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State senator to draft bill eliminating statute of limitations in sex assault cases

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A state senator is drafting a bill that would eliminate the time frame sexual assault victims have to pursue legal action against their attackers.

Martha Fuller Clark, a Portsmouth Democrat, plans to sponsor legislation in the 2017 session that would remove the six-year limitation in felony cases involving adult victims, according to a statement issued Thursday.

Fuller Clark clarified by phone that she is also looking to eliminate the time restriction in child sexual abuse cases, which is longer, but, she argues, still insufficient.

The current statute gives prosecutors 22 years from the child’s 18th birthday – so until age 40 – to file sexual assault charges. Those same victims have less time to file a civil lawsuit; the state statute gives child victims until age 30 to seek damages.

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1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

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