Once Again, Statute of Limitations Prevent Abuse from Being Investigated
For immediate release: January 31, 2022
Despite being accused of sexually abusing a child in the mid-1990s, allegations against a priest from the Diocese of Wichita, KS cannot be investigated due to the statute of limitations in Kansas making prosecution impossible. We are dismayed at this outcome and hope that this news will spur legislators in Kansas to begin reforming these archaic laws immediately.
The lack of charges against Fr. Michael Schemm is yet another indictment of the archaic laws that protect predators at the expense of children. Once again, the statute of limitations has allowed allegations of abuse to go uninvestigated, potentially putting other children in Kansas at risk. It is notable that the District Attorney’s office specifically mentioned that their decision was a “legal conclusion only” and that their decision to not pursue charges is not a determination of guilt or innocence. Sadly, such a determination will not be made in a Kansas court of law.
Barriers like this will only make survivors more fearful and less willing to come forward to report their abuse. If survivors know that there is no recourse for them under the law, then there is almost no benefit to going through the pain of making a report in the first place. We hope that this news will encourage Kansans to contact their state Representatives and Senators to change the laws in their state to better protect children as opposed to those who would harm them.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)