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Counterintuitive Behaviors in Trauma Survivors

Posted on September 23rd, 2022

Behavior of a victim during or following an assault oftentimes appears unexpected to outside observers. Rather than reacting in the way that many people would presume someone would, victims commonly exhibit superficial behavior that seems counterintuitive. This is especially true when someone is the victim of a sexual assault, the way they appear can seem to many to not fit with their concept of having suffered such a dramatic event. In a sort of paradox, the perception of the way someone reacts to a traumatic event and general expectations of survivor behavior can vary widely depending on the context of the situation. For example, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, Bostonians went back to work and the injured moved forward with their lives as soon as they could manage. The Boston Strong movement rose up and city went back to normal operations. Surviving an Assault In stack contrast, when the survivor of a sexual assault tries to go back to normal life, the general view is that it simply didn’t happen. Counterintuitive behavior victims exhibit during or following a sexual assault, include: Not resisting or fighting back the attack Not calling for help when…

New Laws Passed Eliminating the Statue of Limitations for Sexual Assault Survivors

Posted on September 21st, 2022

On Friday, September 16, 2022, President Biden signed a bill that will eliminate the statute of limitations to file civil claims for those who were sexually abused as minors. Titled, The Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, the bill was passed by the United States House of Representatives by a voice vote on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, after passing the US Senate by unanimous consent in March. The bill eliminates any kind of time constraints for survivors to file civil claims related to sex abuse crimes against minors including sexual abuse, sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of children, and forced labor. Before the passing of the bill, minors who survived sexual abuse were able to file federal claims until a decade after the violation or injury was discovered or until they reached the age of 28. California AB-2777 Similar to the The Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed California Assembly Bill (AB) 2777 into law on Monday, September 19, 2022. Known as The Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, this new law extends the statute of limitations for anyone who was sexually assaulted on or after their…

Attorneys for survivors of high school referee Darwin Tengco

Posted on September 12th, 2022

The Mercury News reports that a high school referee has been criminally charged with having sex with an underage student from Independence High School in San Jose earlier this year. The crime allegedly occurred when referee Darwin Tengco was visiting the campus to officiate boys’ volleyball matches. According to police, a female student reported in August that a boy’s volleyball referee had sexually assaulted her after school in April. Tengco was later identified during an investigation by the San Jose Police Department Child Exploitation Detail. He was subsequently charged with one felony count of sexual penetration of a person under the age of 18. Tengco was booked at the Santa Clara County jail on September 1, and was later released after posting bail. According to the East Side Union High School District, they are fully cooperating with the investigation. Tengco works for a private referee service and is not an employee of the district. While Tengco has been charged and is awaiting trial, the investigation into his crimes is ongoing. Due to the nature of the allegations, his position of authority, and access to students, San Jose Police believe there is a possibility that there could be other unreported victims…

Attorneys for survivors of STARS Prep Academy Coach Chris “Coach Frogg” Flores

Posted on August 17th, 2022

CBS Los Angeles reports that former coach at STARS Prep Academy in Orange, Christopher M. Flores has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two teenage girls. Flores, also known as “Coach Frogg”, is accused of having sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl in Santa Ana and a 15-year-old girl in Riverside according to Santa Ana police. Charges include four counts of lewd acts on a child age 14 or 15 and two counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object with a victim younger than 16. All charges brought against Flores are felonies and he faces a maximum sentence of six years and four months in state prison if convicted. The 14-year-old girl was part of the STARS Prep Academy and Flores is accused of having sexual relations with her throughout 2021. The alleged crimes occurred at various locations in Santa Ana, including a camp at Calvary High School, and a location in Anaheim. Officials at STARS Prep Academy have stated that they have severed ties with Flores after learning about the allegations. While Flores is currently being held on $500,000 bail at the Orange Count Jail, the full scope of his abuse is not yet known. Authorities believe…

Attorneys for survivors of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Essex

Posted on August 12th, 2022

CBS Los Angeles has reported that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Essex has been charged with over 30 counts of sex crimes involving children. Essex was indicted on Tuesday August 9, 2022 by a grand jury on a total of 33 counts including 18 counts of oral sex acts with a child, 12 counts of of lewd acts on a child younger than 14 years old, two counts of sexual acts with a child younger than 14, and one count of possession of child pornography. Included in the charges are those from a 2006 case that was previously declined by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. Essex pleaded not guilty and if convicted could face life in prison. The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department fired Essex following a criminal and internal investigation in 2018. The termination was overturned by the Civil Service Commission according to the LASD, which ordered the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to reinstate Essex. Essex has again been relieved of duty, and according to department officials, the LASD is working to remove his pay. If you or a loved one is a survivor of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Sean Essex, the team of compassionate attorneys at…

