Alabama law enforcement investigate a Vestavia Hills massage parlor after receiving reports of sexual assault from multiple victims. The 26-year-old woman allegedly went to the massage parlor to use a discount the parlor offered health care workers and first responders. The massage parlor advertised a discount for workers in gratitude for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, she did not receive a relaxing massage. Instead, she became a victim of sexual assault. She claims that the owner of the massage parlor fondled her during the massage. Other women have come forward reporting similar experiences. Another customer reports that she was sexually abused during her one-hour hot stone massage.
The Owner of the Massage Parlor Faces Criminal Charges
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The owner of the massage parlor now faces six counts of first-degree sexual assault. Six women have come forward and reported sexual assault that occurred at the massage parlor. Law enforcement expects more victims to come forward once the story becomes publicized. Neither the owner nor his employees are licensed massage therapists in Alabama. After the investigation into the sexual assault charges began, the massage parlor shut down. The massage parlor has reportedly opened again, however.
Recovering After Experiencing Sexual Assault
The victims, in this case, expected to go to a massage parlor and enjoy a relaxing massage. Instead, they underwent a traumatic experience and are trying to figure out how to cope with it. One of the women says that she was traumatized by the experience and is on medication. She also says she has breakdowns and cannot sleep. Other victims reported feeling violated and stated that they felt like the perpetrator would rape them or kill them.
The employee accused of sexual assault will likely face a jail sentence if convicted. However, some sexual assault abusers never face criminal charges. The prosecution may decide not to pursue the case or may not have enough evidence to convict the perpetrator. Victims of sexual assault do often receive a sense of relief when their abuser faces criminal penalties. However, they also have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the abuser.
Filing a Lawsuit Against a Sexual Abuser in Alabama
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Criminal cases are different from civil cases in Alabama. In a criminal case, prosecutors file charges, and the perpetrator can face jail time and find out if they are convicted in court. The prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. Even if the assailant is found not guilty in a criminal court, the victim can still succeed in a civil lawsuit for monetary damages.
In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff who brings the case needs to prove specific elements by a preponderance of the evidence. In other words, as the plaintiff, you will need to prove that it is more likely than not that the defendant injured you through sexual assault. You also need to provide evidence of the physical and emotional damages you have endured due to the sexual assault.
Recovering Compensation After a Sexual Assault
If you are the victim of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or sexual harassment, you may have a right to bring a civil lawsuit against your abuser for compensation. When one person abuses or injures another person, causing damages, the victim is entitled to sue for damages. Damages include compensation for medical bills, lost employment and wages, and the victim’s emotional and physical pain. In some cases, when the defendant acts egregiously, the court will impose additional punitive damages to punish the abuser.
In Alabama, victims have a right to file a claim in small claims court on their own for any damages worth $6,000 or less. Sexual assault victims who experienced more significant damages can file a personal injury lawsuit against the perpetrator in a district court with an experienced lawyer’s help. There is not a specific type of lawsuit called a sexual assault lawsuit. However, victims can still recover damages by filing a tort claim for assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or battery.
Contact an Alabama Sexual Assault Lawyer Today
For those who have been sexually abused, the mental and emotional pain can be as intense as the physical pain. If you have been the victim of a sexual assault, we recommend taking the time to consult with an attorney who can discuss your legal options. Contact Heninger Garrison Davis today to schedule your initial consultation.