Maine Passes Child Sexual Abuse SOL Reform
Posted on: July 20, 2021 Sexual Abuse & Assault Lawsuits
Maine Governor Janet Mills recently signed into law a bill that will allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits against their perpetrators no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. While the state did eliminate the state of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims in 2000, that law was not retroactive so survivors whose claims were expired at that point could not bring them forward. This new law, however, enables all previously time-barred claims to be filed.
Rep. Lori Gramlich, the bill’s sponsor, disclosed that she is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse during her testimony on the bill. In her opinion, the bill will allow survivors to be heard. “For me, it’s not about suing somebody for big bunches of money,” Gramlich said. “It’s about having an opportunity to have justice.”
While several states are exploring a reform of their current childhood sexual abuse laws, Maine’s reform is particularly helpful to victims of childhood sexual abuse since it is retroactive in eliminating the statute of limitations. This means that survivors of childhood sexual abuse can come forward about their abuse on their own time and not have to feel pressured to do so because of a date on the calendar. Child USA, an advocacy group formed to help prevent the abuse and neglect of children, highlights a German study showing the average age of people who reported childhood sexual abuse was 52 years old. This study proves that it can take years, even decades for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to feel ready to tell others about their abuse. They shouldn’t miss the opportunity to seek justice against their abusers because they weren’t able to speak of their abuse until later in life.
Not surprisingly, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland opposed the bill and argued that the state already has a wide timeframe with its current statute of limitations law. It also claimed that the legal process could be burdened by older claims. Luckily, those arguments were not persuasive enough and the new law will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.
The entire article can be viewed here.
Maine Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
If you or a loved one were a victim of sexual abuse contact our firm today or learn more by visiting our Maine sexual abuse lawsuits page. Our firm reviews cases of sexual abuse and assault nationwide and can help you understand your legal options. Your time to file sexual abuse and assault claim is limited. Call us today at 1-800-941-7209 for a FREE and PRIVATE consultation.