Bill Eliminating Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Civil Suits Heads to Biden’s Desk
October 1, 2022
The Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act successfully made its way through the house before then making it onto President Biden’s desk. The bill was signed by President Biden on September 16, 2022. The Senate also agreed to the bill unanimously, putting the bill into place.
What is the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act?
The Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act removes the statute of limitations for minors who file a civil claim related to a child sex abuse case. This covers a wide range of sex crimes, including forced labor, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children, and sex trafficking.
The current law only allows minors to file a claim until they turn 28 or up to 10 years after the violation or injury is identified. Currently, there is no statute of limitations for child sexual abuse criminal offenses. Those involved in making the bill argue that child abuse survivors often delay reporting the crime, which could limit their eligibility for damages. It can take many years for someone to process their trauma or realize the full extent of their injuries. They argue that having a statute of limitations on civil cases ultimately protects the abuser.
Essential Things to Know About the Child Sex Abuse Bill
It’s important to note that even once this bill is active, it does have limitations. First, the law isn’t retroactive, meaning it won’t apply to previous cases or victims. Second, the law only applies to federal cases. The bill also has limitations with tort laws. When sexual abuse cases are filed against churches or schools for things like negligent hiring or improper retention, the bill may do very little to help the victims.
It’s also important to note that while getting rid of time limits is a good start to protecting victims’ rights, time is still of the essence. Victims will still have to prove their case in court with undeniable evidence. The problem with waiting too long to file a claim is that much of the needed evidence can be lost.
Pennsylvania Child Sex Abuse Crimes
This bill solely aims to protect a victim’s right to seek compensation in a civil court. It doesn’t affect the criminal consequences that come with child sex abuse crimes. The legal consequences in Pennsylvania for child sex abuse crimes vary, depending on the crime’s degree and details.
Potential consequences include paid restitution, community service, a permanent criminal record, and even jail time. Those charged and convicted of a child sex abuse crime in Pennsylvania may also be required to register with Megan’s Law. Megan’s Law is a public database of convicted sex offenders. This information is available to the people within a community.
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