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Sexual Assault and Abuse

Experiencing any form of sexual assault or abuse, particularly in locations or situations where you should feel safe, can have long-term effects on your mental and physical well-being. Whether you experienced sexual assault, abuse, molestation, rape, or mistreatment in a hospital, parking garage, ride share, or school, it’s a devastating, traumatic event that no one should have to go through. Many victims will suffer in silence for years because of fears of being judged or somehow blamed for the event or having no one believe them and the abuser go free.

At the Simon Law Firm, P.C., we have a team of compassionate, understanding sexual assault attorneys who are ready to stand beside you and fight for you to bring the abusers, their enablers, and company or location management to justice.

Experienced Legal Representation to Hold Sexual Abusers Accountable

Our lawyers for victims of sexual assault are there to assist you in navigating these complex cases, including those involving:

  • Sexual Assault
  • Rape
  • Child Sexual Abuse

Many business locations and public areas have a responsibility to create a secure environment, and if they have failed, resulting in a sexual assault, it could be classified as a negligent security injury. If the assault, abuse, or rape occurred in a facility like a hospital, parking garage, Uber, school, or other location you should reasonably be able to feel safe, we will work to gather all the necessary evidence to prove your case and win the settlement you deserve to help you take your life back.

Sexual Assault Lawsuit Results and Resources

What to Know About Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a broad topic that can include a wide array of unwanted actions from others. When pursuing a case in Missouri, it’s important to understand the specific criminal sexual misconduct laws, including unlawful conduct laws regarding victim’s age and an abuser’s position as it will help in supporting your case.

What is Sexual Assault and Abuse?

Sexual assault refers to any kind of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the victim’s explicit consent. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual assault can include:

  • Attempted rape
  • Unwanted fondling or sexual touching
  • Forced performance of sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetration of the abuser’s body
  • Rape, or penetration of the victim’s body

Here are some more precise definitions of different forms of sexual assault and abuse as described by Missouri law:

Sexual Abuse:
  • First-Degree Sexual Abuse: A perpetrator may be found guilty of first-degree sexual abuse if they subject another individual to sexual contact when the victim is “incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of forcible compulsion.”
  • Second-Degree Sexual Abuse: A perpetrator may be found guilty of second-degree sexual abuse if they purposely subject the victim to sexual contact without explicit consent.
Sexual Misconduct:
  • First-Degree Sexual Misconduct: A perpetrator could be guilty of sexual misconduct in the first degree if they:
    • Expose their genitals under circumstances knowing their conduct is likely to cause deliberate disrespect or alarm
    • Has sexual contact in the presence of others, knowing the conduct will likely cause deliberate disrespect or alarm
    • Has sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse in a public place in the presence of others
  • Second-Degree Sexual Misconduct: A perpetrator may be guilty of sexual misconduct in the second degree if they solicit or request sexual conduct from another individual, knowing it will likely cause deliberate disrespect or alarm.
  • First-Degree Sodomy: Sodomy in the first degree occurs when a perpetrator has “deviate sexual intercourse with an individual is incapacitated, incapable of consent or lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of forcible compulsion.” First-degree statutory sodomy involves deviate sexual intercourse with an individual less than 14 years old.
  • Second-Degree Sodomy: Sodomy in the second degree occurs when a perpetrator has “deviate sexual intercourse with another person knowing that he or she does so without that person’s consent.” Second-degree statutory sodomy requires the perpetrator be 21 years of age or older having deviate sexual intercourse with an individual less than 17 years old.
Child Molestation:
  • First-Degree Child Molestation: Child molestation in the first degree occurs when a perpetrator “subjects another person who is less than 14 to sexual contact and the offense is an aggravated sexual offense.”
  • Second-Degree Child Molestation: Child molestation in the second degree occurs when a perpetrator “subjects a child who is less than 12 years of age to sexual contact,” or if the perpetrator is “more than 4 years older than a child who is less than 17 years of age, subjects the child to sexual contact and the offense is an aggravated sexual offense.”
Sexual Misconduct with a Child:

An individual could be found guilty of sexual misconduct involving a child in various situations. These actions could be done in-person, on the internet, or through other electronic means. Sexual misconduct involving a child could include the following actions knowingly taken by a perpetrator:

  • Exposing their genitals to a child under 15 years of age under circumstances in which they are aware that the conduct will cause deliberate disrespect or alarm to the child.
  • Exposing their genitals to a child under the age of 15 to purposely arouse or gratify the sexual desire of anyone, including the child.
  • Coercing or encouraging a child under the age of 15 to expose the child’s genitals to purposely arouse or gratify the sexual desire of anyone, including the child.
  • Coercing or encouraging a child the perpetrator knows is under the age of 15 to expose the female child’s breasts over the internet or other electronic means to purposely arouse or gratify the sexual desire of anyone, including the child.

