Criminal Justice

Lawmakers Should Consider Extending Statutes of Limitation for Child Sexual Abuse, Resolution Says

A resolution calling on governments to consider extending their statutes of limitation for child sexual abuse has won approval from the ABA House of Delegates.

Resolution 107A says governments should review these time limits for prosecution to determine whether they should be extended, given special factors such as the age of the victim, the inability to report, and the abuse of trust.

Seventeen states have eliminated statutes of limitation for the prosecution of most sexual offenses against children, seven of them as a result of statutes eliminating any time limit on prosecutions of felonies, according to a report to the House of Delegates. Six other states allow prosecutions of child sexual abuse for at least 20 years after the victim turns 18.

“When it comes to sexual abuse crimes against a vulnerable class,” the report says, “society’s interest in justice exceeds the time period provided in the statute of limitations.”

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