Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.
‘My daughter attended an in home daycare in 1994. The home was certified by Fairfax County and Licensed by state of VA. Part of the rules for keeping your license state that all people who live in the home must be disclosed and submit to a background check.
I toured the home and interviewed the babysitter prior to placing my daughter there. She indicated that she, her husband and her two small children lived there and no-one else.
A month or so after my daughter, 4 years old, began attending, she was molested (no penetration) by the nephew of the babysitter. He was a grown man of approx 25 years old and according to later testimony by the family and others he did live there. The police went in immediately and made an arrest. They seized evidence that my daughter had described-a towel that the man used to clean up. My daughters underwear also contained his DNA. A rape kit was done on my daughter that evening and nothing turned up there.
The man was jailed and his bail was set at 100,000.00 He was definitely a flight risk but perhaps that was as high as they could go. The day before the preliminary hearing was scheduled, he was still in jail. The police thought the case was strong and we would get a definite conviction. We met with the commonwealth DA the day before the preliminary, and she informed us that she would probably not be able to get him held over on a rape or child sexual assault crime. She said this is because the only evidence we had was on a towel and her underwear. She said it would all come down to whether my daughter could testify and that no-one as young as her had had testimony accepted in the commonwealth of Virginia.
The next day, it was a moot point, because his family had posted his bail and helped him leave the country (he was a citizen of India). The police assured us that if he ever tried to re-enter the country, he would be apprehended as a fugitive from justice. They told us that my daughter should be prepared to testify at any given time.
We went to an attorney to file a civil suit against the babysitter for negligence. She had not only not reported the nephew as living with her, but she had left my daughter alone with him to go shopping. She lost her license for a short time-and then went right back to babysitting. However, the attorney said that the family didn’t have any assets now and it would be better to wait until they got some and then file.
I know that the family moved out of the apt complex some time ago and into a house. I have reason to think that they are of much greater means now. Do we still have a case?’
Question: The first thing you need to do is check with an attorney in your area to determine whether or not the statute of limitations has run. The statute of limitations governs the legal time limit you have within which to bring a case, and as this incident occurred 17 years ago, it may be that you no longer can file an action.