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Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

January 23, 2024

Over $400 Million worth of case results

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The juvenile justice system has a responsibility to maintain safe and effective juvenile detention facilities. Unfortunately, many young people have become victims of sexual abuse, verbal abuse, and violence under the care of these centers.

Until recently, if you wanted to take civil action due to sexual abuse or sexual assault, you had to file within a certain timeframe known as the statute of limitations. Recent changes have empowered victims who allege sexual abuse as a child as much time as they need to hold the juvenile justice system and those who perpetrated these heinous acts responsible.

In December 2023, two attorneys from Levy Konigsberg filed a lawsuit on behalf of 20 women who suffered from child sexual abuse while living in the juvenile detention facility, Thomas J.S. Waxter Children’s Center for Girls [1]. The center closed in 2022. This is one of many childhood sexual abuse lawsuits against Maryland’s juvenile justice facilities.

According to the lawsuit, past reports of childhood sexual abuse, repeated rape allegations, violent staff members, and a prison-like environment were ignored. This enabled guards, counselors, and other employees to commit child sexual abuse against inmates while they were under the care of the juvenile detention center.

The New Maryland Child Victims Act

The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 effectively eliminated the statute of limitations to file civil lawsuits for child sex abuse cases [2]. Signed into law by Governor Wes Moore, survivors of child sexual abuse can file civil lawsuits at any time. Since it can take decades for children to come to terms that they have been sexually abused, this is an important step in the right direction.

In addition to repealing the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse civil cases, the Maryland Child Victims Act also raised the statutory cap for civil damages and simplified the process of filing a civil lawsuit for child sex abuse cases

Eligibility to File a Civil Lawsuit Against Thomas Waxter Children’s Center

To file a civil lawsuit against Waxter or other juvenile facilities for sexual abuse, victims must:

  • Have encountered unwanted sexual contact, abuse, or assault when they were a minor
  • Have lived or been detained in a facility run by the juvenile justice system where the sexual contact occurred

It is important to clarify that children cannot legally consent to sexual contact. Any time that an adult engages sexually with a child, it is considered sexual abuse.

What Is Considered Sexual Abuse or Sexual Assault?

Generally, sex abuse refers to sex crimes committed against minors. Sexual assault is often used to describe sex crimes against adults. In many cases, these terms are used interchangeably.

The Liability of Juvenile Detention Facility

Detention facilities have an obligation to keep detainees safe from harm, including sexual assault. If the facility does not take appropriate actions to keep kids safe from staff members or other inmates, it can be held liable.

Financial Compensation That Can Be Recovered

While there is no set amount of financial compensation that can be recovered in any civil case, other sex abuse civil cases have recovered hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. During your free case evaluation with a sexual abuse lawyer from our team, we can give you a better idea of what to expect based on our past cases.

There are some factors that can influence how much compensation you could expect to see in a sex abuse case, including:

  • Severity of the abuse: How severe and traumatizing the abuse was can have an impact on the compensation amount, as more severe and violent cases of abuse often see higher payouts.
  • Duration: Cases involving repeated rape over a longer period of time could see higher compensation than cases involving a single incident.
  • Impact: The more impact the sexual abuse had on your life, the higher payout you can anticipate a judge to award.
  • Evidence: The availability of evidence is a key indicator of the size of the settlement. Generally, cases with more evidence command more sizable settlements.
  • Financial damages: If you sustained financial damages, such as needing ongoing therapy or medical treatment for an STD acquired during the sexual abuse, you could expect that amount to be factored into your settlement amount.
  • Pain and suffering: Your lawyer will work to show how your sexual abuse caused your pain and suffering so that this non-economic damage is calculated into your overall settlement amount.

Having strong legal representation on your side can also impact the overall amount of compensation that could be recovered from a sex abuse case.

How a Juvenile Detention Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help

A juvenile detention sexual abuse attorney can help:

  • Educate you about your legal rights under current laws
  • Gather evidence to support your case, including witness testimony
  • File a lawsuit on your behalf to recover compensation
  • Represent you in any mediations or courtroom proceedings

Contact Us to File a Thomas Waxter Detention Center Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Today!

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we understand how much courage it takes to hold your abusers accountable for what they did. We are dedicated to helping our clients recover the maximum compensation they are entitled to under the law.

For a free consultation, fill out our contact form or call us toll-free at (888) 424-5757. Someone from our team is available to confidentially discuss your case with you 24/7.

There is no cost for the consultation. Since we work on a contingency fee basis, there are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs for our help.

A Brief History of the Thomas Waxter Children’s Center

The Thomas Waxter Center opened in 1963 in Laurel, Maryland, as a 42-bed secure detention facility for young women waiting to go to court or a treatment facility [3]. At the time of its opening, it was one of the only facilities used for this purpose.

However, the center had issues for many decades. In a special report from the Maryland Attorney General, the findings indicated that the juvenile detention center frequently had serious staffing shortages [4].

Since then, it continually faced abuse claims and issues with meeting living standards. It was criticized for housing girls convicted of serious crimes with those who only had minor offenses in the same place [5]. Former inmates described it as overcrowded and inadequate. Thomas J.S. Waxter officially closed in January 2022 [6].

Resources: [1] PR Newswire, [2] Maryland General Assembly, [3] Maryland DJS, [4] Maryland Attorney General, [5] The Daily Record, [6] WMAR2

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