A man who was convicted of multiple accounts of child sexual abuse has been sued by his victims.
Randall Fergus Hutton plead guilty to his first offense in 1995. At that time, he was charged with a third-degree sex offense, charges that had been brought against him after he allegedly molested a 12-year-old.
Years later, in 2009, he was convicted of seven counts of child molestation and was sentenced to 65 years in prison. He also faced further allegations from three victims, ages 13 to 14, who claimed he sexually abused them. The girls claimed that Hutton repeatedly sexually assaulted them while they worked on his farm and threatened to hurt them, as well as their loved ones, if they reported it to anyone.
In their civil lawsuit, the plaintiffs, who chose to remain anonymous and filed under the name “Doe”, claimed they were owed damages for assault, battery, and the emotional trauma he inflicted on them. They stated that on top of the physical abuse they had also suffered psychological harm. When the case went to trial, the jury awarded the plaintiffs just under $8 million in damages.
New York’s Definition Of Child Abuse
New York legally defines child abuse as “the most serious harms committed against children” including when an adult administers “serious physical injury, creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury, or commits an act of sex abuse.” Neglect and emotional abuse are also recognized as forms of child abuse.
Types Of Child Abuse
There is more than one type of child abuse. Abuse can involve:
Any physical harm that is suffered by a child as a result of the actions of an adult. Contact must involve the intent to cause harm to the child.
Bullying, constant humiliation, threats, belittling, and chronically ignoring a child are all forms of emotional abuse.
Children all need to be properly clothed, fed, and given shelter. The law defines neglect as “the failure of a parent or other person with responsibility for the child to provide need food, clothing, shelter, medical care, or supervision to the degree that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are threatened with harm.”
Sadly, neglect is one of the most often reported forms of child abuse.
Pursuing Legal Action Against The Abuser
Even if someone is convicted of criminal charges, the sentencing usually does not involve any sort of compensation for the victim or their family. In order to obtain compensation, victims typically need to file a separate civil lawsuit against their abuser.
Even if the defendant isn’t convicted of criminal charges, it is still possible to pursue a civil suit, and it is still possible for the plaintiffs to win.
Who Can File?
Complaints can be filed by both the legal guardians and the child. The legal guardians file for the emotional trauma they have suffered from the knowledge that their child has been abused. The child can file for the physical and emotional trauma that they have already suffered and will continue to suffer as a result of their abuse.
What Should I Do If I Suspect A Child Is Being Abused?
If you believe that any child is being abused in any way, you should contact the police. They will take steps to investigate the matter and press charges against anyone who is responsible for the child’s suffering.
Common signs of child abuse include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unexplainable fear and anxiety
- Self harm
- Loss of appetite
- A change in grades, a lack of desire in previously enjoyed educational experiences
- Extreme anger or hostility
After the authorities have determined that child abuse did, in fact, take place, contacting an attorney who can help the child get the compensation they deserve is the next step legal guardians should take.