Boz with Bozlawpa Works in Trauma Related Lawsuits

September 15, 2022 00:36:12
Boz with Bozlawpa Works in Trauma Related Lawsuits
Rachel on Recovery
Boz with Bozlawpa Works in Trauma Related Lawsuits

Sep 15 2022 | 00:36:12

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Hosted By

Rachel Stone

Show Notes

Boz is an Attorney that help victims of Sexual Abuse Attorney. He is the founder Grace (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environment) 

https://bozlawpa.com/

https://www.netgrace.org/

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Episode Transcript

WEBVTT 1 00:00:00.280 --> 00:00:04.280 Hi, this is Rachel and recovery. We've got a special guest today, 2 00:00:04.360 --> 00:00:08.960 boss. He's gonna tell us a little bit about himself and boss, tell 3 00:00:09.000 --> 00:00:13.240 us a little bit about yourself. Hey, Rachel's good to be here. 4 00:00:13.519 --> 00:00:17.160 Um, my name is Bob is. Actually my full name is Bazil Chividjian, 5 00:00:18.160 --> 00:00:21.239 but that tends to frighten people off a bit, so I just go 6 00:00:21.320 --> 00:00:25.320 by Bos B O Z um, Rachel. I'm a lawyer. I've been 7 00:00:25.320 --> 00:00:30.679 a lawyer since nineteen ninety, three long time. Um. I currently m 8 00:00:31.079 --> 00:00:37.039 the operated managed Bo's law, which is a law firm in located in Florida, 9 00:00:37.719 --> 00:00:42.320 but I represent abuse survivors throughout the United States, uh, in civil 10 00:00:42.359 --> 00:00:46.280 matters involving abuse. So, and we'll talk a little bit later maybe about 11 00:00:46.280 --> 00:00:50.799 the difference between a criminal case and a civil case. I represent survivors, 12 00:00:50.799 --> 00:00:55.560 abuse survivors and civil cases all throughout the country. and Um, prior to 13 00:00:55.600 --> 00:00:59.679 that I was a law school professor and uh, and then back in two 14 00:00:59.719 --> 00:01:02.880 thousand before I started, when I was in private practice, after being a 15 00:01:02.880 --> 00:01:07.560 prosecutor for a number of years, I started an organization called grace, which 16 00:01:07.560 --> 00:01:11.799 I think you all have had. Um, pizzinger on as a guest. 17 00:01:11.799 --> 00:01:15.480 Who is the Executive Director of grace? Uh, started that and stepped down 18 00:01:15.519 --> 00:01:23.200 from my role as the executive director a couple of years ago. Um, 19 00:01:23.480 --> 00:01:27.840 how did you start, Bos Lah? Well, Um, you know, 20 00:01:29.040 --> 00:01:37.239 I I was teaching Um at a law school and I realized that I did 21 00:01:37.280 --> 00:01:41.760 not want to continue doing that. But I really had a decision to make. 22 00:01:41.799 --> 00:01:45.799 I had a decision to make to either become the full time executive director 23 00:01:45.799 --> 00:01:49.439 of grace or do something different. And you know, the more I thought 24 00:01:49.439 --> 00:01:53.439 about a Rachel I just didn't think that I was the one equipped, best 25 00:01:53.480 --> 00:01:59.480 equipped to to take grace from where it is to forward. I'm so glad 26 00:01:59.480 --> 00:02:02.799 we found singer because he's he's a really much better role for that job today 27 00:02:02.879 --> 00:02:07.640 than than I would have been. But in the meantime I started having a 28 00:02:07.640 --> 00:02:12.240 lot of people call me who were abuse survivors looking for lawyers. Um. 29 00:02:12.439 --> 00:02:16.319 They had realized that they could potentially sue a church or a youth service organization 30 00:02:16.639 --> 00:02:21.840 or at school based upon the the abuse that they suffered as a child. 31 00:02:22.560 --> 00:02:25.039 And over time I thought, why, why do I keep referring these cases 32 00:02:25.080 --> 00:02:28.439 to other lawyers? I can do this. In fact, I had done 33 00:02:28.479 --> 00:02:30.400 a little bit of that before I became a law professor. So, Long 34 00:02:30.439 --> 00:02:35.319 Story Short, I made the decision back in about two thousand late, two 35 00:02:35.319 --> 00:02:40.120 thousand eighteen, Um, two thousand nineteen, to leave the full time profession 36 00:02:40.400 --> 00:02:46.120 of being a law professor and to come back to Florida and to really focus 37 00:02:46.199 --> 00:02:51.000 the rest of my legal career on advocating for survivors across the country. And 38 00:02:51.080 --> 00:02:55.400 so that's why I started Bo's law and it's one of the most rewarding, 39 00:02:55.919 --> 00:03:00.639 humbling and most privileged jobs that I've, I think I've ever done to be 40 00:03:00.680 --> 00:03:06.520 able to advocate for such an amazing group of people. Okay, Um, 41 00:03:06.520 --> 00:03:13.080 what are some of the most challenging problems in your cases? Well, I 42 00:03:13.120 --> 00:03:17.680 mean every case has has problems. I think that the question is not what 43 00:03:17.680 --> 00:03:21.360 what are the problems, but how do you get around them and how do 44 00:03:21.400 --> 00:03:23.840 you how do you face those problems? A lot of a lot of people 45 00:03:23.919 --> 00:03:30.639 come to me having already been to a lawyer and, you know, they 46 00:03:30.639 --> 00:03:32.400 feel like the lawyer is always telling them you've got this problem, you've got 47 00:03:32.400 --> 00:03:36.000 this problem, you've got this problem, and to the point where they feel 48 00:03:36.000 --> 00:03:38.159 like, okay, you know, I don't do I even have a case. 49 00:03:38.879 --> 00:03:43.360 And you know, my one of my responsibilities as a lawyer is to 50 00:03:43.680 --> 00:03:46.080 is to speak truth to my clients and inform them of the law, but 51 00:03:46.159 --> 00:03:50.639 also to say, Hey, here are some problems, but here's some ways 52 00:03:50.680 --> 00:03:53.080 that I think we can overcome those problems. And