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Civil vs. Criminal Consequences: Legal Avenues for Addressing Sexual Harassment

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Have You Been Accused of Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is a serious matter in Ontario. Sexual harassment is a violation of human rights, and sometimes, it’s a crime. If you are accused of criminal sexual harassment in or near Toronto, you must be represented by a Toronto sexual harassment defence lawyer.

Sexual harassment victims have two options for seeking justice. If you report sexual harassment to the police, they will investigate to determine if there is enough evidence to bring a criminal charge. If there is, the Crown prosecutor’s office will file the charge and prosecute the suspect.

The other option is taking action in civil court. A civil sexual harassment claim is not as hard to win as a criminal case, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, if you file a civil claim, you pay no fee to a lawyer unless and until you recover monetary compensation.

When is Sexual Harassment a Crime?

The law that addresses sexual harassment in Ontario is the Ontario Human Rights Code, which defines sexual harassment as discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Under Canada’s Criminal Code, sexual harassment is sometimes a crime.

Sexual assault is one type of sexual harassment that is a criminal offence. It is defined as any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature. You may be sent to prison if you are convicted of sexual assault. There is no time limit or statute of limitations for filing a sexual assault charge.

Stalking is another form of sexual harassment that is also a serious criminal offence. Stalking is defined as making another person feel threatened and unsafe by following that person, repeatedly attempting to communicate with that person, or surveilling that person’s home or place of work.

Should Sexual Harassment Victims File Damage Claims in Civil Court?

Without convincing evidence, it will be almost impossible to convict a person of criminal sexual harassment. While there is no deadline for filing a civil sexual harassment claim that seeks monetary compensation, the sooner such a claim is filed, the more likely it is to prevail.

Demonstrating a sexual harassment defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt is not a requirement in civil court, but sexual harassment victims and their lawyers still must prove that it’s “more likely than not” that an incident of sexual harassment took place.

Any sexual abuse victim in Ontario may bring a civil sexual abuse claim at any time. The victims of sexual abuse – even those who were victimized back when they were children – may sue an abuser for monetary compensation without any deadline or statute of limitations.

Have You Been Charged With Criminal Sexual Harassment?

In or near the Toronto area, if you are being investigated for or charged with any criminal offence of a sexual nature, you must consult an Ontario sexual harassment defence lawyer as quickly as possible and before you speak to the police.

Anything that you say to the police could be misunderstood or twisted and used against you. Let your defence lawyer do the talking on your behalf. Your lawyer will investigate the charge against you, protect your rights, and advocate aggressively for the justice you need.

How Can You Fight a Criminal Sexual Harassment Charge?

If you are charged with criminal sexual harassment, the defence strategy that your Toronto sexual harassment defence lawyer develops on your behalf will depend on the details of the charge. The defences most frequently offered in criminal sexual harassment cases include:

  1.  Consent: Consent is a common defence in criminal sexual harassment cases, but to prevail with this defence, you will need evidence such as eyewitness testimony or copies of texts and emails from the purported victim which indicate that person’s consent.
  2.  Fabrication: Fabricated allegations of criminal sexual harassment are made for many reasons and oftentimes for no apparent reason whatsoever.

It is not easy to divide the truth from the lies in sexual harassment cases. Your Ontario sexual harassment defence lawyer will fight for the truth, but a fabricated sexual harassment charge is like any other false charge. If your case goes to trial, what is “true” may be decided by a jury.

However, if you are facing a criminal sexual harassment charge in or near the Toronto area, in order to convict you, a Crown prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty, and in sexual harassment cases, proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt may not be easy.

How Are Criminal Sexual Harassment Convictions Penalized?

A conviction for criminal sexual harassment may be penalized harshly in Ontario. A convicted offender, for example, may face up to ten years in prison or up to fourteen years in prison if the sexual harassment victim was younger than 16 years old.

Judges take a number of factors into account when they determine the sentence for a criminal sexual harassment conviction. These factors include but are not limited to:

  1.  the circumstances of the harassment incident
  2.  the ages of the offender and the victim
  3.  the offender’s previous criminal history, if any
  4.  whether the victim suffered any physical injury
  5.  the psychological impact of the harassment on the victim

What Else Should You Know About Criminal Sexual Harassment?

If you are taken into police custody and charged with criminal sexual harassment, contact a criminal defence lawyer at your first opportunity. You can’t risk losing your freedom or hurting your family.

You need a defence lawyer who will fight aggressively on your behalf. But with so many lawyers practicing in the Toronto area, how can you find the lawyer who will fight effectively for the justice you need and make your case a priority?

Why Should You Choose William Jaksa Criminal Litigation?

If you are charged with criminal sexual harassment in the Toronto area, now or in the future, defence lawyer William Jaksa will protect your rights and make sure that you are treated fairly and justly at every stage of the legal process.

At William Jaksa Criminal Litigation, our record of success speaks for itself. With nearly two decades of defence experience, Toronto defence lawyer William Jaksa will develop an effective defence strategy on your behalf if you are facing a criminal sexual harassment charge.

Our legal team has built a reputation for legal excellence and outstanding client service in the Toronto area. If you are charged with criminal sexual harassment in or near Toronto, promptly call the offices of William Jaksa Criminal Litigation at 647-951-8078, and let us fight for you.

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