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As of January 1, 2014 a child sex abuse victim has 20 years after reaching the age 18 to file civil lawsuit against their abusers.

Brian L. Polinske
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Edwardsville Criminal Defense Trial Lawyer

The recent change in law extending the statute of limitations to 20 years for those subjected to child sex abuse has broadened the potentital liability for those who engage in abusive behavior.  The change was a result of clergy abuse cases that have been given notoriety the last decade.  The fact that repressed memories oftentimes delay the ability of an abuse victim to determine first that they are a victim and secondly who perpetrated the abuse upon them oftentimes resulted in victims not realizing they had been a victim for many years after they reached the age of majority.  With the new law controlling the limitations upon these actions victims have been given a large time frame within which to file such lawsuits.

This change in law will definitely make it more difficult for the defendants to prepare meaningful defenses.  And it will create difficult plaintiff scenarios where expert witnesses or treaters will necessarily have to testify regarding repressed memories, accuracy of those memories, and other concepts that will be difficult for juries to grasp.  Nonetheless, it is a welcome change to the older five (5) year statute of limitations.

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