March 17, 2006

Bring abusers to justice

Boston Herald

The stories of childhood sexual abuse are heart-wrenching - tales of innocence shattered, childhoods stolen. And the only thing worse than hearing the stories, especially from the lips of the victims themselves, now grown to adulthood, is to hear their anguish when the sexual predator escapes punishment - not because he has vanished, but because for too many years the victim either couldn’t remember or couldn’t speak of the horror endured.

State law gives the victims of childhood sexual abuse a window of opportunity to come forward - 15 years after turning age 16. Only if the accused leaves the state - as did several of the priests later charged with sexually abusing young parishioners - does the clock stop ticking on the statute of limitations.

It shouldn’t have to come to that. There is, of course, no statute of limitations on murder. Lifting the statute of limitations on the sexual abuse of a child acknowledges the special circumstances of such cases. But it would also send a message - a message that we live in a society that so abhors the abuse of children that it is willing to waive that arbitrary window for devulging and prosecuting this most heinous of crimes.

Posted by kshaw at March 17, 2006 08:20 AM