While rape is a form of sexual assault, not every sexual assault is classified as rape. Legally, rape is most often defined as sexual penetration without consent. There are varying degrees of rape, and the specific charges will depend on factors such as the victim’s age and the circumstances surrounding the rape.

  • First-Degree Rape: Rape in the first degree is defined as “sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of consent or lacks the capacity to consent or by the use of forcible compulsion.” If the victim is under the age of 14, the rape is classified as first-degree statutory rape.
  • Second-Degree Rape: Rape in the second degree occurs if a person has sexual intercourse with another individual knowing he or she is doing so without consent. If the perpetrator is 21 years or older and the victim is less than 17 years of age, it can be classified as second-degree statutory rape.
Sexual Contact with a Student:

The crime of sexual contact with a student is committed if the sexual contact is done by:

  • A teacher at the student’s school
  • A student teacher at the student’s school
  • An employee of the student’s school
  • A volunteer at the student’s school, or someone working with an organization assisting the school with a program or project
  • A school district elected or appointed official of the student’s school
  • A contracted individual working to provide services to the student’s school or school district

What is a Negligent Security Injury and Where Does it Occur?

Negligent security injuries occur if you or a loved one is severely injured or killed because of the property owner’s inadequate security measures. These inadequate measures can result in various violent acts, including sexual assault, abuse, and rape. The property owner may not be held liable in certain unexpected acts, but the presence of unsafe conditions can result in punishment. These dangerous conditions that could result in a sexual assault include:

  • Broken or defective doors, locks, fences, or gates
  • Failure to properly assess employees, including security officers, or visitors
  • Failure to remove intoxicated or violent customers, visitors, or guests
  • Improperly secured exits and entrances
  • Inadequate crowd-control
  • Unusable emergency call boxes
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Lack of security cameras
  • No security guards or improperly trained guards

Many commercial properties and businesses could be held liable for negligent security, including:

  • Amusement parks
  • Apartment complexes or condos
  • Banks and ATM kiosks
  • Bars and clubs
  • Public transportation locations
  • Child care facilities
  • Churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions
  • Gas stations
  • Gyms and sports facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Hotels and motels
  • Movie theaters
  • Office buildings
  • Airports
  • Parking garages
  • Property parking lots
  • Restaurants
  • Higher education campuses (colleges, universities)
  • Schools
  • Shopping centers
  • Retail stores

Common Sexual Assault and Abuse Cases

Unfortunately, the perpetrators of sexual assault and abuse are usually individuals who are familiar to the victim, such as classmates, neighbors, friends, coaches, doctors, or even an intimate partner. Sexual assault by a complete stranger may also occur. These assaults may come from someone in a public place with no prior contact, coercion by a perpetrator to gain the trust of a victim prior to an assault, or from an individual breaking into a victim’s home.

Here are some of the most common situations occurring in sexual assault and abuse cases:

Sports Teams and Coaches

From organized youth sports to professional teams, athletes are exposed to a large number of individuals acting as volunteer coaches, sports pros, physical therapists, and more. These individuals are trusted by their athletes to help them grow their skills in a particular sport, but unfortunately, some coaches violate this trust by sexually abusing an athlete. Because of the perceived position of power coaches have, athletes may be hesitant to come forward in fear of jeopardizing a promising athletic career or of the judgement of others.

In these cases, a sexual abuse attorney can help hold the individual accountable for their actions and ensure they are unable to continue working with other athletes. Additionally, any school, athletic program, or team management that failed to provide adequate oversight that could have prevented the incident or worked to shield the coach from an investigation must be held accountable.

Some signs that indicate possible sexual abuse is happening to an athlete include:

  • Regularly missing practices
  • Frequent illness
  • Loss of interest in the sport
  • Withdrawal from usual activities
  • Significantly diminished athletic performance
  • Increased isolation
  • Fear of being alone
  • Bouts of aggression and/or impulsiveness
  • New substance abuse
  • Symptoms of depression and PTSD
  • Development of personality disorders, anxiety disorders, or psychosis

Depending on the athlete’s age, it may be best to seek out help from a child sex abuse lawyer who offers experience in these cases to bring justice for the victims and ensure these coaches or involved individuals cannot harm other youth athletes.


