June 4, 2019

Vermont Completely Removes Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Cases

Vermont sets an impressive standard for the rest of the US by completely abolishing their civil statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases. Last week, Governor Phil Scott signed H.330, which repealed the six-year statute of limitations for child sexual assault cases. Eliminating the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases opens the door to justice wide open for victims who still suffer from the crimes inflicted on them in the past or recently discovered their abuse. 

Prior to the bill’s signing, the House Judiciary Committee heard the powerful testimony of a 60-year-old sex abuse victim who, though abused as a teenager, is still grappling with the ramifications of his abuse. “The person we heard from (Wednesday), he’s talking about something that happened over half a century ago but clearly, still very real, still very on his mind, still very much (something) he’s working through,” stated Rep. William Notte, a committee member. “It is hard to overestimate the damage that could be done to young victims of sexual abuse.” The passing of this bill allows for survivors previously barred by time restrictions to sue the person or institution behind their abuse. There are no "lookback windows" or limits on the victim’s age when bringing action against their abuser.

Not only did Gov. Scott sign H.330 but H.511, as well. H.5111 removes the criminal statute of limitations for sexual exploitation of a minor, a powerful bill that works well alongside of H.330. After signing the bills into law, Gov. Scott said “Together, these laws give victims greater opportunity to seek justice, better recognizing the complex nature of these specific crimes and giving victims and their families more tools to achieve the justice they deserve.”

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