Attorneys for survivors of Summit Middle School Teacher Leonard Alan Grams

Posted on August 10th, 2022

An article published by the Summit Daily News reports that Summit Middle School physical education teacher Leonard Alan Grams has been arrested on multiple felony counts of sexual assault of a child. A Summit County resident since 1997, Grams was a project initiative teacher and taught physical education at Summit Middle School. According to Clear Creek County Judge Cynthia Jones, Grams faces five counts of sex assault on a child and three counts of sex assault on a child by a person in position of trust. Grams could face a sentence of life in prison if convicted of all charges. According to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the Summit County School District received seven reports of alleged sexual misconduct by Grams between September 30, 2021 and October 24, 2021. Female students at Summit Middle School claimed that Grams had inappropriately engaged in unlawful sexual contact with the victims during class activities. These allegations led to an initial investigation by school district officials. The investigation resulted in school district officials identifying Grams as the teach in question and information was sent to the Sheriff’s Office on October 27, 2021. Upon receiving the report by the school district, the Summit County Sheriff’s…

Attorneys for survivors of Mormon Church sexual abuse

Posted on August 5th, 2022

A recent article published by the Associated Press reports on how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its policy towards sexual abuse within the church does little to stop abuse and protect victims. Rather than helping those in need, this policy has lead to a system that is misused by church leaders in order to prevent the truth from being exposed. The article reveals that rather than report abuse accusations to law enforcement, the Mormon church keeps accusations within a closed loop system in order to protect the church’s reputation and to shield the church from potentially expensive lawsuits. An integral part of the Mormon church’s policy includes a help line that refers any reports of abuse that may be a risk to the church to a Salt Lake City law firm. According to a Bishop quoted in the article, when he followed church policy and reported that a member of his ward was sexually assaulting his 5-year-old daughter he called the abuse to the help line. The attorneys on the line informed the Bishop that the church is exempt from reporting child abuse because of Utah law, due to what they specifically refer to as clergy-penitent privilege….

Attorneys for survivors of Marshall gynecologist Dr. Mark Walker

Posted on August 3rd, 2022

The Battle Creek Enquirer recently published an article reporting that Dr. Mark Walker, a Marshall gynecologist, is facing new charges of sexually assault while already awaiting trial on charges that he assaulted a teenager. The three women in the new case say the physician sexually assaulted them more than eight years ago while they were his patients. Arraigned in Calhoun County District Court, Walker is now facing an additional three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count of indecent exposure. Walker was first charged in 2019 after being accused of assaulting a teenager in 2011, and his medical license was suspended following these initial charges. In that case, the victim said she was a high school student who was spending time at Mansion Street Women’s Health as a job shadow when  Walker groped her. The three women accusing Walker say that he assaulted them while they were patients at Mansion Street Women’s Health at Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall. They include a 49-year-old woman who said she was assaulted by Walker when she was 38, a 46-year-old woman who said she was assaulted when she was 26, and a 28-year-old woman who alleges she…

Attorneys for survivors of Walworth County bus driver Matthew Gribben

Posted on July 19th, 2022

WISN – ABC in Milwaukee recently reported a story about Matthew Gribben, a bus driver in Walworth County, who is accused of sexually assaulting young school girls who rode his bus. Gribben has been charged with four counts of first degree child sexual assault and two counts of exposing a child to harmful material. The victims of Matthew Gribben range in age from 8 to 11 years old. According to the city of Delavan Police Department, Gribben drove for Dousman Transport Company, which is contracted with the Delavan Darien School District. Gibbons admitted to engaging in in appropriate behavior with children according to a criminal complaint. He allegedly told investigators that when he transported the children, he would occasionally touch some of the female students on their back sides. He is also alleged to have shown pornography to two students. While Gribben specifically remembered targeting the five victims leading to the charges, he also admitted to touching other girls on the bus, but he could not remember their names. The complaint also says that during another incident, Gribben sexually assaulted a 10 year old girl as she slept at his house. The incidents occurred between 2019 and 2022. A judge set Gribbin’s bond…

Attorneys for Survivors of Morris High School Teacher Dallas Ewton

Posted on July 15th, 2022

A recent story by KOTV 6 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reports that former Morris High School teacher, Dallas Tyler Ewton, has plead guilty to three federal sex crime charges stemming from the assault of two of his students. The investigation into Ewton began in 2021 after a student reached out to the FBI. Subsequently, since the launch of the investigation an additional 13 students have come forward with allegations of abuse by Ewton. Ewton admitted that he sexually harassed and sexually assaulted a former student stating when she was in 6th grade. At the time the abuse began, the girl was only 11. According to federal agents, the victim says Ewton forced her to perform sexual acts on him, raped her, and forced her to expose herself to him until she was 15. The victim said that the incidents occurred in class, after class, during tutoring sessions, and during school programs. The affidavit alleges that these incidents happened every day unless Ewton was not at school. To add insult to injury, the document reveals that Ewton threatened the victim’s life and the lives of her family if she were to tell anyone about his abuse. The second student involved in the investigation…

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