April 18, 2005

Sex abuse has no limitations

St. Cloud Times

By Scott Trobec St. Paul

A recent story in the St. Cloud Times ("Bail set for man accused of sex abuse," April 6) said a Stearns County man was charged in the sexual abuse of three young girls more than 20 years ago. While readers may have been struck by the fact that these victims would wait 20 years to report their crime, their case is not unusual.

Because of the effects of guilt, shame and responsibility, child victims of sex abuse often suffer years of trauma, which will frequently cause them not to report the abuse until much later in life, or in some cases, never.

It should be our hope that this case will finally bring justice and peace of mind to these courageous victims, as well as awareness to the difficult issue of reporting child sex abuse.

In an effort to hold offenders who have never been criminally prosecuted accountable, and to deter them from further abuse, Survivors Network Minnesota, a volunteer self-help organization of sexual abuse victims and their supporters, is advocating a clarification of the Minnesota law that would allow child sex abuse victims (as many other states do) to bring civil actions beyond the current six-year statute of limitations.

This change would affirm that post traumatic stress can cause a child victim of sex abuse to delay reporting, and recognizes that it is never too late to report a sex offender and prevent further victimization.

Posted by kshaw at April 18, 2005 08:20 PM