Can I sue someone who has already served a prison sentence for emotional distress?

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Can I sue someone who has already served a prison sentence for emotional distress?

When I was 3 years old, my stepfather molested me in MO. He was jailed for sodomy. His sentence was for 2 years but he was out early on good behavior. I am now an adult. I live with PTSD and severe anxiety. I wish to sue him for pain and suffering caused by his actions and emotional distress. I suffer now because of his actions in the past. I also wish to confront my abuser as an adult as I did not get a chance as a child, the decisions were made for me, for my protection. I would also like to add, that this man threatened myself and my family and killed my dog in front of me in hopes to insure my silence. This has effected me.

Asked on July 25, 2018 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

While you need to check whether you are still in time in your state to sue for those various acts and injuries (that is, that you are not out of time under your state's "statute of limitations," or time within which you much file a lawsuit), there is in principal no reason you couldn't sue him. Criminal cases and civil cases are separate: that someone was already punished by criminal law (e.g. convicted; spent time in jail) has no bearing on the ability to sue them in civil (non-criminal) court for compensation for the harm they caused. It would be worth your while to consult with a personal injury attorney, especially one with experience in your state in sexaul abuse cases, about your situation. Good luck.


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