MA--Victims applaud new SJC ruling about child sex law
For immediate release: Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015
The highest court in Massachusetts today made it easier for sex abuse victims to expose child molesters which will help prevent future sexual violence against the vulnerable. We applaud the court and the brave survivor who brought this case. The unanimous ruling is part of a larger, longer trend toward repealing or reforming archaic, predator-friendly statutes of limitations that keep being exploited by those who commit and conceal child sex crimes as a way to protect their secrets and evade consequences for their horrific acts.
We share Justice Margot Botsford’s view that “in many cases, victims of child abuse are not able to appreciate the extent or the cause of harm they experience as a result of sexual abuse perpetrated on them for many years.’’ We are grateful Massachusetts lawmakers realized this and extended the state’s troubling statute of limitations and that Massachusetts’ highest court upheld the legislature’s wise and compassionate reform.
We hope this ruling will prod more lawmakers to extend or eliminate statutes of limitations which protect wrongdoers, endanger kids and re-victimize victims.,
We also hope it will encourage more victims of sexual violence to use civil courts to expose child molesters and their allies. The legal system can be difficult and draining. But it can also often help prevent more violence to kids, if survivors are strong and brave enough to use it.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has 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)
SJC upholds time limit expansion in civil sex abuse cases
By John R. Ellement GLOBE STAFF - DECEMBER 09, 2015
In a ruling long sought by survivors of sexual abuse, the Supreme Judicial Court on Wednesday upheld a law expanding the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits against alleged perpetrators to 35 years and allowing the new standard to be applied retroactively.
The 2014 law flows from the “apparent recognition that in many cases, victims of child abuse are not able to appreciate the extent or the cause of harm they experience as a result of sexual abuse perpetrated on them for many years after the abuse has ended,’’ Justice Margot Botsford wrote for the unanimous court.
Among other reasons, the court upheld the law because anyone who abused a child 35 years ago knew what they were doing was wrong at that time, and they cannot now claim a lawsuit in 2015 is based on a wholly new legal concept.
“The act does not create a new liability; there can be . . .