Couple Charged for Five Years of Child Sexual Abuse
A man in Bradenton and his live-in girlfriend have been arrested in a disturbing case of child abuse that the authorities say lasted for over five years. Shawn Ussery, 42, and Amy Muse, 37, are charged with child abuse, child abuse failure to protect, and lewd and lascivious exhibition. The report stated that Mr. Ussery sexually assaulted the children for five years, in addition to other kinds of abuse, and Ms. Muse did nothing to stop it.
Mr. Ussery is charged with sexually abusing all three children over the course of five years. In addition, he smoked methamphetamine with one of the children only three days prior to the couple’s arrest. Ms. Muse reportedly committed sex acts with Mr. Ussery and forced her children to watch when she became jealous of the attention that he was giving her children, stating “he was mine first.”
Law enforcement received a tip that Mr. Ussery was abusing his girlfriend’s children, and when interviewed the children confirmed the abuse. Mr. Ussery and Ms. Muse are facing ten counts of sexual battery, sixteen counts of capital sexual battery, and a single count of aggravated child abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse
In the United States, fifteen percent of all sexual abuse victims are under the age of twelve, and an additional twenty-nine percent are between the ages of twelve and seventeen. In ninety-three percent of juvenile sexual assault cases the victim knows the attacker. The prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported, and experts agree that the rate of child sexual abuse is greater than what is reported to authorities.
Child sexual abuse happens in many ways, including touching and non-touching acts. Some children do not realize until they are older that they were the victims of sexual abuse. Touching acts of child sexual abuse include:
- Touching the genitals of a child for sexual purposes;
- Making a child touch another person’s genitals or play sexual games; and
- Putting objects or body parts into the private parts of a child for sexual purposes.
Non-touching acts can also be considered child sexual abuse. These types of acts include:
- Showing pornography to a child;
- Deliberately exposing an adult’s genitals to a child;
- Photographing a child in sexual positions; and
- Encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts.
Florida Sexual Abuse Civil Lawsuits
In Florida, the victims of sexual abuse can file a civil lawsuit against their attacker. The lawsuit is designed to compensate the victim for the damages sustained as a result of the abuse. Under the law, civil lawsuits for sexual offenses that occurred before the victim was sixteen can be brought at any time, and a statute of limitations no longer exists. For sexual abuse cases that occurred after the victim was sixteen, a civil lawsuit can still be filed against the attacker, but it must be made within a certain period of time.
A Florida Sexual Abuse Attorney Can Help
The trauma of sexual abuse, especially child sexual abuse, can take years of therapy and rehabilitation to recover from. The physical, emotional, mental, and financial toll of such abuse can feel insurmountable. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse in the West Palm, Palm Beach, or greater Florida area, let the law office of Gary Roberts & Associates, P.A. help. Call the office at (561) 686-1800 or contact us online today for a free and confidential review of your case.