Give Minnesota sex abuse victims more time for justice

  • Article by: James C. Backstrom
  • Updated: March 19, 2013 - 7:27 PM

We must recognize that the nature of these incidents means that feelings can be repressed well into adulthood.

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okaybruceMar. 19, 13 7:54 PM

As long as it is lifted on the public schools too. In New York, where a users hide out in the public schools with impunity, the state blocked the schools from lawsuits, as it would have quickly bankrupted the Empire State.. The same is true here.

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minn12Mar. 20, 13 4:45 AM

Just more payback for the trial lawyers. This whole 'repressed memory' thing is a scam. The justice system routinely has a statute of limitations for good reasons. It would be a bad idea to try to eliminate or extend it indefinitely. If someone is wrongly accused of something allegedly done 20 years ago, how is he supposed to defend against that? Evidence may be gone, or witnessed may be dead who could help exonerate the wrongly accused. This is a solution in search of a problem.

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readwriteMar. 20, 13 7:04 AM

There is a hearing for this bill this afternoon in the House Judiciary Finance and Policy Committee. Like a earlier House hearing, it is likely they will limit testimony and vote quickly. This is an important bill as there is a lot of money at stake and could become an issue for taxpayers if schools become open to litigation for past abuse cases. The hearing is likely to be shown on public television. You may check your local listings or the Minnesota legislature website for further details as it could be streamed live or made available in the future.

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ericgus55Mar. 20, 13 7:15 AM

If anything, the criminal statute of limitations should be longer and the civil statute of limitations should be shorter, shouldn't it? Isn't prosecuting crimes more important than collecting damages? If the most important role of law is to protect, then we should be encouraging victims to act more quickly rather than waiting longer. The longer a victim waits, the more opportunity the alleged abuser is given to continue abusing others, as we've seen again and again (illustrated by the Penn State and Shattuck examples used in the story). Act faster, not slower.

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childabuseMar. 20, 13 7:54 AM

The VICTIM has the "burden of proof" and it's not about money it's about PROTECTING CHILDREN.

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greiersonMar. 20, 13 8:03 AM

I'm glad for efforts to champion the right of victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers past the six year statue of limitations. But consider the collateral damage this may cause to child care centers, schools, and congregations if the liability of organizations for this abuse is extended to an indefinite period. In these days when so many of us are laboring to help children get ready for kindergarten, to succeed in school, and to extend their education past high school, I'm afraid the cost of insurance will simply be prohibitive, and many such organizations, particularly those serving poor children in the inner cities, will simply have to shut down their operations, and children will suffer.

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readwriteMar. 20, 13 8:22 AM

This is the 3rd attempt at this legislation in the last 10 years. Sadly, protecting children does not drive this effort. Money is what drives this bill.

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readwriteMar. 20, 13 8:39 AM

However, I do hope the bill passes. I only wish to make the point that it is good public policy for the public to be advised of the purpose for, and drive behind, significant legislation.

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ruphinaMar. 20, 13 8:48 AM

The statute of limitations for civil suits should be 6 years after age 18, not 6 years from occurrence, and even then, only if there is a criminal conviction. In civil court, it is WAY too easy to get a jury to pay off on really shaky evidence. It becomes guilty until proven innocent. If a criminal conviction is obtained 1st, then determining civil penalties is a lot clearer, becoming only a question of "how much", rather than "if". This concept of criminal conviction before civil suit should be applied to nearly all civil cases. Bill G.

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beebee82Mar. 20, 13 9:40 AM

ruphina, there is a reason we have civil courts. Sometimes the evidence or the gathering of it is so tarnished a criminal conviction isn't possible. Victims and their families deserve another venue to attempt to render some kind of justice from perps who escape the criminal courts. OJ Simpson is a very high profile example.

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