Big Brothers Big Sisters Sex Abuse Lawyer
The sexual abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have helped innocent victims seek financial compensation and justice against youth organizations. Our legal team has a comprehensive understanding of the psychological and emotional damage young people experience when sexually harmed.
Sexual abuse is a serious problem in many youth development organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA). Our young are being assaulted by adults in charge of protecting them and providing valuable services.
Victims are harmed while participating in recreational activities, sports, and mentoring programs. Much of the mental health damage of their victimization lasts a lifetime.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization began in the United States in 1904 offering youth mentoring programs to young people nationwide.
The parking program involved “Little Brothers” and “Little Sisters” with the local community’s caring volunteers to develop lasting mentoring allowed risky behavior including sleepover relationships based on self-enrichment.
Unfortunately, beginning in the 1980s, the Board of Directors for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program understood they had serious abuse problems with child safety but did little to protect the children.
The nonprofit community-based organization failed to conduct comprehensive background checks of mentors, volunteers, and other adults ("bigs") that provided services to the "littles."
A Youth Organization Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help
The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld injury lawyers LLC have helped victims of child sexual abuse deal with the legal, emotional, and psychological complexities of their assault. We work with family members and law enforcement to expose the hypocrisy of youth organizations that do not protect those under their care.
We handle cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse in youth organizations across the country, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Our law firm provides advocate services to protect children from staff members charged with abuse.
Ground Rules and Guidelines for Protecting Youth
In recent years, local chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters have established guidelines to ensure that the "Littles" are protected from inappropriate relationships within the organization. The guidelines were developed in response to inappropriate allegations of harm including child sexual abuse.
One Big Brothers Big Sisters guideline establishes respect for the child's privacy and personal boundaries. All mentor, employee, and volunteer adults ("bigs") are encouraged to identify the level of sensitivity when interacting with the child, like a hug or physical touch that might be uncomfortable for the child.
Additionally, Big Brothers Big Sisters adults can discuss or display any prohibited sexual materials that might include pornography, or sexually suggestive information/photographs. All adults must monitor the physical contact of others and avoid wrestling, tickling, patting, pinching, or asking the minor for close contact including sitting on their lap.
Adults are not allowed to violate the minor's personal boundaries and can never come between the child and their parent/guardian. Big Brothers Big Sisters employees, managers, and volunteers cannot interact with children using social networking sites to communicate, follow, or friend their "little."
Employees and volunteers are also not to give a gift to their "Little" without it being a unanimous "Big" group decision. Typically, the "Bigs" vote on specific holidays, birthdays, or events to give the child a gift they can never cash.
Reporting Child Sexual Abuse
All mentors, volunteers, employees, and parents participating in Big Brothers Big Sisters activities and programs must monitor every child's situation involving others.
Any adult who found or suspected that the child might be involved in an abusive situation must file a report with appropriate authorities and law enforcement.
All those in charge must address immediate problems that caused harm and call 911 or take injured children to the police station or hospital if they ever feel that the minor's well-being is in imminent danger. The adult must also contact Big Brothers Big Sisters to begin an investigation process.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America recognizes that child sexual abuse is a crime punishable by the full extent of the law. The organization believes that any individual reporting suspected or discovered child sexual abuse victimization has a right to immunity and confidentiality from criminal prosecution.
How Big Brothers Big Sisters Respond to Child Sexual Abuse
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America provides guidelines and training for mentors and volunteers talking to children who disclose they have been sexually abused. Mentors, staff members, and volunteers must follow their training and ground rules in responding to a child alleging sexual abuse.
These responses include:
- Listen calmly to what the child is saying;
- Reassure the "Little" that they should be talking about what happened in making their allegation assure the little one that you are helping them and you will be sharing what has been said with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to ensure that the alleged sexual abuse stops immediately;
- Let the child know that they could receive support from child sexual abuse social workers who can help them through the healing process;
- Never try to question the child beyond what they are willing to say about being sexually abused that could interfere with law enforcement's investigative process.
Make note of any suspected or known signs of child sexual abuse that could include children with:
- Unexplained welts, bruises, blisters, or sores
- Unexplained burns
- Unattended health issues
- Illogical explanations for a newly observed injury
- Underweight/stunted growth
- Balding hair patches
- Unexpected pregnancy in younger female children without a known child's father
- Vacant stares
- Preoccupation with age-inappropriate sexual behavior or knowledge
The local office of most Big Brothers Big Sisters of America chapters will have an active case manager who gathers information on the allegations of children involved in sexual abuse.
