UT--Victims praise Utah lawmakers on statute of limitations
For immediate release: Monday, March 2
We applaud Utah legislators who have passed a bill 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. And we hope the Utah senate passes it quickly.
This measure will help ensure that more adults who commit or conceal heinous crimes against kids will be exposed, punished and stopped.
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.
Police and prosecutors are overworked and underfunded. Some victims find it hard to trust law enforcement. And the standard to win a criminal case is very tough.
So for those three reasons, reforming the civil statute makes good sense. Kids are safest when predators are jailed. But when that can’t happen, the next best option is to expose predators in civil courts. Utah lawmakers are smart to realize this and adjust their state law accordingly.
Adults can either make it harder or easier to catch child molesters. This law would make it easier. We beg Utah senators 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)