Friday, September 22, 2006

Longer Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse

Lt. Governor Kerry Healey yesterday signed St.2006, c.303, amending MGL c.266, s.63 by increasing the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution of child sexual abuse from 15 to 27 years. If the victim is “under the age of sixteen at the time such crime is committed, the period of limitation for prosecution shall not commence until the victim has reached the age of sixteen or the violation is reported to a law enforcement agency, whichever occurs earlier,” so a victim could potentially not report the crime until they are 43 years old. The law also tightens reporting and supervision requirements for convicted sex offenders. More information is available from the Springfield Republican.

The new law does not change the statute of limitations for civil suits for damages in sexual abuse cases. That law, MGL c. 260 s. 4C, provides that suits must be brought “within three years of the acts alleged to have caused an injury or condition or within three years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that an emotional or psychological injury or condition was caused by said act, whichever period expires later.” More information is available at Statutes of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse in Civil Cases.