IA--Lawmaker tries to reform “archaic” abuse law; Victims respond
For immediate release: Friday, Feb. 12, 2016
Iowa lawmakers are trying to reform child safety laws. We applaud this effort.
A new bill has been introduced into the legislature that will protect more kids from child molesters by reforming the state’s archaic, arbitrary and predator-friendly statute of limitations. We wholeheartedly endorse this long-overdue measure that will make families safer from predators.
We applaud Sen. Janet Petersen for her concern for kids, victims and crime prevention. We hope every Iowa lawmaker backs House Bill File 6 so that more adults who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids will be exposed, punished and stopped. We hope legislators will also reform Iowa’s dreadful civil statute of limitations.
The vast majority of child sex offenders go undetected. That’s one reason why one in four girls and one in eight boys are molested.
One reason for such widespread trauma is because short, rigid statutes of limitations prevent victims from using the courts to publicly expose those who commit child sex crimes and deter those who conceal child sex crimes. These legal deadlines reward wrongdoers who successfully intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, discredit whistleblowers, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis and sometimes even flee overseas.
When lawmakers extend or eliminate these deadlines, criminals know they can no longer just “run out the clock” and evade justice.
Adults can either make it harder or easier to catch child molesters. This law would make it easier. We beg Iowa lawmakers to vote for kids and against predators by passing this legislation.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We were founded in 1988 and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
New bill could have big affect on child sexual abuse cases
UPDATED 5:29 PM CST Feb 11, 2016
DES MOINES, Iowa —A new Iowa law being proposed by lawmakers would remove the statute of limitations for victims filing criminal charges in sexual abuse cases.
Right now, the statute of limitations for pressing charges is 10-years after the victim's 18th birthday. After that point, you can't file criminal charges.
Jessica Henderson said she was sexually abused by a family member for nine years from age 6 to 14. Right now, Iowa law prevents her from pressing charges in the case.
"I believe everything that has destroyed my life and made me feel like this, made me feel like nothing is from the abuse," said Henderson.
She now suffers from . . .
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.