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FAQ Statutes Of Limitations

vanwieincourt

Pedophile up for release

Louis Van Wie, who admitted to sexually abusing over a hundred children, most of whom were barred from court due to the Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse, is about to get released from prison and that is terrifying neighbors and victims

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law29n-1-web

N.Y. man who confessed to sexually abusing more than 100 kids set to be released from prison

A man who admitted to sexually abusing over a hundred children was convicted of abusing only two, because of New York’s Statute of Limitations on the crime. He served his sentence and now is about to be released.

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guam

3 more child sex abuse lawsuits filed against Guam priests

After passing the Child Victims Act, more sexual abuse survivors in Guam are bringing suits against their abusers, including Catholic clergy

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Dolan2

The Catholic Church has a plan to compensate sexual-abuse victims, but many will get nothing

One diocese has come up with a commission to provide financial compensation to clergy sex abuse victims. But they are making it hard to access and are putting so loopholes in it that will likely bar most victims from using it.

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Vatican officials were questioned in December over why the Holy See would not open its files on priests known to be child abusers

Minnesota archdiocese offers $132 million to settle sex abuse claims

A bankruptcy judge has decided the Minnesota diocese isn’t as impoverished as it said it was, and they have more than doubled the sum of money available to clergy abuse victims.

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guam

4 former altar boys sue Guam priests they say sexually abused them

After Guam passed the Child Victims Act, several survivors of clergy abuse are coming forward

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st-mary-parish

Until church, Legislature deal with this issue, it is still news

Despite record media coverage and pleas from victims, the Albany diocese and local politicians are re-hashing old excuses about the Catholic Church’s culpability in child sexual abuse scandels and the Child Victims Act

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spider-pumpkin

A Halloween Treat for our readers

A piece of fiction that conveys the truth about child sexual abuse and Halloween

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Pa. legislators abandon bill to extend rights of child sex-abuse victims

The Child Victims Act in Pennsylvania, which removes the Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse and has a retroactive piece for people already victimized has stalled in the legislator and won’t pass this session

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guam

Guam leader Oks bill ending time limits in child sex cases

Guam’s governor signed the bill that will end the Statute of Limitations for the territory, despite objections from the Catholic church

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pennpresident

Judge weighs dismissal of Penn State ex-officials’ charges

A trial to dismiss the convictions of administrators in Penn State who were convicted in relation to Jerry Sandusky’s will start soon

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rape_culture_2

Conscious Capitalism: This is Rape Culture

The relationship between Whole Foods, the Conscious Capitalism conference, and confessed child rapist Marc Gafni shows how willing our society is to accommodate sexual abuse.

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sicko

Lawmakers are enabling sexual predators

The details of Arthur Gannon’s sexual abuse crimes are shocking and sickening. But what’s more shocking is that his crimes were almost beyond prosecution, due to New York’s Statute of Limitations on child sexual abuse. Advocates have been trying to remove the Statute of Limitations for a decade, and voters should remember who supported it and who opposed it when they take to the polls.

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Dolan2

Cardinal Dolan still opposes the one bill that would make a real difference

Cardinal Dolan is trying to appear supportive of victims of child sexual abuse, but the legislation and compensation program he supports are nothing but smoke and mirrors.

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hastert

After Hastert, Illinois pushes for change to child abuse law

In light of the fact that Dennis Hastert wasn’t able to be charged with child sexual abuse, despite confessing to it, Illinois is considering elimination of its Statute of Limitations for child sexual abuse

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Frequently Asked Questions

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What are Statutes of Limitations?

They are laws that say that a survivor of sexual abuse cannot bring their case to trial after they reach a certain age. In many states the statute of limitations is the victim’s 18th birthday, or a few years after their 18th birthday. It takes the average survivor 21 years to overcome the shame and stigma of abuse. That’s why the Stop Abuse Campaign supports bills that eliminate both the criminal and civil statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse.

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Aren't most cases fabricated?

Research shows it is very rare for adults or children to fabricate a claim of sexual abuse. If they try, they will usually be caught during their initial questioning by the police. The fact that evidence fades over time means it is very hard to convict a decades old case. But it happens and we encourage all survivors to report their abuse when they can.

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How can you prove you were sexually abused years ago

Even if a child discloses sexual abuse when they are still a child, it is exceptionally rare for them to disclose it immediately after the abuse happens. They often wait months or years. Prosecutors are used to prosecuting cases where a lot of time has elapsed between the abuse and the trial. Children are notoriously poor witnesses. They often have only moderate effect, with their developmental abilities brought into question. Judges and juries often expect to see medical evidence. Adult witnesses have some advantages that children do not. Adult victims of the same abusers can meet and corroborate. They can sometimes get their abuser to confess. They can speak more articulately. And they can seek appropriate medical and psychological treatment for themselves.

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Don't statutes of limitations exist for a reason?

Yes, they do. Usually most people are interested in prosecuting a crime immediately after they have victimized. Their is usually more evidence that a crime has been committed immediately after the crime has been committed. Child sex abuse is different. Children cannot press charges themselves. They often don’t have an adult who believes or advocates for them. Children rarely name their abuser while they are still children. A recent study shows it takes survivors, on average, 21 years before they can speak about their abuse. As the average age of first victimization is 9 years old the problem that SOL’s cause by locking survivors out of courts is clear. There are no statutes of limitations for murder in any state. Many cities have no statutes of limitations for parking tickets. And that’s why some states, like North Carolina, have removed their statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse.

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Doesn't it make more sense to focus on recent crimes?

Sex offenders rarely stop offending until they are held accountable. Since offenders will offend from adolescence until their eighties prosecuting old crimes protects a lot of today’s children. Studies show sex offenders often having up to three hundred victims throughout their lives. This means that every opportunity to prosecute them is a real opportunity to protect children.

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Why do SOL's need to be changed in civil court too?

Retroactive justice in criminal courts is unconstitutional. So when an adult survivor is too old to seek justice in criminal court because SOL’s have expired changing the criminal SOL’s is not enough. Retroactively suing your abuser for damages in civil court is constitutional, if the state passes a law allowing for it. Survivors seek justice for many reasons, protecting children from the consequences they themselves have endured is usually top of their list. Where criminal courts cannot act civil courts can. This way lists of offenders found liable in civil court can be published and can be used in background checks.

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Surely children will disclose abuse to protect themselves

Abusers use lot’s of techniques to stop children from disclosing. They will threaten and manipulate the children. They often become a major part of the child’s life; providing them with love, security, gifts, attention and other helpful hooks. Grooming desensitizes children to touch, including sexual touch, over time. Around half of abusers are a part of the child’s family. Relatives rarely suspect each other, and statistically are unlikely to believe or help a child who discloses to them.

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Isn't it better to teach survivors to forgive and move on with their lives?

SOL reform is mostly about protecting today’s children although some survivors find the experience of bringing their abuser to trial healing. Others find forgiving their abuser is healing. For many survivors though the two are not incompatible. Being sexually abused raises your ACE score, and costs survivors an estimated $210,000 in medical care and lost earnings, regardless of whether they forgive their abuser or not. The way one survivor chooses to heal should not prevent another survivor’s right to bring their abuser to court, nor should it deny future children the right to be protected from abuse.


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