In a move heralded as a major step towards justice for sex abuse victims, the Minnesota legislature is considering two bills with major implications. The bills would abolish the statute of limitations for civil child sex abuse cases. Minnesota’s House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill, HF681. A companion bill, SF534, is now being considered in the Senate. If passed in the Senate, the two bills will be reconciled by a legislative committee, and a final bill would then be presented to Minnesota’s governor.
There are three major aspects of the House bill’s amendments to Minnesota’s child sex abuse statute of limitations. Click here to read the proposed law, the Minnesota Child Victims Act.
1. Subdivision 2, Part (a)(2) would abolish the statute of limitations for all child molestation and child sex abuse victims. However, under section (a)(1), sex abuse victims who are over the age of 18 years old when the abuse occurred have 6 years after the abuse occurred to file suit.
2. Subdivision 4 would limit the statute of limitations in certain cases involving employers of sexual abusers or other persons/businesses responsible for the abuser. Those cases must be brought within 6 years of the date of the abuse. If the victim was under the age of 18 when the abuse occurred, the case must be brought before the victim’s 24th birthday.
3. Subdivision 5 sets the applicability and effective date of the proposed law. Under subsection (a), the new statute of limitations would apply to all cases of abuse which occur after the law is enacted-which would be the day after final enactment. Subsection (b) opens a window of time in which any victim of child sex abuse could bring a civil claim. In other words, victims of child abuse whose civil cases were too old or time-barred would be able to bring their cases for a small period of time – 3 years after the proposed law is enacted.
This bill is crucial in helping victims of child sex abuse. The incredible trauma of child sex abuse often leaves victims unable to even speak of the abuse until well into adulthood, when it is too late to seek justice in the civil courts. Not surprisingly, the bill is being opposed by religious and school lobbyist groups – those who may be harmed by this bill. Minnesota residents should urge their legislators, especially their senators, to vote on passing this bill.
Child Sex Abuse Lawyer – Representation by a Former Prosecutor
Firm founder, Brian Kent, is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor and offers a free, confidential consultation for all victims of sex abuse. Call Click To Call. Read more about PA and NJ sex abuse lawyer Brian Kent here.
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