A successful dancer and choreographer who was involved in a sexual assault incident on Sunday, July 9, 2017, recently had his charges downgraded in a Manhattan Criminal Court. According to the 17-year-old victim, she had fallen asleep on a bed in a hotel room where she was visiting with the choreographer and awoke in the middle of the night to him raping her. Then she said that he purposely fell asleep in front of the bedroom door so she could not leave the room.
When the story broke, authorities had initially pursued charges of illegal imprisonment and sexual assault. By the time the story started to gain traction later, all felony charges against the dancer were dropped and there were only a couple of misdemeanor charges to consider. By the time July 10th had ended, all charges against the dancer were dropped. Charges being dropped does not mean the end of justice; this case can still be pursued in a civil court.
How Can This Case Go To Civil Court?
The victim’s initial story, which has not changed in the media from Sunday to Monday, said that she was falling asleep throughout the course of the night after drinking alcohol with the alleged rapist. This initially led to charges of underage drinking against him, which were also dropped. Despite these allegations, there is no evidence to show that the authorities tested the alcohol for any drugs.
The standard of proof in a criminal prosecution is very high, and sexual assault cases are usually a matter of one word against another. But what is interesting about this case is that the underage drinking charges, which are very hard to dispute, were also dropped. Does this mean that the 17-year-old victim is out of options to get justice? Not at all. She can always file a personal injury lawsuit to punish the dancer financially.
A Personal Injury Lawsuit For Sexual Assault
Throughout the United States, there is no form of personal injury that is referred to as sexual assault. Most sexual assault cases are tried as another form of personal injury such as assault and battery. Within the category of assault and battery, there are subcategories that can be applied to cases such as this.
A civil lawsuit can be filed in the case of sexual assault even if there was a criminal prosecution. In most cases, a criminal prosecution can make it easier to get a ruling for the plaintiff in civil court, but it is not always necessary. The standard of proof in civil court is much more relaxed than it is with a criminal prosecution, which means that seeking justice in a civil court can be an effective way to expose the criminal and make them pay for their crime.
Filing A Lawsuit For Sexual Assault
It is always helpful to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who is used to high profile cases when faced with a situation such as this one. A knowledgeable attorney who knows what wealthy and celebrity defendants are able to do to turn a case to their side will be able to counter those efforts and keep the case on a level playing field.
For the victim, it is important to remember that their identity might be made public during the course of the lawsuit. For the 17-year-old victim, laws regarding the protection of minors will shield her name from the public eye. But a victim who is of legal age will have to consider the possibility that they will become a public figure throughout the trial, and that can make the process difficult.
To avoid publicity, some victims take settlements from their attackers and agree to not talk about the case any further. While this does not necessarily do the job of exposing the full nature of the crime, it can help the victim to feel that justice was served on their behalf.
Victims of sexual assault should not rely solely on the criminal court system for justice. Once the criminal case is over, regardless of whether there was a conviction or not, the victim has every right to pursue a personal injury case in civil court to get some measure of restitution from their attacker.