if there's any group of 53 00:03:53.080 --> 00:03:59.240 people that can overcome a problem, who's who are capable of overcoming problems, 54 00:03:59.280 --> 00:04:03.280 it's it's it's abuse survivors, and so we we do that. We face 55 00:04:03.360 --> 00:04:08.479 those problems. Sometimes the biggest, probably the biggest challenge for me in in 56 00:04:08.680 --> 00:04:14.319 speaking to perspective clients, uh is the statute of limitations. When a client 57 00:04:14.439 --> 00:04:17.560 tells me, excuse me, a perspective client shares with me the horrors that 58 00:04:17.639 --> 00:04:23.160 they suffered and I'm left with having to tell them that they have no legal 59 00:04:23.199 --> 00:04:30.120 remedy, not because what happened to them didn't happen, but because the law 60 00:04:30.720 --> 00:04:34.759 arbitrarily says that after a certain period of time you can't bring a case to 61 00:04:34.839 --> 00:04:40.199 court, and every state is different, and that's a really difficult conversation for 62 00:04:40.240 --> 00:04:43.120 me to have with somebody because by the time they finally get to a point 63 00:04:43.160 --> 00:04:48.720 of understanding that they were abused, processing that trauma and wanting to hold somebody 64 00:04:48.800 --> 00:04:54.720 or somebody's accountable for it. Um, and they take that brave step forward, 65 00:04:55.199 --> 00:04:58.600 they're told, I'm sorry, but the doors of the courthouse are closed. 66 00:04:59.279 --> 00:05:01.600 Um, and I that's why we need to have changes in the law 67 00:05:01.879 --> 00:05:06.839 so that doesn't happen with these with these individuals. What changes in the law 68 00:05:08.279 --> 00:05:14.720 do we need to take place to help victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse? Well, 69 00:05:15.040 --> 00:05:17.480 the big one is the statue limitations, stature limitations, for people who 70 00:05:17.480 --> 00:05:23.160 don't know, is really the every state has a law that says, listen, 71 00:05:23.560 --> 00:05:27.079 you have an ex period of time, a limited period of time, 72 00:05:27.160 --> 00:05:31.079 from the time that you got hurt to bring a case to court. Some 73 00:05:31.160 --> 00:05:35.240 states it's two years, some states it's ten years. Um. Some states 74 00:05:35.240 --> 00:05:40.839 they have no stature limitations. It's all over the board. So you know 75 00:05:40.879 --> 00:05:45.000 if, just by happenstance, if you if you're a child and you get 76 00:05:45.399 --> 00:05:49.720 sexually abused in the state of Vermont, you have to the for the rest 77 00:05:49.800 --> 00:05:54.399 of your life the ability to file a lawsuit. But if you happen to 78 00:05:54.439 --> 00:05:59.240 be abused in the state of Tennessee, you might have UN till I don't 79 00:05:59.240 --> 00:06:03.120 know, exactly the twenty five or twenty six Um. So it's just it's 80 00:06:03.120 --> 00:06:06.439 really the luck of the draw. Where you're abused may give you the opportunity 81 00:06:06.480 --> 00:06:15.439 to seek legal Um compensation UH and other places will not. So to me 82 00:06:15.519 --> 00:06:18.279 the law needs to change. I would love to see a uniform law that's 83 00:06:18.319 --> 00:06:25.600 that's consistent throughout the country Um with and not just with child sexual abuse cases 84 00:06:25.639 --> 00:06:29.800 but with adult sexual abuse cases. We see that in New York. More 85 00:06:29.839 --> 00:06:32.959 recently, New York past the Adult Victims Act, which really opened up the 86 00:06:33.040 --> 00:06:39.800 doors and extended the statue limitations for adult survivors of sexual abuse. A lot 87 00:06:39.839 --> 00:06:44.959 of these a lot of these statue limitations laws were put in place for four 88 00:06:44.959 --> 00:06:48.439 people really had done a lot of research about trauma and you know, our 89 00:06:48.519 --> 00:06:54.480 laws need to be informed. And if people understand that, somebody who's suffered 90 00:06:54.480 --> 00:06:58.920 trauma is the first thing they're thinking of. Is Not running to a lawyer, 91 00:06:59.439 --> 00:07:01.560 they're just trying to survive. The next day they may not be ready 92 00:07:01.560 --> 00:07:04.759 to talk to a lawyer for another five or ten years. Why should that 93 00:07:04.800 --> 00:07:11.480 person be penalized and have that right taken away simply because some legislator and the 94 00:07:11.560 --> 00:07:15.759 capital says we think that's a good amount of time. So I think the 95 00:07:15.839 --> 00:07:19.839 changes in the law as it relates to statue limitations are some of the most 96 00:07:19.839 --> 00:07:24.480 important that need to take place. Some states are doing it and some states 97 00:07:24.480 --> 00:07:30.959 are not. Um, okay, how long do these cases usually take? 98 00:07:33.680 --> 00:07:39.720 Well, that's a that's a tough question, because every case is different. 99 00:07:40.199 --> 00:07:44.600 So, you know, a case might be Um, I might get a 100 00:07:44.600 --> 00:07:49.360 client and within three months the case gets settled, maybe because I send a 101 00:07:49.399 --> 00:07:54.120 demand letter to the other side and they instead of going through a lawsuit, 102 00:07:54.160 --> 00:07:57.079 they wanted to settle the case so it could be settled in a few months. 103 00:07:57.800 --> 00:08:01.560 Others say, you know, we we have no interest in settling this 104 00:08:01.600 --> 00:08:05.079 with you, and then we follow all suit, and a lawsuit can take, 105 00:08:05.399 --> 00:08:09.680 you know, upward of two three years. Um, I think things 106 00:08:09.680 --> 00:08:15.040 have really slowed down since covid and so the whole you know, the court 107 00:08:15.120 --> 00:08:18.120 dockets are really backed up because for almost a year we didn't even have court. 