February 17, 2005

Statute of Limitations Targeted in Abuse Cases

Washington Post

By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 17, 2005; Page A11

BOSTON, Feb. 16 -- The day after the sentencing of one of the most notorious figures in this region's three-year-old clergy abuse crisis, lawmakers and victims advocates said Wednesday they are building momentum to repeal statutes of limitations that have prevented other abusers from facing lawsuits and prosecution.

Under Massachusetts law, rape cases must be brought within 15 years of the incident being reported to law enforcement or, in the case of a child, 15 years of the accuser's 16th birthday, whichever comes first.

Other sex crimes have shorter statutes of limitations.

As a result, few priests implicated in the ongoing scandal in the Roman Catholic Church have faced charges, leading to widespread frustration among abuse victims.

"We need to allow victims to deal with their victimization and come forward at a time that's appropriate to them," state Rep. Ronald Mariano (D) said at the statehouse in a news conference with abuse victims and a bipartisan group of legislators.

Posted by kshaw at February 17, 2005 09:31 AM