Legal Edge: The rights of vicitms of assault


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. Local attorney Bryan Waldman is here with the legal rights of victims.

“A sexual assault occurs anytime a person forces or coerces another person to engage in a nonconsensual sexual contact or act. If someone is the victim of a sexual assault, what rights do they have?” said Waldman.

Waldman explained that victims need to know that in sex crime cases, both the criminal justice system and the civil justice system working in tandem.

Defendants in sexual assault cases can be charged with CSE, or Criminal Sexual Conduct in the first, second, third and fourth degrees.

The decision whether those charges are going to be filed is left to the state, Waldman said.

The victim doesn’t really have a say in whether or not charges are filed, said Waldman, since a sex crime is considered a crime against society and not just an individual.

Civil lawsuits, however, are entirely in the hands of the victim. The victim brings the civil claim against the assailant/entity that enabled the assault.

Currently, there are no statute of limitations in 1st degree CSE cases, meaning that victims can speak out at any time.

For civil suits, there is a 10 year statute of limitations.

If the victim is a minor, the victim has 10 years since their 18th birthday to bring about a lawsuit.

For victims with repressed/blocked memories, the statute of limitations is 3 years from the day they discover the assault.

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