108 00:08:18.680 --> 00:08:22.879 So now all those cases that were backed up then have to start making 109 00:08:22.920 --> 00:08:26.000 their way through the system and then, you know, if you're filing something 110 00:08:26.040 --> 00:08:28.600 today, you're you're in the back of the line. Um, so it 111 00:08:28.600 --> 00:08:35.440 takes it takes a while. I would say probably of civil cases end up 112 00:08:35.440 --> 00:08:39.240 settling at some point in time, but sometimes they settle a day or two 113 00:08:39.320 --> 00:08:41.720 before the trial, after the case has been litigated for for a couple of 114 00:08:41.799 --> 00:08:46.559 years, and sometimes, like I said earlier, they settled sooner. But 115 00:08:46.440 --> 00:08:52.120 so I let my clients know this is this is a marathon and they're gonna 116 00:08:52.159 --> 00:08:56.279 be weeks, maybe sometimes months, where you feel like nothing's going on and 117 00:08:56.720 --> 00:09:01.519 sometimes you're in but we're we're on top of it and we will get we 118 00:09:01.559 --> 00:09:05.840 will get to the other side, but it's it is not a fast process 119 00:09:05.320 --> 00:09:09.159 and it requires a lot of patients. But I think a lot of survivors 120 00:09:09.799 --> 00:09:15.759 have waited years, sometimes decades, to bring their case and so a lot 121 00:09:15.799 --> 00:09:16.879 of them say, well, what's another two or three years, as long 122 00:09:16.960 --> 00:09:22.240 as I know something is being done about it. Um, before a victims 123 00:09:22.360 --> 00:09:26.799 starts a lawsuit against a Predator, what are things they should know before proceedings? 124 00:09:26.840 --> 00:09:33.440 And, uh, what's the difference between going after a Predator and civil 125 00:09:33.039 --> 00:09:39.159 versus criminal? Yeah, I mean so I guess the first part of your 126 00:09:39.240 --> 00:09:43.639 question. You know, before a victim starts a lawsuit, where to some 127 00:09:43.759 --> 00:09:46.879 things they know before proceeding well. I think it's really important for lawyers to 128 00:09:46.919 --> 00:09:52.799 help explain the system, the process to the client. Most of our clients 129 00:09:52.799 --> 00:09:58.240 are not Um. They've never been the court before and sometimes lawyers do a 130 00:09:58.279 --> 00:10:01.639 bad job in assuming that everybody has been to do the process before, but 131 00:10:01.720 --> 00:10:05.879 most of them haven't. So explaining the process, being there to answer questions, 132 00:10:07.200 --> 00:10:13.279 trying to empathize with clients, understanding that this is a very tremendous moment 133 00:10:13.320 --> 00:10:18.399 in their lives. They're most of them are scared to death. They're pretty 134 00:10:18.519 --> 00:10:22.840 intimidated by the process and sometimes they don't even feel like asking questions, not 135 00:10:22.879 --> 00:10:26.320 because they don't have questions, but because they don't want to bother the lawyer. 136 00:10:26.919 --> 00:10:30.480 And I said, you're not bothering me, I want this is your 137 00:10:30.559 --> 00:10:35.519 case. That's what's really important for me to communicate to my clients, is 138 00:10:35.559 --> 00:10:39.279 that this is not my case, this is your case, which means that 139 00:10:39.320 --> 00:10:41.440 we're going to move forward with this case and you're in charge. I'M gonna 140 00:10:41.440 --> 00:10:46.360 be your advocate, I'm going to be your lawyer, but you have to 141 00:10:46.399 --> 00:10:48.240 be the one empowered to move this thing forward, and I think that's really 142 00:10:48.279 --> 00:10:54.320 helpful and it's really I think it helps with some healing of at least some 143 00:10:54.399 --> 00:10:58.720 of my clients to know that they are in charge. Um, I think 144 00:10:58.720 --> 00:11:03.360 that the difference between criminal and civil is is significant. In a criminal case 145 00:11:03.720 --> 00:11:09.799 the parties are the government and the defendant, the specific perpetrator. Um, 146 00:11:09.840 --> 00:11:15.639 a victim is not a witness, is not a party to the in the 147 00:11:15.720 --> 00:11:20.039 criminal case the victim is a witness. So the victim really has no control 148 00:11:20.080 --> 00:11:24.919 over that process. And so if the prosecutor wants to file charges, if 149 00:11:24.919 --> 00:11:28.320 the prosecutor wants to plead Birogon out the case, they'll listen to the victim. 150 00:11:28.360 --> 00:11:35.399 But the victim is in many ways powerless in that system and ultimately the 151 00:11:35.480 --> 00:11:41.159 consequence is a criminal conviction of the perpetrator and perhaps their liberty is taken away 152 00:11:41.159 --> 00:11:46.679 go into prison. A civil case is a private action where you, the 153 00:11:46.759 --> 00:11:50.960 victim, is a party of the case and the ultimate consequence of a civil 154 00:11:52.000 --> 00:11:56.399 case is not prison. The ultimate consequence of a civil case is compensation. 155 00:11:56.799 --> 00:12:03.159 And therefore, and and and the possible defendants in a civil case are broader 156 00:12:03.200 --> 00:12:05.399 than just the perpetrator. So if you are working at a school, if 157 00:12:05.399 --> 00:12:09.960 you're excused, if you're a student at a school and there's a teacher there 158 00:12:09.000 --> 00:12:13.600 that had been fired from their previous job as a teacher because they were Um, 159 00:12:15.320 --> 00:12:22.159 wrongfully touching a student. And Uh, this new school hired them without 160 00:12:22.159 --> 00:12:24.840 doing any type of background check and, Lo and behold, that the teacher 161 00:12:24.200 --> 00:12:28.360 ends up abusing another child. Um. Well, yeah, should the teacher 162 00:12:28.399 --> 00:12:35.799 be punished? Absolutely. Should the school be punished? Absolutely. The school 163 00:12:35.879 --> 00:12:39.360 knew, or should have known, that this person was a danger and they 164 00:12:39.399 --> 00:12:43.879 still put this teacher in the classroom with this child. And therefore, you 165 00:12:45.039 --> 00:12:48.799 that would be a good example of filing a civil suit against the school so 166 00:12:48.840 --> 00:12:52.799 that this the child, for the rest of their lives may need to get 167 00:12:52.840 --> 00:12:56.519 counseling, may need to get help, professional help, and whatever capacity. 