Spitzer Law Blog

Spitzer Law Blog

News & Views on Victims' RIghts

Former Swim Coach Pays Jane Doe $15,000 for Psychological Trauma under California Law

By Todd Spitzer, Attorney at Law and Victims' Advocate

On Wednesday, February 29, 2012, a settlement was reached in the restitution hearing of the People of the State of California versus Todd Sousa.  Sousa pled guilty for engaging in various unlawful sex acts with my client Jane Doe.  Sousa had pled guilty in a plea deal with the Judge to  those crimes and was sentenced to sixteen months in state prison and to register as a convicted sex offender for life.

Under California law, victims of sex crimes enumerated under Penal code section 288 (Lewd Act Upon a Child) are eligible for not only traditional damages such as medical bills and lost wages, but also for psychological trauma, referred to as non-economic damages.

In a settlement negotiated this week, Sousa agreed to pay $15,000 cash now and continue to be responsible for the expenses related to mental health counseling for Jane Doe and her family for an indefinite period.

Crime victims, unfortunately, can get orders from convicted felons to pay restitution.  However, in the case of Sousa, who will be a convicted child molester when released from prison, it will be very difficult for him to gain lawful and steady employment.  That was the motivating factor in why my client settled for $15,000 now versus having an order for a larger amount that would probably never been paid by Sousa.

Here is the original article when Sousa was arrested:



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