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abuseSexual assault is a personal and often private crime. It is something that people do not like to talk about. A brave few come forward to not only name their attackers but to lend support to other survivors. There is no shame in being sexually assaulted. It is a crime of power that often has no base in sexual desire.

According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 1 out of every 6 women in the United States is a survivor of rape or attempted rape. Translated to larger numbers: 17.7 million women in this country have been victimized. But is it always women who are attacked? Absolutely not.

Approximately 1 in every 33 men in the country have been the victim of rape or attempted rape. Over a 15 year time period, 9 percent of all rape victims were men. In fact, 2.78 million men in America are survivors of rape or sexual assault.

Children are also victimized at a startling rate. Children comprise 15 percent of all victims of rape. More specifically, children under 12 comprise 15 percent of all victims. 44 percent of child victims were under the age of 18. Females aged 16 through 19 are four times as likely as anyone else to be the victim of attempted rape, rape or sexual assault.

Boys are victimized as well. 8 percent of male children in grades 5 through 12 said that they had been sexually abused. Sadly, the age at which a male child is most likely to fall victim to a sexual predator is 4. A female’s greatest risk falls at the age of 14. According to statistics, child protective service agencies respond to reports of child sexual abuse every eight minutes. Of those children who were victimized, only 7 percent were assaulted by a complete stranger.

Female college students also need to be aware. Women enrolled in college are said to be three times more likely than other women to fall victim to sexual violence. Only 20 percent of the college women victimized report the crime to police.

Sexual assault knows no boundaries. It is a crime that does not discriminate based upon gender, age or race. Anyone can fall victim to this very personal crime.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse in North Carolina, you have rights. Reach out to our team of attorneys today and let us assist you. Your first consultation is free. Call now.

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14471106513_7af0534abd_zCHARLOTTE, N.C. – When you go to the doctor, you do so because you need medical assistance. You visit a doctor when you are ill or injured, and you expect to be treated with dignity and respect.

Unfortunately, for 31 patients of Dr. Fidelis Edosomwan, that is not how a trip to the doctor ended.

Edosomwan has been charged with 16 counts of sexual battery and 16 counts of sex offense on behalf of 31 victims who have come forward. The doctor was arrested in January after two patients accused the doctor of inappropriately touching them during what should have been routine examinations.

Captain Cecil Brisbon of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Major Crimes Division told reporters, “You’ve got somebody who is entrusted with conducting these types of medical examinations who violated that trust by doing some inappropriate activity.”

Although Edosomwan has denied the allegations, he agreed to suspend practicing medicine.

Not only have 31 victims come forward, but police have identified eight other victims. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations has expired for those incidents. Police reported in a statement that they are still investigating.

Choose a Doctor with Care

Your health is important to you, but your safety comes first. Before you pick a doctor, it is recommended that you vet them properly. Many people do not realize that they can run a sort of background check on the physicians they are considering for their healthcare.

Before you make up your mind about a doctor, check out your state’s medical board web site. You can search to be sure that your doctor is licensed to practice in your state. Different states allow the public to view different information. In many cases, you can also discover if the doctor has had any disciplinary actions taken against them or malpractice lawsuits filed.

If the information is not readily available on the website, call the medical board directly. Many will give you the information over the phone.

Keep in mind that the records are only available after settlements have been made. You will not be privy to current investigations or allegations. Healthgrades.com is another site that you can utilize to research any doctor that you are considering.

While researching their physician would not have helped the victims in this case, you can protect yourself to the best of your ability by doing so.

If you have been the victim of abuse or malpractice at the hands of a physician, you need a compassionate attorney on your side. We can represent you in court and help you through the process of receiving the compensation you deserve. Call now.

BallCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte police are taking a close look at the YMCA after a boy reported that he was sexually assaulted within the walls of the facility.

It was in the SouthPark YMCA that the 10-year-old child says he was sexually fondled. Police are not releasing details of the assault, nor are they giving the public a description of the subject.

Officials at the YMCA of Greater Charlotte are cooperating fully with police, having reported the incident after parents alerted the officials to the incident.

Teach Safety First

It is not unusual for parents to give pre-teens and teens a certain level of independence. They are, after all, growing into young adults who will need to make decisions for themselves. Part of that decision-making process must include keeping themselves safe from predators.

Teach your children:

1. The Buddy System
The buddy system is as useful outside of the pool as it is in. Teach your children to always stay with a friend. A predator is far less likely to victimize a group of children rather than one who is on his own.

2. To Trust Intuition
Even young children know when something isn’t right. Children may not know how to put the feeling into words, but they know when something is amiss. Teach your children to trust that feeling in their gut.