168 00:12:58.080 --> 00:13:01.879 That child should not have to pay for that them steps, but the compensation 169 00:13:01.919 --> 00:13:07.159 they receive in a lawsuit would go to pay those things in future years. 170 00:13:07.159 --> 00:13:15.879 So one is more of government against the perpetrator, ultimate consequence prison, potentially. 171 00:13:16.159 --> 00:13:22.240 The other is it's a private action. It's the offender, the victim 172 00:13:22.360 --> 00:13:28.840 or survivor against the offender or the end or the institution that's responsible, and 173 00:13:28.879 --> 00:13:35.039 the ultimate consequences compensation. Um, can you give us the pros and cons 174 00:13:35.120 --> 00:13:43.879 of going for us a little suit against the Predator. Well, remember earlier 175 00:13:43.879 --> 00:13:48.279 I said that the the ultimate consequence of a civil suit is compensation. So 176 00:13:48.360 --> 00:13:56.000 the challenge comes when you have a an offender who has no money. So 177 00:13:56.080 --> 00:14:01.159 you can take a case through the process and get a judge and and still 178 00:14:01.200 --> 00:14:07.559 walk away with nothing and so and and that's it's even more challenging to find 179 00:14:07.559 --> 00:14:11.720 a lawyer to do that because lawyers handle these cases on what it's called a 180 00:14:11.799 --> 00:14:15.879 contingency fee basis, which means if a victim comes to me and says I 181 00:14:15.879 --> 00:14:18.840 want to hire you as a lawyer, I'm not going to charge them my 182 00:14:18.879 --> 00:14:24.879 hourly rate. I'M gonna say, okay, I think what's gonna be easiest 183 00:14:24.919 --> 00:14:30.200 for you is you don't owe me anything until or unless we settle the case, 184 00:14:30.320 --> 00:14:33.919 and then once we do, then the legal fees are a percentage of 185 00:14:35.039 --> 00:14:41.360 that total settle Um. But if you're going against somebody you know, an 186 00:14:41.360 --> 00:14:45.960 offender who has no money to begin with, it's gonna be tough to find 187 00:14:45.960 --> 00:14:48.240 a lawyer to take that case because you're basically asking the lawyer to take that 188 00:14:48.279 --> 00:14:52.200 case for free because they're never gonna see any money. Um. On the 189 00:14:52.240 --> 00:14:56.960 flip side of that, I've had a number of cases where the perpetrator does 190 00:14:56.000 --> 00:15:05.879 have money and they would rather settle the case then have the case filed and 191 00:15:05.960 --> 00:15:09.120 this go through court, public courts, and everybody learn about it, and 192 00:15:09.159 --> 00:15:15.519 so they often, not always, but they oftentimes will, will try to 193 00:15:15.519 --> 00:15:20.879 settle. So ultimately I try to be very practical and pragmatic with my clients 194 00:15:20.879 --> 00:15:24.320 and say, listen, if you're going to go through this process, the 195 00:15:24.399 --> 00:15:28.840 civil process, the ultimate, ultimate outcome is compensation. But we can't go 196 00:15:28.960 --> 00:15:35.039 forward against a perpetrator where we know from day one there will be no compensation. 197 00:15:37.080 --> 00:15:39.759 The last thing I'll say is sometimes what we do is we sue both 198 00:15:39.840 --> 00:15:43.440 the let's say you were abused by a youth pastor. We might sue the 199 00:15:43.480 --> 00:15:48.120 perpetrator for the abuse, but we also sue the church. So we sue 200 00:15:48.159 --> 00:15:54.080 both and and usually, not always, but usually the church will have insurance 201 00:15:54.159 --> 00:15:58.480 or have some type of assets that they can pay out. So you may 202 00:15:58.519 --> 00:16:02.080 not get you may not get the perpetrator paying you, but the but the 203 00:16:02.080 --> 00:16:08.000 the institution that hired him or her, would be paying. Okay, Um, 204 00:16:08.039 --> 00:16:12.600 if the case goes to trial, how do you educate the jury on 205 00:16:12.720 --> 00:16:23.480 trauma? Huh, okay, that's a good question. Um, I try 206 00:16:23.519 --> 00:16:27.720 to start educating the jury from the moment I stand up to select a jury. 207 00:16:29.879 --> 00:16:34.679 You Begin asking them questions, asking them questions that are really designed to 208 00:16:34.759 --> 00:16:41.720 inform them and not really elicited, designed to elicit answers. Um. So 209 00:16:41.759 --> 00:16:44.519 I'll give you an example. It's not really dealing with trauma, but I 210 00:16:44.600 --> 00:16:48.720 might say, Um, I might ask let's say you're a perspective jury. 211 00:16:48.759 --> 00:16:52.159 I say it, might say Rachel, do you believe that the testimony of 212 00:16:52.320 --> 00:17:00.159 one witness whom you believe is enough to find the defendant here? Response of 213 00:17:00.200 --> 00:17:03.960 all, and you might go no, it's gotta be more. And I 214 00:17:04.039 --> 00:17:07.759 might go, well, how many witnesses do you want? And that's a 215 00:17:07.799 --> 00:17:11.400 way of me educating the jury that in fact, the testimony of one witness 216 00:17:11.400 --> 00:17:18.400 whom you believe is sufficient um to either convict or find an institution civilly liable. 