The filed complaints involving the allegedly abused "littles" remain confidential until and unless the predator is found guilty of the charges.
Screening Out Sexual Abuse Molesters is Not New for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
For decades, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has managed a task force to identify sexual molestation problems within the organization. Originally in 1903, when the organization was formed in Cincinnati, inappropriate sexual contact was not a problem.
The original Big Brothers Big Sisters leaders and adult volunteers took young boys under their wings and served as a male figure to look up to and help with schoolwork and participate in sports activities.
According to the organization’s national office, the program was designed to develop mentoring relationships.
Originally, the community-based organization was a success in developing positive relationships and helping young people. Case managers in charge of creating mentoring relationships would pair a caring adult with a “little brother” or “little sister” that would be approved by the child’s parent/guardian.
Enrollment into the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization could help the child with their academic performance and school attendance at the junior and high school levels.
An impact study showed that school delinquency and substance abuse went down among participating children, and academic performance went up for participants.
However, by the early 1980s, without quality assurance policies, many cases of inappropriate sexual activity in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization came to light. In response to public awareness of the organization's abuse problem, the company developed a screening process as a protective factor in finding suitable men.
About that time, use mentoring groups, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America began fingerprinting applicants to identify any motor vehicle violation or criminal record. Next, the potential volunteer needed to pass the screening committee trained to identify any child molesting “red flag.”
While the volunteers and staff screening process was not nationwide, it was used in major cities including Tampa, New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and other major metropolitan areas.
Sex Abuse Attorneys Working on Your Behalf
All victims of sexual abuse feel that they are alone in handling an impossible situation that might have created shame, embarrassment, or lifetime scarring from the molestation. The minds of many victims suppressed what happened for decades to avoid dealing with the pain.
However, help and justice are available for all victims who do not want to feel alone. Our legal team is ready to stand on your behalf, listen to your story, and fight aggressively on your lawsuit to ensure justice is obtained.
We recognize that many youth mentoring organizations shelter molesters and predators from law enforcement to avoid negative sentiment. However, they are the villains who must be held accountable for violating victims' safety.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America have always had an obligation to protect children from the staff, mentoring men and women, and volunteers who work for the organization and provide services. The organization must continually provide training to adults on how to spot child sexual abuse indicators and how to report what is going on to the leaders and law enforcement.
Seek Justice Now
Many state legislators across the United States have enacted laws to extend the time a sexually abused victim can file a civil lawsuit while seeking justice. The law recognizes that many cases involving child sexual abuse among mentors and volunteers have been suppressed for years or decades.
Now, victims who were sexually abused during childhood might be eligible to receive financial compensation through a filed civil lawsuit, including those who participated in youth development programs including Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.
Potential defendants in a Big Brother Big Sisters lawsuit could include the organization, "bigs" like a volunteer, employee, staff member that sexually abused children ("littles").
While the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters will gather pertinent information before the case is filed with local law enforcement, parents must proactively contact a personal injury law firm to ensure their child's rights are protected.
An attorney working on behalf of the family will provide legal services and ensure a lawsuit is filed before the statute of limitations expires. Waiting too long to file a lawsuit could prevent the sexual abuse survivor from ever seeking financial compensation for their damages.
Big Brother Big Sister Child Sexual Abuse FAQs
Below are some frequently asked questions related to child sex abuse perpetrated institutions such as Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Of course, should you have additional questions, we welcome you to contact our sexual abuse lawyers for a free consultation.
What is the Point of a Youth Group?
Over the years, many youth organizations across the country, like Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, have started youth groups to help students with their academic performance, build positive relationships, and access to mentors.
The community-based groups often build their programs on violence prevention and to help the “mentee” improve school attendance at the middle and high school levels.
What are Sexually Abusive Behavior Indicators?
