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The statistics for how rare convictions are in rape cases are well known, due to the high burden of proof in something that often differs from something completely legal only by the giving or denying of consent. This got me to wondering...are there any tort laws that one could sue over in a civil venue, and thus face the lower standard of proof? (Albeit with only civil penalties available, still some penalty better than nothing...)

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Yes.

Assault and battery is a tort in every U.S. state and in almost all of them a sexual assault would be actionable in such cases. A prevailing party could recover compensatory economic damages, non-economic damages (i.e. pain and suffering) and punitive damages, in most cases. The dollar amounts that could be recovered would vary from state to state. Usually, a prevailing party would bear their own attorneys' fees but would be awarded their litigation costs (e.g. filing fees, process server fees, photocopying, deposition transcript fees, expert witness fees, etc.).

The statute of limitations for such a civil action is often much shorter than the corresponding criminal statute of limitations. For example, in Colorado, the statute of limitations for such a civil lawsuit is one year from the incident.

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