My representative in the Virginia House of Delegates, Rep. Dave Albo, sent his constitutents a letter recently with some interesting news. He had been a guardian ad litem for abused and neglected kids in the 1980s and had witnessed the horrific impact of child molestation. So he was surprised to find out that the statute of limitations in Virginia for civil suits against a molester was only 2 years. To provide a much longer period within which the victim may exercise 7th Amendment rights and recover damages from the molester to pay for treatment, Rep. Albo sponsored HB 1476 to increase the statute of limitations to 25 years (see the last paragraph of the linked document). The House of Delegates passed the bill with a statute of limitations of just 8 years from the abuse, or in the case of a victim suffering from repressed memory syndrome, from the date the abuse is remembered. The state Senate increased that period to 20 years, and the House of Delegates accepted the Senate amendment as the Virginia legislative session drew to a close. I would note that there is no statute of limitations for a criminal charge. The bill awaits the Governor’s signature, and I assume he will sign the bill.
Congratulations to Rep. Albo for his vigilance on behalf of the victims of child sexual abuse. I hope 7th Amendment champions and state legislatures across the country will review their state laws and appropriately increase the statutes of limitations for civil suits against child sexual abusers. This should be a nationwide effort.