3. To Trust Adults in Authority
Teach your children to trust police, firefighters, teachers, and other adults in positions of authority. The more your child trusts these people, the more likely they will be to tell them of any abuse or attempted abuse. When your child is fearful of these people, he may keep stories of abuse to himself.

4. Not to Explore Strange Places
Children love to explore. It is second nature to them. Teach your children to stick to main hallways, lit walkways and places that are inhabited by people. Let your children know that if an area is not well lit or seems deserted or closed to the public to pass it by and look for an alternative.

If your child has been the victim of abuse, you need an experienced attorney. We can fight for your child’s rights and get your family the compensation you deserve. Our vast network of professionals includes therapists who can help your child heal. Let us help you help your child. Contact us today for a free consultation. We do not get paid until you do.

school bussesIREDELL COUNTY, N.C. – Millions of parents across the county send their children to school every day. Parents do this assuming that teachers will keep their children safe. This is not always how the story plays out.

A teacher at South Iredell High School resigned her position, effective last Friday, after being arrested and charged with sexual activity with a student by a teacher and a single felony count of taking indecent liberties with a student.

Julianna Ortiz Mills, 37, was witnessed by a deputy to be with a male student in a car in an undeveloped residential area. The student, over the age of 16, is a pupil at South Iredell High School.

Even though the student is over the age of 16, it is still illegal for a teacher, or other school personnel, to have sexual relationships with the students in their care. The age of the student is not a factor.

According to reports, the witnessed act was not the first time the teacher and student had inappropriate contact. All incidents occurred in Iredell County, but none were on school property.

Mills, hired by the school district at the start of the 2013-2014 school year as an English teacher, was arrested and given a $10,000 secured bond. The school district is cooperating with the police investigation.

Teenagers Can Be Abused

Although most people think of small children being victimized when they hear talk of child abuse, it is important to remember that teenagers can be abused. When teenagers are involved in sexual relationships with adults, teachers or otherwise, it is a form of sexual abuse.

The teenage brain is not fully developed. Teenagers do not possess the ability to make rational decisions in the face of heightened emotions or stress. It is the responsibility of adults in authority to guide and shape teenagers. When a teacher pursues a sexual relationship with a teenager, there is little doubt that it can be considered abuse.

If you or someone you know has been or is the victim of child abuse, it is important that you understand your rights as they are provided in North Carolina. The experienced sexual abuse attorneys at Auger & Auger are here for you. We offer a confidential, free consultation, during which we will discuss your case.

Our compassionate staff is here for you. Call us today so that we can begin working on your case immediately.

Ambulance in MotionASHEVILLE, N.C. – When you phone 911 for help, you expect to get it. What you do not expect is to be assaulted by the first responder that is there to assist you. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened to a 20-year-old woman in Asheville.

According to reports, the incident occurred on August 10, 2014.

On said date, the woman was seen at the emergency department of the main Mission campus. The medical condition was not disclosed. Several hours later, the woman was transported by ambulance to St. Joseph campus. Transporting paramedics were a female driver and the accused, Tou Vang Lee, 43.

In a police statement filed by the victim, Lee is reported to have asked the victim if she had any pain. He proceeded to press on her sternum and chest. Lee then began to touch other parts of her body, including her knee, vagina, and left breast. Lee covered the victim with a blanket, reaching under same to squeeze her breast.

The victim reported the occurrence to hospital staff the same day.

This report against Lee is not the first of its kind. In 2012, another woman filed a similar complaint, alleging that she was touched by Lee while being transported in an ambulance from Mission to a Wake Forest hospital. No charges were filed in that case.

During a police investigation, detectives note that Lee changed his story frequently. Detectives also note that the female driver stated that palpating a patient currently under doctor’s care would be unusual.

The investigation has resulted in Lee being charged with sexual battery, a misdemeanor. Lee will be seen in Buncombe County District Court on February 4, 2015.

Sexual Abuse and Your Rights

Sexual abuse can take on many faces. Any sexual contact that is unwanted may be deemed to be abuse or battery. You have the right to expect dedicated, professional service from first responders, medical personnel, and others. If you feel that you have been abused, we at Auger & Auger are here for you.

We know that coming forward can be difficult. We want to be very clear that you have no reason to be embarrassed, nor are you at any type of fault. We understand that it can be difficult to describe the nature of your assault to a male attorney; we are happy to put you in touch with one of our experienced female lawyers to enhance your level of comfort.

If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, do not hesitate to contact our compassionate, knowledgeable attorneys. You have rights and we are here for you. Call now.

