Tort Suits Filed by Rape and Sexual Assault Victims in Civil Courts: Lessons for Courts, Classrooms and Constituencies
71 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2006
Date Written: February 2006
This article examines the hundreds of recent appellate court decisions in tort cases filed by rape and sexual assault victims. Looking at the cases themselves, the article documents and discusses the growth and change in the cases over the last thirty years even absent a formal change in the definition of the applicable torts. The article then explores the question - should tort actions by victims be seen as a direct alternative to an inadequate criminal process? The analysis reveals potential advantages for victims inherent in tort litigation, as well as problems for victims in this disjointed and developing area of law. Finally, the article examines cases filed against third-party defendants like business owners and employers and identifies important and contested issues that are ripe for examination by courts, legislatures and scholars.
Keywords: rape, sexual assault, tort
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