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No one can ever put into words what a rape victim goes through. This is one of the most traumatic crimes that can be committed against someone in Missouri. If you or someone you love has been raped, we understand how difficult it can be to tell your story. In our experience, however, we have also seen how important and incredibly empowering coming forward can be.
Our dedicated Missouri rape attorneys are here to help you bring a claim against the person and/or institution responsible for the terrible crime that you suffered. We are committed to pursuing justice on behalf of rape survivors throughout the state. Contact us today to start with a free and completely confidential case evaluation with one of our compassionate attorneys.
Hiring a skilled and experienced rape victim attorney can make a world of difference to your case. While you concentrate on healing physically and psychologically from your traumatic experience, you can trust your lawyer to handle the legal legwork of a case for you. This can include identifying the defendant(s), gathering evidence, filing confusing claims paperwork before Missouri’s deadline, going up against the defendant on your behalf, and making you feel safe and heard throughout what would otherwise be a difficult legal process. Your lawyer will be your advocate and guide during each step of your claim.
Rape is the crime of having sexual intercourse with another person by the use of force, when the victim is incapacitated, or when the victim is incapable of consent or lacks the capacity to consent, according to Revised Statutes of Missouri, RSMo Section 566.030. Rape by force or “forcible compulsion” includes the use of a substance administered without a victim’s knowledge that renders him or her physically or mentally impaired, such as a date rape drug. Rape is a felony that could result in life imprisonment in Missouri.
Statutory rape is the crime of having sexual intercourse with someone who is under the legal age of consent. In Missouri, the age of consent is 17 years old. This means any type of sexual contact with a child who is 16 years of age or younger could result in statutory rape charges. Missouri has an exception to this law that is often referred to as a Romeo and Juliet Law: as long as both parties are between the ages of 14 and 21 and the sexual intercourse is consensual, it does not constitute rape. However, if one person turns 21 and the other is below the age of 17, then the conduct becomes criminal.
As a rape survivor in Missouri, you have the right to bring a civil claim or lawsuit against the person or party responsible for the crime committed against you. Unlike a criminal case, a civil lawsuit aims to make you whole again as the injured victim rather than to punish the defendant for breaking the law. You may be able to hold multiple parties liable during a rape lawsuit, including the institution that failed to protect you. Examples include:
An institution could be held liable for a rape case in Missouri if it was negligent in preventing the sex crime. For example, if a school failed to conduct a background check before hiring a new teacher, the school could be held responsible if a student gets sexually assaulted by that teacher. Determining who could be liable for your rape case may require an investigation by an attorney.
Most types of civil lawsuits in Missouri come with strict deadlines or statutes of limitations for filing. For example, most personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of five years in Missouri. However, state courts recognize how difficult it is for survivors of rape and sexual assault crimes to come forward and confront their perpetrators. For this reason, they have enacted different (and longer) statutes of limitations.
Claimants have 10 years from their 18th birthdays to file a childhood sexual abuse case or 3 years from the date of discovery in Missouri. If you were raped as an adult over the age of 18, you have five years from the date of the assault to file under the typical personal injury statute of limitations. Note that there is no statute of limitations for criminal charges (not a civil lawsuit) being brought against a perpetrator if the rape crime involved a victim under 18 years of age.
If you are a survivor of rape or another form of sexual assault in Missouri, help is available. Here are the steps that you should take to protect yourself legally, physically and mentally as a rape victim:
Contact the rape victim attorneys at DRZ Law for help by filling out our secure online form or calling (913) 214-8606 to request a free case consultation. We care about our clients and can guide you carefully through the claims process. We will keep your identity anonymous, if desired, as we fight for justice.
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