Many believe high school sports play an essential function in students’ development of self-confidence and teamwork. Coaches often have a role in their players’ lives that goes beyond mere authority as a result of the cohesiveness fostered by the team attitude. When a coach uses that leadership role to make sexual advances on a student, the results can be permanently devastating.

Trauma continues after abuse stops

According to St. Louis Today, a woman is attempting to hold an Archdiocese responsible for sexual offenses that she claims occurred while she was a student at the Catholic school. She is currently serving a prison sentence for crimes involving substance abuse. She points to the psychological and emotional trauma of the sexual abuse that she allegedly endured in high school as the beginning of her drug and alcohol use.

The man she blames for performing the acts committed suicide six years ago when another victim reported sexual abuse to law enforcement. In spite of these two accusations, the Archdiocese claims that they have investigated and found no evidence of a crime.

Statute of limitations for minors

In many states, there is a statute of limitations that prevents adults from holding an abuser responsible for the crimes committed. However, the Missouri statute of limitations allows minors who are victims of a sexual offense to come forward with a charge up to 30 years after turning 18, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

KY3 News reports that a woman in her thirties has recently accused a high school coach of abusing her sexually. The alleged abuse occurred between 1992 and 1994, and because of the long statute of limitations, she was able to file a report with law enforcement 21 years later. The coach has been charged with sexual assault.

Rape statistics and victim shame

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a nationally representative survey revealed that 18.3 percent of women were self-reported rape victims. Of these, the first rape occurred between the ages of 11 and 17 for 29.9 percent of these women. Most often, they knew the person who committed the abuse.

The Huffington Post reports that national attention is finally being brought to the harmful effects of blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator. It may be because of the changes in the ways that rapists are perceived that women are finally feeling safe enough to come forward years later.

Any victim of a sexual offense should not be afraid to hold the perpetrator accountable for the inexcusable act. An attorney in Kansas City, Missouri, may be able to provide legal representation to ensure justice and seek financial compensation for the physical, emotional and psychological damages that have resulted from the crime.