Sound of SilenceMoving into an elder care facility is not something that most people want to do. Placing a loved one in an assisted-living facility can be a cause of great stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, one of the issues that you need to concern yourself with is elder sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse occurs in resident-to-resident interactions, and it occurs when staff members or caregivers victimize the helpless. Being able to recognize the signs of elder sexual abuse can help prevent your loved one from becoming a victim. Elderly people who have experienced sexual abuse, whether verbal or physical, may exhibit emotional signs or physical ones.

Emotional Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Timid Behavior-Your once gregarious loved one has become shy, timid or withdrawn. He or she seems scared or anxious. Pay close attention to these common warning signs.
  • Personality Changes-Like changes in behavior, victims may exhibit changes in personality. A once happy individual may become sullen and depressed. A laid-back person may become quick to anger.
  • Overly Compliant Behavior-Your elderly loved one may suddenly become overly compliant. This is often the case when sexual abuse is used as a punishment or way to force specific behaviors.
  • Suicidal Thoughts-It is not unusual for terminally ill people to talk about death or have a sudden need to put their affairs in order. If your relatively healthy loved one becomes preoccupied with death or expresses thoughts of suicide, take heed.

Physical Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Bruising-Elderly people bruise easily. It is unusual for people of any age to have bruising on their inner thighs or the insides of their arms unless physical force has been applied.
  • STDs-Instances of sexually transmitted infections and diseases are on the rise in elder care facilities. Many of these cases are due to consensual intercourse, but some are not. If your loved one is diagnosed with an STD, ask questions.
  • Worsening of Illness-If your loved one experiences a worsening of a current illness in conjunction with other signs of sexual abuse, there may be cause for alarm.
  • Walking or Standing Difficulties-When your loved one has difficulty walking or standing and has previously not exhibited these symptoms, sexual abuse may be a cause.

The majority of elder care facilities operate with nothing but the best of intentions. The people caring for your loved one do so because they are nurturers at heart. Unfortunately, there are always those that are more than willing to take advantage of the elderly and, in some cases, that includes sexual abuse.

If you believe that your loved one is being victimized, do not hesitate to call the experienced sexual abuse attorneys at Auger & Auger. We find this type of crime to be reprehensible, and we will work tirelessly to ensure the safety of your loved one. Call us today so that we can begin building a case immediately. Do not let your loved one suffer for one moment longer; call us now!

On May 15, a jury of 12 found Nathaniel Morales, a former youth group leader for the Covenant Life Church, guilty of two counts of second degree sexual offenses and three counts of sexually abusing a minor.  Jeremy Cook, the accuser, emotional said that “I started crying…it was overwhelming to know that the struggle, the fight, the 25 years of trying to bring this forward, was worth it.” Cook claims to have been abused over 50 times during his teenage years, and finally received justice for the crimes committed against him.

During the trial and testimonies, it was revealed that at one point Morales had lost his day job and was given a place to stay in a fellow parishioner’s home in the basement, in a room adjacent to his 15 year old son’s room. The boy, now a man 39 years old, testified years later during the trial saying that Morales would sneak into his room and molest him, threatening him that if the victim did not allow it to happen, that  “he’d have random acts of sex and get AIDS.”

Apparently, the Covenant Life Church also had a reputation of burying any allegations of sexual abuse by its members. Former Pastor Grant Layman knew of the reported abuse and did not report it to law enforcement.  When Layman testified during Morales’ trial, he admitted that he had an obligation to report the abuse but that he failed to do so.

Pam Palmer, a member of the Covenant Life Church for 23 years, claims that her daughter was abused by a teenager in the youth group in the 1990’s, and with the help of investigators, pursued charges. Pam believes that the Church should be held accountable for covering up sexual abuse and housing known predators because it only puts the children in more danger, remarking “They had a lot to protect. They had money, power and prestige.”

Because the church attempted to cover up the sexual abuses, multiple lawsuits will be filed against them from victims and their families. Cook concludes that “They left this predator on the street when they had knowledge, and ultimately they’ll have to answer to that, whether it be to the courts, or whether it be to God”

Like most child molesters, Morales used his position as spiritual leader at Covenant Life church to gain the trust of the young teens he abused in the late 80s and early 90s.  According to the Department of Justice, 60% of boys, and 80% of girls, who were victims of sexual abuse, knew their abuser and that the abuser was likely to be a relative, family friend, care giver, teacher, or other person in a position of authority over the child.  The DOJ further reports that 80% of child molesters are men.

The experienced Charlotte sexual abuse attorneys at Auger & Auger have been representing victims and their families for over 25 years.  If you have a question about a possible sexual abuse or assault case, do not hesitate to call.  The consultation is free and confidential. (704) 364-3361.

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