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For a comprehensive look at state-by-state Statute of Limitations click here

The following reflect recent changes that have been implemented and/or are being looked at in some states regarding Statute of Limitations.  As many survivors of the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Jerry Sandusky, et al., are well past most statute of limitations, the following changes become very important in seeking redress for the abuses suffered as small children.  This is encouraging news and, I hope, helpful to some here.


A state senator on Friday sought to get rid of the statute of limitations  preventing some victims of child molestation from suing their abusers.
Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, said current law requires that victims sue by their 26th birthday, or within three years of the date they discovered their psychological trauma was linked to sexual abuse during their youth.

He said Senate Bill 131, if approved, would help victims whose repressed memories of the abuse did not surface until after their deadline to file a lawsuit expired.

If SB 131 is signed into law, it would eliminate the statute of limitations for actions that occur after Jan. 1, 2014. The bill contains a retroactivity clause for certain cases prior to that date.


In 2010, Florida made sweeping changes to their Statute of Limitation Laws (note the last line in this excerpt):
on May 11, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist signed into law Florida House Bill 525 eliminat[ing] the statute of limitations on both criminal and civil claims relating to children under the age of 16.

The new law goes into effect and applies to any claim that would not have been barred by the existing statute of limitations as of July 1, 2010.

The main opponent lobbying against the new law was the Catholic Church.


A Missouri task force that spent a year studying ways to prevent child sexual abuse is offering 22 recommendations to the governor, lawmakers and the State Board of Education.

In a report released Thursday, the task force recommends changing Missouri law to require that people legally obligated to report suspected abuse contact the state's Children's Division directly. The existing law allows so-called mandatory reporters to notify someone in their own organizations.

The panel also recommends eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecuting first-degree statutory rape and statutory sodomy.


Lawmakers [in Pennsylvania] announced another push to do away with the statute of limitations on reporting child sex abuse. The legislation would allow sex abuse victims an unlimited amount time to go after their abusers.


OLYMPIA – Washington may extend the statute of limitations on cases of child rape, making it possible to convict some predators after their victims grow up.

Senate Bill 5100 would allow rape cases involving victims under 18 to be prosecuted until the victim turns 30, remove the one-year reporting requirement and expand the statute of limitations for other sex crimes involving minors like child molestation and indecent liberties.

Special note for those military veterans who are survivors

In a lawsuit filed yesterday,  a military veteran who was abused over 25 years ago filed suit against the Boy Scouts of America.  According to the article:  
His lawsuit is possible, in part, due to federal legislation that makes the statute of limitations for his claims—which may otherwise have expired—inoperable during his years of military service. That statute, the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, provides protection to all members of the U.S. military who suffered abuse prior to entering active service.

Originally posted to TreeClimbers on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 05:32 AM PST.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS and DKos Pennsylvania.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (24+ / 0-)

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by Roxine on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 05:32:22 AM PST

  •  Thanks for posting, Roxine n/t (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Roxine, sturunner

    When the government wants to keep something secret, assume the protected information would either embarrass officials or outrage people -- or both.

    by Lisa Lockwood on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 05:45:47 AM PST

  •  Arizona has two exceptions to its statute (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mannie, Roxine, sturunner

    Murder and sexual assault.  Been that way since I was able to trace the law (early 1970's).    It's funny how the statute laws don't actually follow the dominant politics of the state.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 05:48:53 AM PST

  •  I have been contacted by many with questions (6+ / 0-)

    regarding the statute of limitations.  Boy scouts who were abused 20, 30, 40 years ago are wanting to know if they can even seek redress before coming forward with their stories.  Some are in the public eye and, as survivors, are obviously hesitant to relive their traumas, but feel compelled to speak out.

    Anyway - This shows at least there is progress being made and perhaps for some, who choose to press charges, they won't be curtailed by the statute of limitations.  One less stumbling a whole host of blocks.

    "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

    by Roxine on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 05:53:11 AM PST

  •  I googled my own state of Indiana and was shocked (3+ / 0-)

    2 years....2 freaking years. 5 with some exceptions and only no limitation if violence was used.

    Same goes for civil court as well.

    That's just an atrocity.

    --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

    by idbecrazyif on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:06:34 AM PST

  •  This is pleasing news, thanks. (3+ / 0-)

    Folks NOT pleased by this news, generally, are guardians of the status quo, who really want society's treatment of children swept under the rug. These particularly include the False Memory (TM) people.

    The FM people were so active during the 1980s, and you barely even here about them anymore. Meanwhile, the pro-survivor movement is surging, particularly online.

    Could be FM-ers have realized their approach is essentially futile as the lid really starts coming off this stuff.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:41:05 AM PST

  •  New Mexico (3+ / 0-)

    The Statute of Limitations is tolled until the child turns 18 or the incident is reported to law enforcement.  A recent case turned on the issue of whether CYFD (Children, Youth and Families Dep't) was Law Enforcement) for the purpose of the statute.  

    The applicable time period for commencing prosecution pursuant to Section 30-1-8 NMSA 1978 shall not commence to run for an alleged violation of Section 30-6-1, 30-9-11 or 30-9-13 NMSA 1978 until the victim attains the age of eighteen or the violation is reported to a law enforcement agency, whichever occurs first.
    There is no limitation on a 1st Degree felony. Six years on  a 2nd Degree and 5 years on a 3rd Degree.  It is a 1st Degree Felony for any Sexual Act with a Child under 13.  The NM Legislature changed Sexual Contact on a Minor by for force or coercion or by one in a postition of authority from a 3rd to 2nd in 2002.

    The effect of the change is that an individual has until their 24th birthday to report the actions to law enforcement for a prosecution to proceed.  Of course, that still leaves a lot of evidentiary issues.

    Dick Cheney said, "Pi$$ on 'em!" And, Ronald Reagan replied, "That's a Great Idea. Let's Call it 'Trickle Down Economics!"

    by NM Ray on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 06:43:31 AM PST

  •  Texas -- no statute of limitations (6+ / 0-)

    for sexual assault of a child.

    Art. 12.01.  FELONIES.  Except as provided in Article 12.03, felony indictments may be presented within these limits, and not afterward:
    (1)  no limitation:
    (A)  murder and manslaughter;
    (B)  sexual assault under Section 22.011(a)(2), Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021(a)(1)(B), Penal Code;
    (C)  sexual assault, if during the investigation of the offense biological matter is collected and subjected to forensic DNA testing and the testing results show that the matter does not match the victim or any other person whose identity is readily ascertained;
    (D)  continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Section 21.02, Penal Code;
    (E)  indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code;
    Texas Code of Criminal Procedure

    Removing the SOL for sexual assaultive offenses against children was enacted by the Legislature in 2007.

  •  making progress one step at a time is good news... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roxine, sturunner

    thanks for posting...

    Sunlight is awesome...keep shining that light...

    "It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment." *Ansel Adams* ."Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."*Will Rogers*

    by Statusquomustgo on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 07:19:04 AM PST

  •  Did you see that there were more convictions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:27:52 AM PST

    •  I did see this - thanks for providing the link (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aravir, sturunner

      The verdicts are coming fast and furious - and I am collecting and compiling many of these into a collective look at how far we've come over the past year or so with regards to talking about child sexual abuse and how far the media has come in reporting.

      "...I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul" Invictus - William Ernest Henley Please donate to TREE Climbers, our 501(c)(3).

      by Roxine on Thu Jan 31, 2013 at 09:51:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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