For victims of sexual abuse, reporting these instances is often challenging. As such, many instances go unreported, as victims often fear their abuser will get away with the crime and resume harming them. As such, many victims of sexual abuse wish to remain anonymous when filing a lawsuit against their abuser or the institutions that protect them. If you want to hold your abuser responsible but fear retaliation from the public, you’ll want to keep reading. The following blog explores what you must know about filing a sexual abuse lawsuit, and you’ll learn how a Baltimore County sexual abuse lawyer can help you through this extremely difficult time.
When Can a Plaintiff Remain Anonymous?
During most lawsuits, the plaintiff, or the party responsible for filing the claim, will be named. However, in some instances, they are permitted to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym like John or Jane Doe. This is to protect their identity from the general public.
It’s important to understand that defendants have the right to know who their accusers are under the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, filing anonymously would withhold the plaintiff’s name from public and court records.
The courts will consider the following factors when determining if a plaintiff can file anonymously:
- If the lawsuit involves highly sensitive information
- If identification poses a risk of retaliation to the plaintiff or their friends and family
- If there are any additional risks
- If there are any alternative measures that can be taken to protect the confidentiality of the plaintiff
- If the plaintiff’s identity has been kept confidential already
It’s important to note that there are additional factors the courts will consider when ruling on this matter, as each decision is unique to the case presented to the court.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Sexual Abuse Lawsuit in Maryland?
Maryland has removed the statute of limitations for many felony sex crimes. As such, you can report the following crimes any time after they happen:
- First and second-degree rape
- First, second, and third-degree sexual offense
- First and second-degree attempted rape
- First and second-degree attempted sexual offense
Though you can report the crime at any time to hold the abuser criminally responsible, you will only have three years from the date of the abuse, if you are over 18 when it occurs, to file a civil lawsuit against your abuser.
It’s also important to understand that Maryland has recently changed the laws for those who endured childhood sexual abuse. There used to be a statute of limitations barring victims from suing an abuser once they turned 38. However, the Child Victims Act of 2023 has removed the statute of limitations for civil suits presented by those who were abused as children. This goes into effect on October 1, 2023.
If you are a victim of sexual abuse, it’s essential to contact an attorney. Unfortunately, many victims, especially those who were abused as children, assume they are too far past the statute of limitations to hold their abuser responsible. At the Law Offices of Markey & Orsi, we understand this can be an overwhelming, confusing, and frustrating process. As such, we are dedicated to making this go as smoothly as possible for those looking to achieve justice. Contact us today to learn how we can help fight for you.