217 00:17:18.920 --> 00:17:22.839 But that's the way I'm educating the jury. Every question I ask is 218 00:17:22.920 --> 00:17:26.960 educating the jury. So, for example, you know, some people respond 219 00:17:27.000 --> 00:17:30.079 to trauma differently than other people. So I remember when I was a prosecutor, 220 00:17:32.039 --> 00:17:37.599 one of my victims. A child was being interviewed in a videotaped interview 221 00:17:37.839 --> 00:17:41.599 and they were being asked questions and they were started laughing in their response. 222 00:17:42.240 --> 00:17:48.599 Well, they're not laughing because I think it's funny, they're laughing because, 223 00:17:48.359 --> 00:17:52.839 uh, they're their anxiety levels are through the roof and it's because of the 224 00:17:52.880 --> 00:17:56.039 trauma. So you help and you know you're going to show that video to 225 00:17:56.079 --> 00:18:00.920 the jury. You begin helping them understand that from the beginning of you know, 226 00:18:02.000 --> 00:18:06.559 do you you understand that everybody responds to trauma differently and the way you 227 00:18:06.880 --> 00:18:10.200 respond to trauma maybe some way, may be much different than the way the 228 00:18:10.200 --> 00:18:12.960 person sitting next to you response to Truma? Does that make sense? So 229 00:18:14.039 --> 00:18:18.039 you start educating that jury from the very beginning of jury selection. And then, 230 00:18:18.079 --> 00:18:23.480 of course, the other way to to us, then the other the 231 00:18:23.519 --> 00:18:29.839 other way to uh, to do that is through Um, expert witness. 232 00:18:30.400 --> 00:18:37.240 And hold on it. Is there there an expert witness? So you might 233 00:18:37.279 --> 00:18:42.839 bring in an expert therapist who will come in and and testify to the jury, 234 00:18:42.920 --> 00:18:48.599 who may have assessed your client, given him a full psychological assessment and 235 00:18:48.720 --> 00:18:52.200 provided the jury the information they need to understand what trauma is and how trauma 236 00:18:52.200 --> 00:19:03.680 affects somebody's Day to day life. Okay, Um, are things changing in 237 00:19:03.680 --> 00:19:07.960 the legal system when it comes to abuse, whether it's rate, domestic violence 238 00:19:08.039 --> 00:19:12.359 or childhood sexual abuse, and you can break the down. We just start 239 00:19:12.359 --> 00:19:17.599 with rank. How is that changing? Yeah, I mean, I guess 240 00:19:17.599 --> 00:19:22.599 I would just say as a category, these types of UH sexual violence and 241 00:19:22.759 --> 00:19:32.319 adult violence. Um, I think people more people are more aware of this 242 00:19:32.400 --> 00:19:34.559 topic. I think that the one of the benefits of the meat too movement 243 00:19:34.680 --> 00:19:42.079 was it brought uh, it brought this issue to the surface and I think 244 00:19:42.079 --> 00:19:48.039 a lot of people learned through the me too movement that, Um, that 245 00:19:48.400 --> 00:19:52.759 family members and friends that they had never known before were our survivors of abuse. 246 00:19:52.720 --> 00:19:59.279 And so I think there's general awareness, better awareness, in our society 247 00:19:59.319 --> 00:20:03.160 today. I think the legal system is like the legal system usually is, 248 00:20:03.200 --> 00:20:08.079 and that is, Um, it's always slow to follow up, and so, 249 00:20:10.160 --> 00:20:14.640 Um, I think we are catching up in the legal system. For 250 00:20:14.680 --> 00:20:18.519 example, these these laws that I was telling talking to you about earlier, 251 00:20:18.200 --> 00:20:26.759 the statue limitations changes. I think those are shifting, especially for childhood sexual 252 00:20:26.759 --> 00:20:33.079 abuse. Um, you know, they're we're providing we're providing survivors a longer 253 00:20:33.119 --> 00:20:38.480 period of time which to come to court. Um I think that the whole 254 00:20:38.680 --> 00:20:42.640 non disclosure agreements, which we hear a lot about, which used to be 255 00:20:42.720 --> 00:20:48.960 pretty standard with these types of cases and settlements, where you would sign an 256 00:20:48.000 --> 00:20:52.359 agreement, you would get money, but in exchange for that money, within 257 00:20:52.400 --> 00:20:55.640 that agreement, you would agree never to ever talk about the situation again. 258 00:20:56.440 --> 00:21:02.319 Well, that's largely that's gone by the a side because people don't want to, 259 00:21:03.119 --> 00:21:07.119 they don't ever want to feel like they have been Um silenced, and 260 00:21:07.200 --> 00:21:12.039 so I make it very clear with my clients that if you I'll let the 261 00:21:12.079 --> 00:21:15.319 other side know that we are not going to settle this case if they're going 262 00:21:15.319 --> 00:21:19.440 to require a nondisclosure agreement, which is that's a that's a that's a non 263 00:21:19.440 --> 00:21:22.759 negotiable. We're not going to do that. And you know, for the 264 00:21:22.759 --> 00:21:26.920 most part I'm able to settle cases without nondisclosure agreements. So that's a change. 265 00:21:27.599 --> 00:21:32.720 I think we the horror of nondisclosure agreements came out when we saw Harvey 266 00:21:32.720 --> 00:21:37.359 Weinstein and how many of his victims had to sign these nondisclosure agreements and lived 267 00:21:37.400 --> 00:21:41.599 in fear of ever seeing anything to anybody about what this disgusting human being did 268 00:21:41.640 --> 00:21:47.680 to them. We also started with the rabbi Zachariah's situation where, you know, 269 00:21:47.759 --> 00:21:52.960 he had um his victim had signed a non disclosure and and again, 270 00:21:52.079 --> 00:21:56.880 very frustrating not to be able to to share about, you know, the 271 00:21:56.920 --> 00:22:03.640 most Um, profound owned parts of their life because of the agreement, it 272 00:22:03.720 --> 00:22:08.200 really ends up looking like a payoff, you know, it's money for silence. 