available if the defendant is found responsible.

In a criminal case, the defendant can be sent to jail or prison if convicted. That is not possible in a civil suit. Instead, a civil suit seeks monetary compensation in the form of damages. If the defendant is found liable, then he must pay compensation to the victims.

We realize that no amount of money can ever make up for a sexual assault. However, civil cases are often about more than the person who abused you. Instead, you might try to hold accountable the institution that protected the abuser or allowed the abuse to happen. In a way, bringing a civil lawsuit is about protecting future victims as much as it is about getting justice for your case.

The following institutions often turn a blind eye to abuse:

  • Hospitals that employ doctors who sexually abuse patients under the guise of providing medical treatment
  • Schools that employ personnel who sexually assault students or other staff
  • Universities that do not investigate allegations of sexual abuse or do not provide a safe environment for students who then end up getting assaulted
  • Groups like the Boy Scouts that have adults mentoring children

If you have been assaulted, you can bring a civil suit against your assailant as well as against any institution that you believe is also culpable for the assault.

What Compensation Can You Receive?

Noakes can handle your sexual assault case.

At the Noakes Law Group, our Kentucky sexual abuse lawyer focuses on getting our clients the justice they deserve after sexual abuse or assault. The road to recovery can be long and complicated. Further, no two victims have the same experience.

As part of a civil suit, we can seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills to cover the full costs of dealing with sexual assault, including mental health counseling
  • Lost wages, if the repercussions from the assault prevented you from working
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress

In some cases, our sexual abuse attorney might also seek punitive damages. These damages are designed to punish a person or institution for reprehensible conduct. In many cases, you can get punitive damages against the abuser, since their conduct is clearly egregious. However, it is less clear whether an institution like a hospital or school would need to pay punitive damages. A lot depends on what the institution knew.

When seeking a settlement, we also need to be realistic about the defendant’s ability to pay. Some abusers might not have resources, which is why we always consider whether an institution is also responsible since they tend to have deeper pockets.

The goal of any sexual assault case is to do justice. By being forced to pay a large settlement, institutions like schools and hospitals might be encouraged to change their policies and to take complaints of sexual assault more seriously.

CALL 502.906.6957

How Noakes Law Can Help

Noakes can handle your sexual assault case.

Victims of Sexual Assault Should Act Quickly

One hurdle is making sure you bring your claim on time. Every state has a statute of limitations, which sets out the maximum amount of time victims have to bring lawsuits. If you suffered abuse as a child, then it can be complicated to bring a case if many years have passed. It is best to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible to review your case.

Another problem with cases involving institutions is that they do not like to admit responsibility for contributing to sexual assault. You need a trusted attorney who can dig and find evidence to use in your case.

Our sexual abuse lawyers also work to protect clients’ privacy. Public attitudes around sexual assault are changing, and fewer people automatically discredit the accusations made by women and children. However, we realize that many clients want to maintain their privacy, and we will do everything possible to accomplish that.


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