West Palm Beach Man Accused of Sexually Abusing Disabled Woman
A West Palm Beach man is being held without bond after being arrested for sexually abusing a disabled woman in her home. Antonio Rivera Jr., 31, is facing charges of burglary, assault and battery, and sexual assault of a handicapped person after he abused an “extremely handicapped” woman with ALS.
Mr. Rivera was arrested last week after climbing through the window of a former girlfriend’s home and inappropriately touching a 28-year-old disabled woman in a bedroom inside the home, also located in West Palm Beach. The former girlfriend was outside of the house when the attack occurred.
The former girlfriend told police that Mr. Rivera showed up at the house with a friend unannounced and appeared highly intoxicated. She asked them to leave and believed that they both had left until she found Mr. Rivera in the woman’s bedroom.
The victim cannot communicate verbally and spoke through text messages with the police. She told authorities that Mr. Rivera sat on her bed, held her hand, tried to kiss her, and then touched her inappropriately between her legs. The disabled woman’s daughter, whose age was not released, was asleep in the same room at the time of the incident.
A friend arrived at the home and walked into the bedroom while the attack was happening. He told police that the disabled woman, who cannot walk or talk, appeared to be in a panic. After his arrest, Mr. Rivera tried to tell police that he was never in the house or the bedroom, despite being seen by three different witnesses.
Florida Sexual Abuse
According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey in 2010, over 41% of women, around 3.1 million people, have been sexually victimized in Florida. A study of women with mobility or both mobility and cognitive impairment found that participants faced twice the rate of lifetime physical and sexual abuse reported than women without disabilities.
Many victims of sexual abuse are not aware that Florida allows civil lawsuits to be filed by a victim against their attacker. The civil claims are meant to try and compensate the victim for the pain and horror of the abuse suffered. If the abuse happens when the victim is a minor, there is no statute of limitations on when the lawsuit can be brought. If the abuse happened when the victim was an adult, there is a four-year time limit imposed to bring the claim. If you or a loved one is considering filing a sexual abuse civil suit you should speak with an experienced attorney about your legal options.
Call a West Palm Beach Sexual Abuse Attorney Today
Dealing with the trauma of sexual abuse can take years, and when the victim is particularly vulnerable the abuse is even more unimaginable. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse in the West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, or greater Florida area, let the experienced attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associates, P.A. help. Call the office at (561) 686-1800 or contact us today for a free and confidential review of your case.