March 15, 2006

End to limits in abuse cases urged

Boston Globe

By Raja Mishra, Globe Staff | March 15, 2006

Backed by high-profile political allies, advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse urged lawmakers yesterday to eliminate the statute of limitations on sexual crimes against children, a proposal that quietly died in past years but appears to have more momentum this time around.

First at a fiery press conference on the steps of Beacon Hill, then at a lengthy and emotional hearing inside the State House, the advocates argued that sexual abuse victims often take years or decades to come to grips with their abuse and report it to authorities. The advocates say they want to give prosecutors the tools to bring accused abusers to justice no matter how old the crime. Currently, sexual crimes against children that took place 15 or more years ago cannot be prosecuted.

Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, a candidate for governor who was speaking for the Romney administration, called the state's current limits on prosecution outdated, saying, ''The Commonwealth is effectively allowing hundreds of sexual predators to remain free."

The bill has won the backing of Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly, a Democrat also running for governor, as well as 73 members of the Legislature.

Posted by kshaw at March 15, 2006 07:51 AM