Hospitals should be safe places where anyone can receive medical help without threats of violence or fear of judgment. Being placed in the care of others also leaves patients vulnerable, especially if they are incapacitated due to medications or physical limitations, and they are often accessible to doctors, nurses, therapists, and even maintenance staff. Unfortunately, some hospital employees can see vulnerable patients as an opportunity to take advantage of them and engage in sexual violence, misconduct or abuse.

In addition to the perpetrator being held responsible for the sexual abuse or assault, the hospital can also share the responsibility, especially if it is apparent the hospital did not do an adequate job of protecting and caring for patients within their facility. Experienced lawyers for victims of assault can help obtain justice for victims in hospital sexual abuse cases as these cases are often complex, and hospitals often work with their own robust legal teams that can be intimidating to go against.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are excellent resources for aging individuals and their families, designed to offer a safe living environment, health care, and support. Much like hospitals, this vulnerable population is put in the care of other individuals and, unfortunately, these caregivers may violate the trust placed in them by participating in elder sexual abuse. According to, 70% of reported elder sexual abuse occurs in nursing homes, but only 30% of the victims report these incidents to the authorities.

The perpetrators are most often the assigned caregiver of the individual, and will target the victim as they perceive them as being a vulnerable, easy target. Elderly women are more likely to experience sexual abuse than elderly men, but their age and mental acuity also put them more at risk. Some of the most vulnerable individuals who experience sexual abuse include those suffering from dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory impairment because abusers believe no one will believe their complaints, allowing them to continue the abuse without repercussions.

Since most of these abuse cases occur in nursing homes, these facilities may also be held responsible for the sexual abuse if it’s determined they did not provide adequate protection for residents. It’s important to consult with experienced St. Louis nursing home abuse attorneys to determine the best course of action to fight for you, your loved one, and the other residents of the home.


Hotels offer a safe haven when traveling or requiring a short-term residence place. However, many individuals are coming and going from hotels on a regular basis, and this can increase the risk of sexual assault or abuse of hotel patrons. Mistakes and unacceptable behavior of hotel staff can put place guests at unnecessary risk, such as the front desk giving a room key to an individual without verifying their identity or checking if the guest is expecting a visitor.

Every hotel has a responsibility to protect guests, but their negligence can put a guest at risk, including giving strangers a room key, ignoring complaints about loiterers, failing to maintain locks and gates around the property, or refusing to notify the police when a crime is reported. Not only can hotels be held responsible for these oversights, but they can also be found liable for an assault by a hotel employee. Additionally, hotels have a responsibility to protect their employees from sexual assault and abuse by guests.

Sexual assaults and abuse cases can be prevented or reduced in hotels if they implement the following security measures:

  • Installing security cameras
  • Training all staff in how to properly issue additional room cards
  • Checking and verifying the identity of all guests and visitors at arrival
  • Calling guests if an unrecognized visitor requests to see or speak with them
  • Installing chain or manual locks that are usable by guests upon entering the room
  • Keeping lights in and around the property on and maintained
  • Hiring security guards, particularly if the hotel is in a high-crime area
  • Performing a background check on all employees

Most hotels are owned by large corporations, so attempting to fight against them can feel like an impossible task. It’s important to work with an experienced sexual assault attorney who isn’t afraid to take on the big companies to protect the victims and others who may be at risk in the future.

Clergy and Religious Institutions

Many people rely on religious institutions and leaders for spiritual guidance throughout their lives, so when an individual with religious authority uses their role or position of power to intentionally sexually harass, exploit, or engage in activities with a victim, it can be a confusing and traumatic experience. This sexual assault or abuse can come in the form of sexualized conversations, requesting or sending unwanted sexual images, pushing for sexual acts, creating pressure or hostility when boundaries are set, invading personal space, unwanted touching, kissing, oral sex, masturbation, intercourse, and rape.

Filing a claim against a religious institution can often be a difficult task. However, it’s crucial to step forward to take back your own life and stand up to the perpetrators. Victims of clergy abuse are able to file lawsuits against the perpetrator and the religious institution, making it essential to work with an experienced sexual abuse attorney.

A Difficult Recovery: Emotional and Physical Effects of Sexual Assault

If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault or abuse, it’s important to seek the compensation you deserve because the event can have lasting emotional and physical effects that hinder day-to-day life. Some of the effects victims of sexual assault and abuse may experience include:

  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Self-harm behaviors
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Substance abuse
  • Dissociation
  • Panic attacks
  • Eating disorders
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleep disorders
  • Suicide or suicidal thoughts

These effects are difficult to deal with, but the right help and support can ensure they are managed. Getting adequate help after sexual violence can be expensive, and no victim should be put into financial hardship just to make daily life manageable. Seeking the right legal representation will help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve to move forward in a healthy way.

