Jan 11, 2023
A federal bill signed into law earlier this year allows survivors of various types of child sex abuse to file civil claims to recover financial compensation while not being bound to a traditional statute of limitations. S. 3103, known as the “Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022,” officially removes the federal statute of limitations to file a civil action for minor victims of:
Accordingly, survivors of any of the above forms of childhood sexual abuse may file civil claims as a means of recovering financial compensation for various types of damages:
Under the new federal bill, survivors of child sexual abuse may now file their claims to recover financial damages awards, regardless of how long ago the crimes occurred. Contact Dordulian Law Group’s experienced and proven California child sex abuse attorneys today for a free consultation at 818-322-4056. We help survivors across the nation secure the justice they deserve for childhood sexual abuse.
Also known as S. 3101, the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act was signed into law by President Biden in September 2022. The bill was initially proposed by Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn and Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin, who also serves as Senate Majority Whip and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) cosponsored the bill.
“Finally eliminating civil child sexual abuse statutes of limitations will allow survivors to have their day in court and a moment of healing,” Senator Durbin said when the bill was proposed. “This is commonsense, bipartisan legislation and I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support.”
For more information on the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022, please visit Dordulian Law Group’s recent blog post.
S. 3103 – the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022 – has been codified as 18 U.S. Code § 2255. This simply means that S. 3103 is also recognized as applying to the 18 U.S.C. § 2255 law, the latter of which previously only allowed survivors of childhood sexual abuse 10 years from the date that a crime occurred (or until one’s 18th birthday) to file a civil lawsuit in federal court.
Under the Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, the statute of limitations is now removed for 18 U.S.C. § 2255. As a result, the law now states that any person who, as a minor, was a victim of various violations (such as sexual abuse, human trafficking, etc.) and suffered a personal injury as a result may sue in any appropriate United States District Court. Furthermore, a survivor of child sex abuse shall recover the actual damages such person sustains and the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee, under the amending of U.S.C. § 2255. Moreover, 18 U.S.C. § 2255 now stipulates that a victim of child sex abuse may sue regardless of whether the injury occurred while such person was a minor.
An example of an injury which may not occur immediately at the time of an incident includes post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although an incident of sexual abuse or human trafficking may have occurred long ago, in many cases years or even decades may transpire before the survivor reconciles with the resulting mental health injury.
Data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms that childhood sexual abuse is a widespread issue impacting victims and families of all backgrounds. Regardless of socioeconomic status, race, religion, location, etc., child sexual abuse is a “significant public health problem,” the CDC notes.
Child sex abuse is defined by the CDC as an “adverse childhood experience” or ACE. Furthermore, the CDC defines child sexual abuse as:
The involvement of a child (person less than 18 years old) in sexual activity that violates the laws or social taboos of society and that he/she:
CDC data indicates the following statistics regarding child sexual abuse in the nation:
The CDC has outlined a number of consequences related to experiencing the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, including affecting how a person thinks, acts, and feels over a lifetime.
“This can result in short- and long-term physical, mental, and behavioral health consequences,” the CDC says.
According to the CDC, examples of physical health consequences of childhood sexual abuse may include:
According to the CDC, examples of mental health consequences of childhood sexual abuse may include:
According to the CDC, examples of behavioral consequences of childhood sexual abuse may include:
Experiencing child sexual abuse can also increase a person’s risk for future victimization. For example, the CDC confirms that recent studies have found:
Survivors of childhood sexual abuse often take years or even decades to come forward and report crimes or file lawsuits. California passed Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) in 2019 to allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to file claims for damage regardless of when the crimes occurred.
Many states have followed California’s lead with AB 218, passing legislation that opens lookback windows (also known as revival windows) for claims to be filed in civil court.
For a list of which states have sexual abuse revival windows, please visit our recent blog post.
In terms of when a survivor of childhood sexual abuse is likely to report a crime, the timeline can vary on a case-by-case basis, with some victims choosing to never disclose an incident.
In fact, some studies indicate that only one-third of childhood sexual abuse survivors disclose as children, while one-third decide to never disclose. The average age to disclose childhood sexual abuse is reportedly 52. When survivors of child sex abuse do come forward, the vast majority are unfortunately unable to obtain justice against their abusers due claims being barred under the statute of limitations. Laws such as AB 218, however, and the new S. 3103 Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex
Abuse Victims Act of 2022 are efforts to change that paradigm and allow survivors to come forward and obtain justice whenever they choose.
In 2004, a report by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice determined that from 1950 to 2002, a total of 10,667 individuals made allegations of childhood sexual abuse against the Catholic Church. Of those allegations, the dioceses identified 6,700 unique accusations against 4,392 clergy over that time period in the U.S. That figure represents approximately 4% of all 109,694 ordained clergy (whether priests, deacons, or members of religious orders) active in the U.S. during the time covered by the study. Notably, those figures do not include the last 18 years.
Furthermore, the report found that of the 4,392 accused, only 252 (5.7%) were ever convicted.
While the Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act does not change current state law which determines whether or not an institution such as the Catholic Church may be held liable for childhood sexual abuse, it may offer survivors an opportunity to sue individual clergy members who committed crimes.
The Catholic Church made an attempt at overturning California AB 218, but was thwarted by the Supreme Court in August.
In the argument to the Supreme Court against AB 218 (California’s Child Victims Act), Catholic Church officials cited the “ruinously expensive” cost of defending even illegitimate claims. They also argued that reopening the three-year “lookback window” available through AB 218 was an egregious violation of due process protections “since an earlier, one-year window in 2003 prompted massive settlements the church assumed would be the last word on the sex abuse scandal,” according to a Press Democrat report.
But the high court refused to even hear the case, allowing the current legislation afforded under AB 218 to stand.
Nevertheless, despite the unsuccessful attempt at overturning AB 218, it is likely that the Catholic Church and other organizations with histories of rampant childhood sexual abuse claims will take action to overturn or minimize the scope of the Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act (S. 3103/18 U.S.C. § 2255).
That said, while bad actors are always attempting to minimize liability for sex crimes, Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) dedicated team of childhood sexual abuse lawyers is here to assist you in filing a claim 24/7.
Regardless of how long ago your childhood sexual abuse occurred, when you’re ready to pursue justice, DLG’s sex crime attorneys are here to fight aggressively as your dedicated legal advocates. We will work tirelessly to pursue a maximum financial damages award that delivers justice to you for past sex abuse crimes.
DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) offers survivors a four-tiered form of representation and support that is unique to other firms. We’re here to answer any questions you may have regarding filing a claim, including whether you may be able to remain anonymous throughout the litigation process, how long it may take for your case to reach a successful settlement, how much your case could potentially be worth, and more.
Reach out to a member of DLG’s Sex Crimes Division today to discuss your case under the new S. 3103/18 U.S.C. § 2255 Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act. There is never any upfront fee to you – we don’t charge anything until after successfully recovering a maximum financial damages award for your childhood sexual abuse claim. It’s our No Win/No Fee Guarantee to each and every client.
And with more than $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts recovered for our clients while consistently maintaining a 98% winning record, you can have peace of mind choosing DLG to handle your case.
Founded by former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian, DLG’s experienced child sex abuse attorneys have recovered numerous multi-million settlements and verdicts for clients like you. Some recent DLG sexual abuse case victories include:
Contact DLG today to begin the process of securing justice for your childhood sexual abuse case. At DLG, we believe, support, and fight aggressively for justice on behalf of all childhood sexual abuse survivors.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.