Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala PLLC (PCVA) partner Darrell Cochran recently penned an article for Prison Legal News about how childhood sexual abuse often goes unspoken for years, including among those who are currently incarcerated. The article, which is titled “Child Sexual Abuse: It’s Never Too Late to Speak Out,” encourages those who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a caretaker to take action through the courts.
In the article, Darrell details known childhood risk factors that increase the likelihood of future criminal activity. These risk factors include being subjected to sexual abuse as a child by a parent or caretaker as well as involvement with the foster care system. As Darrell writes, too often victims of childhood sexual abuse never speak out, harboring the effects of the abuse for the rest of their lives.
However, just because an incident occurred 20 or more years ago doesn’t mean there isn’t a path to justice. Darrell illustrates this in his article by sharing the story of Kiwanis Vocational Home (KVH), a facility that was supposed to be a safe space for boys who had already suffered trauma within their own homes but turned out to be a breeding ground for emotional, sexual and physical abuse.
Despite numerous reports to the state of Washington regarding the abuse at KVH, the facility maintained its license and increased the number of boys in its care. Meanwhile, the boys at the facility were living in squalor while KVH management diverted funds for personal gain.
Eventually, the attorneys at PCVA helped more than 70 victims of KVH secure over $30 million in settlements. While the settlement money does not take away the pain inflicted upon these survivors, it hopefully moves them closer to healing.