Bill Seeking to Remove Statute of Limitations is Gaining Momentum in Maryland

Posted on: January 26, 2023 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Maryland have been through a range of emotions in the past six months. Maryland clergy sex abuse survivors voiced frustration with Attorney General Brian Frosh’s alleged “foot-dragging” over a lack of results from an investigation into clergy sex abuse. When some of the details from the report were released, Maryland clergy sex abuse survivors were shocked at the number of victims as well as the number of abusive priests. Now, with new potential legislation aimed at eliminating the statute of limitations gaining momentum, maybe Maryland clergy sex abuse survivors can feel some hope that they may receive some justice.

The proposed legislation, the Child Victims Act of 2023 (also known as House Bill 1), seeks to eliminate the statute of limitations in civil cases of childhood sexual abuse. The bill is sponsored by Charles County Delegate C.T. Wilson, who feels it sends an unmistakable message that the state is taking a “zero-tolerance” approach to child sexual abuse. Regarding the bill, Wilson said:

The goal is, basically, that we eradicate the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse, allow them to sue the institutions and individuals that have harmed them.

While previous versions of the bill have failed in the Senate the last few years, this year’s bill just got a boost of support from Sen. William C. Smith Jr. Smith chairs the Judicial Proceedings Committee and seems to have a good understanding as to why eliminating statute of limitations laws is necessary for childhood sexual abuse survivors. He’s on the record as saying that sometimes people don’t, or can’t, acknowledge the pain and suffering they’ve been through until much later in life. Eliminating the statute of limitations will give these survivors a chance to make their case in court.
A hearing date on the bill has yet to be scheduled, but there does appear to be support for Maryland clergy sex abuse survivors in the state legislature.

The entire article can be viewed here.

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