It’s always a good day when a serial rapist is put behind bars. Not only does it keep other victims safe but it also provides their victims with a sense of relief and that justice has been served. However, even a criminal sentence can’t provide the victims with the financial help they need to move forward. That's where our experienced New York sexual assault lawyers can step in and help.
In 2013, a student was spending the evening in her apartment complex when her life changed forever. She was attacked, held at gunpoint, forced to perform oral sex, and then raped. Throughout the entire ordeal, she hoped that someone would walk by so that she could get help but no one ever did - including campus security even though security cameras caught the entire incident.
What was later discovered is that her rapist had been on campus for over 30 minutes stalking his victim - all seen from campus security cameras.
After the attack, the school switched her to a different room and gave her a cell phone so that she would feel safer since her attacker had not yet been caught, but they did nothing to change campus security so that others students have better protection than she did that evening.
She chose to file a lawsuit against the school, alleging that her attack would have never have happened if the proper security measures had been in place. In response, the school took away the cell phone they had given her. But she was prepared for her day in court and at the end of the trial, the jury awarded her $10 million for what she had endured.
How did school officials respond to the verdict? They called her “juvenile”.
The plaintiff maintains that aside from switching her rooms (and still charging her full room and board) and giving her a phone for a short period of time, no one from the school ever offered her help or even a simple “we are sorry this happened to you”.
Although it took several years to finally catch him, the man who raped the plaintiff is now behind bars. He was found guilty of her rape, the rape of another student, the kidnapping and rape of a woman from a nearby hospital, and the rape and murder of a fourth woman in 2014. He was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences.
Anyone who owns a property, whether big or small, owes a duty of care to those who may visit that property. This means that they must do everything that would be considered reasonable within their power to provide a safe space for visitors.
When it comes to college campuses, where a shocking number of students are sexually assaulted, schools should focus on security. This may include security cameras which are being monitored, guards making regular rounds, and alarms spaced throughout campus. If the school fails to implement a reasonable program and someone is hurt as a result, they may find themselves being named as the defendants in a lawsuit.
A negligent security lawsuit can provide a plaintiff with compensation. This compensation is referred to as “damages”.
Damages are meant to restore the plaintiff, as best as possible, to the state they were in before they were harmed. Although nothing can change the past or physical damage, compensation can help to pay for:
The total amount awarded in each case will vary and depends on the actual losses sustained by a particular plaintiff.