273 00:22:08.559 --> 00:22:12.000 So that's that's largely gone by the wayside. I think we have a 274 00:22:12.000 --> 00:22:19.319 lot more to do on on domestic violence and adult sexual violence. Um. 275 00:22:19.359 --> 00:22:25.559 You know, I was just hearing the other day the young woman was abducted 276 00:22:25.559 --> 00:22:29.039 when she was running at four in the morning and outside of Memphis and ultimately 277 00:22:29.440 --> 00:22:33.759 murdered, and some of the comments that were being made is, what's she 278 00:22:33.880 --> 00:22:37.240 doing and running at four in the morning, and I thought, wow, 279 00:22:37.759 --> 00:22:41.440 it's amazing how we can take this situation and turn it around and, whether 280 00:22:41.480 --> 00:22:47.480 you intended it or not, you you know, you're victim blaming Um and 281 00:22:48.039 --> 00:22:49.759 we've got a long way to go with that. Um, I think what 282 00:22:49.839 --> 00:22:56.039 we have you know, I think with adult sexual violence, I'm I feel 283 00:22:56.039 --> 00:23:00.440 like we've taken a few steps backwards. I think the and I don't not 284 00:23:00.480 --> 00:23:07.079 necessarily political, but I think the whole trump era brought us there and Um, 285 00:23:07.160 --> 00:23:10.519 and you know that there's a large group of people in that in that 286 00:23:10.839 --> 00:23:15.920 demographic that thought we should be, you know, feeling sorry for the for 287 00:23:15.000 --> 00:23:18.319 the men, and that the men were the real victims here. And it's 288 00:23:18.359 --> 00:23:23.279 just, it's just, it's just not based on fact. And and so 289 00:23:23.319 --> 00:23:26.359 I think we've got to I think we've got a ways to go on on 290 00:23:26.440 --> 00:23:32.799 both the adult sexual violence and domestic violence inside and outside of the Church, 291 00:23:33.599 --> 00:23:37.319 Um, because it's it's no better inside the church, in fact, sometimes 292 00:23:37.480 --> 00:23:44.000 a lot worse. Very much agree with you there. Um. Many of 293 00:23:44.000 --> 00:23:47.640 our laws in the United States come from Bible. How could we use scripture 294 00:23:47.680 --> 00:23:52.960 today to implement better laws, to protect, for protection for victims and more 295 00:23:52.000 --> 00:23:59.559 adequate punishment and rehabilitation for perpetrators? Well, I don't think we should be 296 00:23:59.640 --> 00:24:06.480 using scriptures today to implement laws. Um, we're not a theocracy or a 297 00:24:06.559 --> 00:24:11.519 republic. Um. Now, that doesn't mean that we can't be informed by 298 00:24:11.519 --> 00:24:15.759 by scripture when we talk about Um. You know, all of us are 299 00:24:15.799 --> 00:24:18.799 made in the image of God. And so how do how does that? 300 00:24:19.240 --> 00:24:26.640 How should that if I'm a Christian, UH, politician, Christian legislator, 301 00:24:26.079 --> 00:24:33.240 how should that inform me as as to the prioritizing of laws, Um, 302 00:24:33.279 --> 00:24:37.839 and protecting vulnerable people and making sure that victims in these types of cases, 303 00:24:38.480 --> 00:24:45.079 um, aren't humiliated but treated with respect? Those things should inform us, 304 00:24:45.839 --> 00:24:51.319 Um and, and you know so. So I don't. I think our 305 00:24:51.359 --> 00:24:56.160 faith should inform us in in the laws that we put forth or the bills 306 00:24:56.200 --> 00:25:00.599 that we put forth. But I'm certainly not a propo on and of using 307 00:25:00.640 --> 00:25:03.720 scripture too to implement laws. I think. Um, I think that gets 308 00:25:03.759 --> 00:25:08.359 us in trouble and and, quite frankly, scripture was never my understanding of 309 00:25:08.400 --> 00:25:14.400 scripture was never designed to, you know, create laws in a society thousands 310 00:25:14.400 --> 00:25:17.640 of a year later. I mean it's just a misapplication of of all that. 311 00:25:18.480 --> 00:25:22.960 But we can search, sure glean some principles from scripture, Um, 312 00:25:23.000 --> 00:25:30.000 and, and I think we have to do that. Um. And you 313 00:25:30.000 --> 00:25:33.480 know I don't. I'm not. I'm not a big I think I think 314 00:25:33.519 --> 00:25:40.960 offenders, especially sexual offenders, they need to be punished. Um. I'm 315 00:25:41.000 --> 00:25:47.359 not in my career encountered many, if at any. I don't know who 316 00:25:47.359 --> 00:25:52.279 have ever been, quote unquote, rehabilitated Um and so I think the the 317 00:25:52.839 --> 00:26:00.440 best thing an offender can do is to understand the gravity and darkness of their 318 00:26:00.440 --> 00:26:04.480 own heart. Even if an offender who who reports to have become a Christian, 319 00:26:07.119 --> 00:26:08.160 if they have reported to see a lot, a lot of times in 320 00:26:08.160 --> 00:26:11.880 the church, the offender says I've become a Christian. So everybody says, 321 00:26:11.880 --> 00:26:15.880 Oh, the person is a new creature in Christ and welcome him and he 322 00:26:15.920 --> 00:26:18.759 doesn't have that supervision anymore and he's not that person anymore. And I'm going, 323 00:26:18.880 --> 00:26:22.079 well, wait a minute. Actually the person, if they really have 324 00:26:22.160 --> 00:26:26.119 genuinely become a Christian, they'll know they have to acknowledge the darkness of their 325 00:26:26.160 --> 00:26:32.920 own heart and how we are. This is replete throughout scripture, how we 326 00:26:33.000 --> 00:26:36.480 are capable of engaging in any time, just about any type of conduct. 