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the indicators of sexual abuse involving the young include a wide array of activities and behavior that might involve:
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Sexual promiscuity
- Inappropriate sexual activities/playing, or drawings
- Unexplained eating habits changes including difficulty swallowing, compulsive eating, and refusing to eat
- Thumb-sucking or bedwetting in older children
- Unexplained sudden mood swings including withdrawal, insecurity, fear, or rage
- Refusing to share secrets about an older child or adult
- Unexplained fear of specific places or individual
- Unexpected pregnancy
- Urinary tract infections
- Lesions, itching, or rashes in the anal or genital area
- New belongings including gifts, toys, or cash without reason
- Self-images that are bad, dirty, or repulsive
- Depression Inappropriate age-related knowledge, language or behaviors involving sex
For years, Big Brothers Big Sister board members have worked with violence prevention advocacy groups and local agencies to increase their protective factors to minimize the risk of children’s exposure to inappropriate sexual activity.
Their local advocacy groups monitor every volunteer and employee to immediately address any serious problems and alter their training programs when necessary to stop others from being sexually abused.
What are the 5 Signs of Abuse?
Doctors identify the five signs of abuse, mistreatment, or neglect to include:
- Physical assault involving personally physically injuring another
- Child sexual abuse involving any sexual activities including intercourse, genital-oral contact, fondling, rape, sodomy, inappropriate touching, or sharing child pornography
- Emotional abuse involving berating, belittling, ignoring, isolating, rejecting, or any other emotional assault that affects the child’s well-being or self-esteem
- Neglect of a child by failing to provide supervision, affection, shelter, food, liquids, or medical/dental care
- Psychosocial abuse where the child is manipulated, coerced, or controlled by others and their belongings might be withheld or tracked by the psychosocial abuser
What is the Most Difficult Kind of Abuse to Substantiate?
According to the American Psychology Association, verbal abuse is the most challenging type of assault to substantiate. Many victims are belittled, called names, labeled, or ridiculed by peers, mentors, adult volunteers, or others in charge.
Verbal assault does not hurt the victim with physical scars, injuries, or other evidence. However, a mentor, volunteer, or employee verbally assaulting children could be extremely hurtful and could cause lifelong psychosocial problems.
Some Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization's children are victims of psychological and emotional assault where they are humiliated, shamed, or punished without physical contact. In response, the victim might turn to delinquency, drug use, substance abuse, alcohol use, or other risky behaviors.
What are the Four Types of Child Maltreatment?
The Merck Manual (professional version) identifies Child maltreatment as behavior toward youth outside the boundaries of society's conduct. The maltreatment usually involves behavior that places the victim at substantial risk of experiencing an emotional or physical injury.
The four leading types of maltreatment are identified as:
- Physical assault
- Sexual abuse
- Psychological abuse (emotional abuse)
Many forms of maltreatment involving the young include negligence or abusive behavior that results in physical injuries, mental problems, delayed development, or delayed growth.
What Does Child Protective Services (CPS) Consider Abuse?
According to the United States Department of HHS, Child Protective Services considers abuse and neglect as certain behaviors or omissions of behavior by anyone responsible for the child’s welfare, care, or custody.
Neglect and abuse, including sexual abuse, might involve:
- An emotional or mental injury that impairs the child’s psychological, growth, or developmental functioning
- Physical injuries that cause the child substantial harm
- Failing to prevent abuse by another individual that results in the child’s substantial injury
- Inappropriate sexual contact that harms the child’s physical, emotional, or mental welfare
- Failing to safeguard the child against any sexual conduct
- Encouraging or compelling the young victim to engage in inappropriate sexual activity
- Any obscene activity involving the child that encourages, permits, engages, or causes hurt that might include filming or photographing
- Supplying drugs or encouraging the child to use controlled substances that cause emotional, mental, or physical injury
Speak With a Big Brothers Big Sisters Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today
Public awareness has exposed the problems of sexual molestation involving participants in Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Many young children who signed up for mentoring services were instead abused by mentors and volunteers providing their care.
It is often taken years for the victims of sexual abuse to get past the betrayal of a Big Brother or Big Sister predator who hurt them and left them with psychological and emotional damages.
The childhood sexually abused injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC have years of experience in holding sexual predators accountable, and we can help you too. We will work on your behalf to seek financial compensation and expose the organization’s hypocrisy.
If you, or your loved one, are a child-victim of sexual abuse during your participation in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America program, contact us today at (888) 424-5757. Let us provide legal advice on how to proceed in obtaining financial compensation to recover your damages.
We can file a claim on your behalf against A Brothers Big Sisters, and any mentor, volunteer, or employee that sexually abused you.
However, time is of the essence. All necessary information and documentation must be filed in the appropriate county courthouse before the statute of limitations expires.