Sexual abuse can have a traumatic and lasting impact on a victim’s life, and perpetrators of these crimes should be prosecuted criminally. Many victims are unaware of the course of action they can take through the civil justice system against their attacker. While a civil lawsuit cannot cure the pain related to sexual assault, it can help compensate the victim for their physical injuries and help them through the healing process.

Civil vs. Criminal cases

Civil and Criminal cases can be similar, and the same misconduct can fall under both, but there are distinct differences. The criminal judicial system is meant to hold the perpetrator accountable and the sentence can often be several years in prison.  The decision to prosecute a criminal case is at the sole discretion of the district attorney’s office. The civil judicial system is for a victim to assert their claims in order to recover damages for their injuries. In civil courts, it’s the victim who decides who to sue and what types of legal claims to assert. 

Some of the criminal charges may include:

  • Sexual Assault
  • Improper Photography or visual recording
  • Inappropriate sexual contact by a doctor/massage therapist
  • Improper Relationship between a teacher and student
  • Sexual misconduct by Clergy, or church officials
  • Sexual Assault of a Child
  • Indecency with a child

Types of Sexual Assault Cases – Children victims

  • By Church clergy, priests, ministers, religious leaders
  • Related to organizations such as Boy Scouts of America, Karate instructors, and gymnastics and sports coaches
  • At daycare, after-school programs, and private schools
  • At home

Types of Sexual Assault Cases – Adult victims

  • Apartment Complex
  • Retail Store
  • Place of work / Employer
  • Massage
  • Professional Executives, Athletes, and other individuals

Statute of Limitations

  • New law passed
  • Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

For several years, Zeke worked with the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County to ensure that children who were victims of crimes would be taken care of physically and emotionally.  We are dedicated to making sure sexual predators pay for their actions.

Contact Fortenberry Firm

Contact the Fortenberry Firm today so that we can help ensure you are compensated for your losses.  There are no out-of-pocket expenses for any client. If you or a loved one has been injured, let us discuss how we can help you, initial consultations are entirely free.



In 2016, Zeke Fortenberry was the lead attorney in prosecuting Ubaldo Zapuche-Landaverde for sexually assaulting a young girl over a five year period. For more information on this case, click here. This is one of many examples of the types of sexual assault cases Zeke handled while working in the Crimes Against Children division of the District Attorney’s office.