327 00:26:37.279 --> 00:26:40.880 And the fact is, Mr Perpetrator, you have engaged in that kinduct that 328 00:26:40.960 --> 00:26:44.920 it's not that you might, you have. So you should be the first 329 00:26:44.960 --> 00:26:51.599 and foremost person saying I need guardrails, I need boundaries, I need and 330 00:26:51.640 --> 00:26:56.759 I will subject myself to whatever you direct me to, because I do understand 331 00:26:56.799 --> 00:27:00.720 the darkness of my own heart, because of my faith, um, but 332 00:27:00.880 --> 00:27:04.599 we don't. We sort of look at them in the reverse, and so 333 00:27:04.680 --> 00:27:11.559 the offenders. We oftentimes end up giving much more grace to offenders and law 334 00:27:11.720 --> 00:27:18.119 to victims, and that's got to change. Yes, Um, what advice 335 00:27:18.160 --> 00:27:27.200 would you give victims out there? That's a very broad question. Um, 336 00:27:27.240 --> 00:27:32.079 I think that, as a lawyer, what I would say is, in 337 00:27:32.160 --> 00:27:34.160 fact, my wife and I have been talking about this recently, and that 338 00:27:34.359 --> 00:27:42.599 is I think a lot of victims abew survivors don't realize what their legal options 339 00:27:42.680 --> 00:27:47.720 might be. Now, that doesn't mean that they are going to utilize them, 340 00:27:47.759 --> 00:27:52.039 but they don't know what those options are and by the time they decide 341 00:27:52.039 --> 00:27:57.279 they're gonna look into that, the statutes of limitations have expired. So one 342 00:27:57.279 --> 00:28:02.079 bit of advice I would give is if you're somebody who's been sexually victimized, 343 00:28:02.079 --> 00:28:10.119 whether it was last week or last year or ten years ago, um, 344 00:28:10.279 --> 00:28:18.559 go connect as soon as practical, go meet with a trauma informed attorney who 345 00:28:18.599 --> 00:28:26.559 specializes in sexual abuse litigation to at least here from that person. What are 346 00:28:26.599 --> 00:28:30.799 your options, if any, because what I what I'm I don't want to 347 00:28:30.799 --> 00:28:33.400 see is but that by the time you feel like, okay, I'm ready 348 00:28:33.400 --> 00:28:37.640 to go do this, it's too late because of those darn statute limitations. 349 00:28:38.160 --> 00:28:41.440 The sooner you can get in to talk to it a lawyer who don't knows 350 00:28:41.440 --> 00:28:45.000 what they're talking about. This doesn't mean like a lawyer who handles nothing but 351 00:28:45.160 --> 00:28:49.880 car accidents or a lawyer who puts together wills and trusts. Now it's got 352 00:28:49.880 --> 00:28:56.400 to be a lawyer such as myself, but there are others who who's almost 353 00:28:56.400 --> 00:29:00.559 exclusive focus of work is this area of law. Go meet with them. 354 00:29:00.680 --> 00:29:04.079 Doesn't mean just by meeting with them you're not committing to anything, but at 355 00:29:04.160 --> 00:29:08.559 least hear what your options are and the time frame in which you have to 356 00:29:08.640 --> 00:29:12.519 make your decisions, because if you wait too long, by the time you 357 00:29:14.240 --> 00:29:22.160 finally do make that decision, it could be too late. Okay, Um, 358 00:29:22.160 --> 00:29:26.240 what are some of the best things a victim can do to strengthen their 359 00:29:26.240 --> 00:29:34.599 case against their perpetrator? Well, you know, what I don't want is 360 00:29:34.599 --> 00:29:38.599 is my clients going, you know, out there and sort of pulling things 361 00:29:38.599 --> 00:29:42.880 together for their case. Um, you know, I think that that their 362 00:29:42.920 --> 00:29:45.720 case is their case. But what I could say what helps is what I 363 00:29:45.759 --> 00:29:55.279 call coroberation or cooperative evidence. Cooperative evidence is evidence that tends to support in 364 00:29:55.359 --> 00:30:03.359 some way, shape or form, the disclosure of the victim Um. Cooperative 365 00:30:03.359 --> 00:30:11.279 evidence can be anywhere from a confession by the perpetrator to physical evidence. Two 366 00:30:11.359 --> 00:30:14.519 I remember how the case as a prosecutor. The child said that he was 367 00:30:14.559 --> 00:30:19.839 abused by this particular father and the child I asked him to describe the room 368 00:30:19.880 --> 00:30:23.279 and he he just remembers a and I can't remember specificly what animal, but 369 00:30:23.319 --> 00:30:32.720 this is a a pink stuffed elephant on the shelf. Well, I thought, 370 00:30:32.720 --> 00:30:34.519 man, they're going to claim that this child's a liar, he's just 371 00:30:34.599 --> 00:30:38.880 making it up. So I had my investigator going and searched the home and 372 00:30:40.160 --> 00:30:42.720 what did we find on the shelf in that room? A pink stuffed elephant. 373 00:30:44.400 --> 00:30:47.400 That was coroborative evidence. When I was able to bring that forward to 374 00:30:47.440 --> 00:30:52.160 the jury, all that said to the jury was this kid knows what he's 375 00:30:52.200 --> 00:30:56.599 talking about. He remembers the Pink Elephant. They went and found the pink 376 00:30:56.640 --> 00:31:00.240 elephant and it's there. So why should we not believe him for that? 377 00:31:00.559 --> 00:31:03.920 I mean, why should we believe him for that, but not about what 378 00:31:03.079 --> 00:31:10.240 this offender did to him. So thinking through, asking clients to think through 379 00:31:10.279 --> 00:31:14.240 that type of cooperative evidence. I think the other thing that can really really 380 00:31:14.279 --> 00:31:21.279 help strengthen the case, probably more than anything else, is getting your clients 381 00:31:21.319 --> 00:31:27.279 into trauma informed therapy right away. The best witnesses that I have ever had 382 00:31:27.279 --> 00:31:33.839 in these types of cases are witnesses who have been through therapy and, Um, 383 00:31:33.920 --> 00:31:37.559 I know some lawyers that insist that they won't even take the case unless 384 00:31:37.599 --> 00:31:41.599 the