Resources for Sexual Assault Victims in St. Louis

For victims of sexual assault or abuse in the St. Louis area, there are several resources available to help, whether you have emotional concerns, physical concerns, or both.

Available Helplines and Hotlines:

  • Safe Connections Crisis Helpline | (314) 531-2003
  • St. Louis Regional Sexual Assault Hotline | (314) 531-7273
  • Life Crisis-Suicide/Crisis Hotline | (314) 647-4357
  • Kids Under Twenty One (KUTO) | (314) 644-5886
  • Elder Abuse Hotline | (800) 392-0210
  • Child Abuse Hotline | (800) 392-3738
  • Domestic Violence and Rape Hotline | (800) 392-0210
  • National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline | 1 (866) 331-9474
  • United Way of Greater St. Louis Information Line | 211
  • National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline | 1 (888) 373-7888

Local, St. Louis Region Advocacy Services:

  • ALIVE | (314) 993-7080 | Therapy services for women, children, and men, as well as court advocacy
  • AWARE | (314) 362-9273 | Hospital and court advocacy
  • Bridgeway Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Services | 1 (877) 946-6854 | Advocacy for women and hospital advocacy
  • Kathy J. Weinman Shelter for Battered Women and Their Children | (314) 423-1117 | Shelter services
  • The L.E.A.D. Institute | (573) 445-5005 | Court advocacy, hospital advocacy and therapy with ASL fluency for the deaf community
  • Life Source Consultants | (314) 524-0686 | Court advocacy and spiritual counseling
  • Lydia’s House | (314) 771-4411 | Transitional housing, court advocacy, and adult education services
  • Redevelopment Opportunities for Women (ROW) | 314-588-8300 | Economic education and advocacy and adult education
  • St. Martha’s Hall | (314) 533-1313 | Shelter services and court advocacy
  • South Asian Women’s Empowerment Regional Association | 314-435-3722 | Motel placement, court advocacy, and support groups
  • Woman’s Place | (314) 645-4848 | Drop-in center, court advocacy, and support groups
  • The Women’s Safe House | (314) 772-4535 | Shelter services and court advocacy
  • YWCA St. Louis Regional Sexual Assault Center | (314) 726-6665 | Therapy for women and men as well as hospital and court advocacy

Helpful Websites:

Filing a Sexual Assault Lawsuit in Missouri

The Missouri law states that anyone who has been a victim of sexual abuse or assault has the right to file a civil lawsuit to potentially receive financial compensation. Victims may also choose to press criminal charges against the abuser. Even if the abuser has never been criminally charged or convicted, or a police report was never made, a victim may still file a civil lawsuit. The burden of proof in a sexual battery civil case is lower than filing a criminal case, making it easier for the plaintiff to prove abuse or assault occurred in a civil case. Of course, whatever solid evidence a victim may have to substantiate the claim will make for a much stronger case against the abuser.

Receiving compensation from a sexual abuse lawsuit is more likely to happen if there is a viable case against a larger organization, such as a school, church or business. These third parties may be held liable in Missouri if the victim is able to show the third party was negligent in preventing the abuse or protecting the victim.

Missouri Statute of Limitations for Sexual Assault

In Missouri, the statute of limitations will vary based on the age of the victim when the abuse occurred. If the sexual abuse occurred when the victim was considered a minor, or under the age of 18, they legally have until they reach their 31st birthday (or 10 years after their 21st birthday) to file a civil lawsuit against the abuser. There is also a “delayed discovery” exception that applies to child sex abuse cases stating that any childhood sexual abuse victim has three years from when they discover they have a physical or psychological injury caused by the abuse to file a claim.

Sexual Assault Statistics in St. Louis

  • According to RAINN, each year in the U.S.:
    • 60,000 children were victims of “substantiated or indicated” sexual abuse
    • 433,648 Americans age 12 years and older were sexually assaulted or raped
    • 18,900 individuals in the military experienced unwanted sexual contact
    • 80,600 inmates were sexually assaulted or raped
  • Based on crime statistics in St. Louis, in 2020:
    • There were 78.4 rapes per 100,000 people
    • 1,434 assaults per 100,000 people occurred

Get the Help You Need from Our St. Louis Sexual Assault Lawyers

The Simon Law Firm, P.C. has the resources and expertise to handle your sexual assault case without sacrificing the personalized counsel and support you deserve. Complete and submit the contact form below, call our office, or reach out directly to one of our sexual assault attorneys today.

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