Can I sue my uncle for molesting me as a child?

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Can I sue my uncle for molesting me as a child?

My uncle who was my stepfather at the time molested me from age 3 to 12. The state is prosecuting him now for more molestation charges. They have told me he is a pedophile.

Asked on January 8, 2012 under Personal Injury, Tennessee

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The answer is maybe.... Generally, you could sue your uncle for molesting you, especially if you have suffered a harm.  Many sexual assault child victims have long-term issues with molestation and it would not be uncommon for you to still be battling with some of those issues.  You could run into two issues, however.  The first is the statute of limitations.  Your age will determine whether or not you can file a tort (personal injury) action in your state.  Many states will extend a statute of limitations for minors, but will still require them to file their lawsuits shortly after becoming an adult.  Your second issue is the criminal case.  Many states limit contact between defendants and victims so as to protect the emotional well-being of victims.  However, if a victim files a personal injury lawsuit, then the victim has consented to contact and cross-examination through the civil suit.  Because of this, you could accidentally interfere with the criminal case.  In the end, you'll need to consider what is more important-- a criminal justice or monetary justice through a civil suit. 


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