client goes to therapy. I don't I haven't gotten to that part point, 385 00:31:41.599 --> 00:31:45.119 because sometimes they just they can't afford it. But if they can, 386 00:31:47.079 --> 00:31:52.799 getting therapy is really it's not only helpful for my case but probably more importantly 387 00:31:52.839 --> 00:31:56.599 of course, it's helpful for that client that they can begin processing this trauma 388 00:31:56.680 --> 00:32:00.160 in a healthy way so that they can move forward with life and not be 389 00:32:00.240 --> 00:32:06.480 stuck. Um. So I think those are two cooperative evidence and, even 390 00:32:06.519 --> 00:32:10.079 more importantly, therapy. Um, what do you do for self care? 391 00:32:14.079 --> 00:32:19.039 I drink a lot. I just Um, I um, I just try 392 00:32:19.079 --> 00:32:22.640 to I try to know boundaries, like you know, I was telling somebody 393 00:32:22.640 --> 00:32:25.839 a group the other day, like I don't. I do very little reading 394 00:32:27.599 --> 00:32:31.160 of books in this area. Um. So people say, did you read 395 00:32:31.200 --> 00:32:35.519 the new book by such and such? You know, because I'm right when 396 00:32:35.559 --> 00:32:37.839 I when I read, I want to read other books. I'm reading now 397 00:32:37.839 --> 00:32:43.519 the biography of Jimmy Carter. I want to read something that's completely unrelated to 398 00:32:43.519 --> 00:32:46.400 what I do all day. Um. I also you have to know how 399 00:32:46.400 --> 00:32:50.839 to turn things off. I've always been pretty good at ever since my day 400 00:32:51.079 --> 00:32:53.400 as as a prosecutor. that. That doesn't mean I don't work at home, 401 00:32:53.400 --> 00:32:59.279 as my wife will tell you differently, but I'm not living and breathing 402 00:32:59.480 --> 00:33:04.920 my work. Um, I know I love to, you know, sit 403 00:33:05.000 --> 00:33:07.880 and read, go swimming, go to the beach, all those types of 404 00:33:07.920 --> 00:33:10.200 things, even though I probably could say, well, I should be homeworking 405 00:33:10.240 --> 00:33:15.359 on this case. That's not healthy for anybody and certainly not good for your 406 00:33:15.359 --> 00:33:17.240 client, because if you get burned out as a lawyer, you're not serving 407 00:33:17.279 --> 00:33:23.759 your client well at all. Okay, and Um, last question. How 408 00:33:23.799 --> 00:33:35.200 has this impacted your faith? That's a whole another program Um. I think 409 00:33:35.640 --> 00:33:40.519 I think it's. I think it has profoundly impacted my faith. I still 410 00:33:40.559 --> 00:33:45.000 have faith, which some days is quite amazing. Um, I doubt a 411 00:33:45.000 --> 00:33:50.279 lot. Probably that a lot more, which I think doubt is is not 412 00:33:50.400 --> 00:33:55.039 necessarily a bad thing. Um, I'm not nearly as black and white as 413 00:33:55.039 --> 00:34:02.279 I used to be or dogmatic. Um, I don't think I have all 414 00:34:02.279 --> 00:34:07.519 the answers when it comes to my faith and I stay away from people who 415 00:34:07.519 --> 00:34:14.199 think they do. Um. Yeah, I mean I I I have a 416 00:34:14.280 --> 00:34:17.719 very low view of the church. A pretty high view of Jesus still, 417 00:34:20.000 --> 00:34:23.400 but I have a pretty low view of the church. Um. So, 418 00:34:23.519 --> 00:34:28.440 yeah, I think I think it's it's prompted me to ask some really good 419 00:34:28.519 --> 00:34:31.480 questions that maybe years ago I might have been afraid to even ask myself. 420 00:34:32.400 --> 00:34:37.280 Um. And so I just I think in many ways I've been given a 421 00:34:37.280 --> 00:34:42.679 different Lens in which to look through my faith and I think that's been a 422 00:34:42.679 --> 00:34:45.320 good thing for me. Um, it's been a healthy thing for me. 423 00:34:45.400 --> 00:34:50.400 I sort of got got out of the small box that I was stuck in 424 00:34:50.559 --> 00:34:57.400 for most of my life when it came to by faith and and I'm glad 425 00:34:57.440 --> 00:35:00.519 to be out of that box. Um. And because I think that's I 426 00:35:00.559 --> 00:35:04.599 don't think. I don't think we find got in a box, I think 427 00:35:04.639 --> 00:35:07.199 we find them outside of it. I definitely agree. Um. Is there 428 00:35:07.239 --> 00:35:12.000 anything else you would like to add. I don't think so, Rachel. 429 00:35:12.000 --> 00:35:15.880 I mean just for for any of your listeners if they like I said earlier, 430 00:35:15.960 --> 00:35:20.719 with regard to the advice I would give victims, Um, if you 431 00:35:21.159 --> 00:35:24.400 if you sell, if you are somebody that has been victimized, don't wait 432 00:35:24.440 --> 00:35:29.639 too long before at least talking to a lawyer and, uh, they can 433 00:35:29.639 --> 00:35:32.599 always reach out to me my websites, spas, law PA DOT com. 434 00:35:34.360 --> 00:35:36.960 Um, they can reach out and if they just want to set up a 435 00:35:36.960 --> 00:35:40.079 free consultation, we can have that conversation with them. Or they may find 436 00:35:40.119 --> 00:35:44.760 somebody Um in there. You know, they may know somebody already. But 437 00:35:44.840 --> 00:35:50.079 I just would encourage survivors listening. Don't wait. Um, doesn't mean you 438 00:35:50.079 --> 00:35:52.039 have to take action right away, but at least know what your options are. 439 00:35:52.599 --> 00:35:57.199 suffore it's too late. Thanks, Bos Um. All right, guys. 440 00:35:57.880 --> 00:36:00.079 Thank you, guys, for listening. Always follow us on Rachel on 441 00:36:00.119 --> 00:36:05.639 recovery, on social media and your favorite podcast platform and if you have any 442 00:36:05.719 --> 00:36:07.840 questions, reach out to Rachel and recovery DOT com. Thanks.

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