State court upholds statute of limitations in abuse cases
On Dec. 9, the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts upheld a 2014 law that gave child sexual abuse victims an additional 32 years to take legal action against their alleged abusers. In addition, the state’s highest court also found that cases that occurred before the new law took effect were also covered under the legislation. The ruling stemmed from a case involving a woman who had sued her uncle in 2012 claiming sexual abuse.In addition to the abuse by her uncle, the woman claimed that she had been forced by him to have sex with other men. An attorney for the uncle said that the claim was false, and the man argued that he would have a hard time finding witnesses who would be able to rebut the woman’s case. The case had originally been dismissed because child abuse victims only had until age 21 to file a lawsuit before the new law was passed. Regardless, the man’s attorney said it would seek to have the case dismissed as the woman had agreed to forego legal action in exchange for $26,500 in 1991. The woman claims that she was pressured by relatives to sign the agreement. Her uncle has never been faced criminal charges, and the man could not be reached for comment.Those who believe that they have been victims of sexual abuse have the right to take legal action against their abusers. While they may feel embarrassed or ashamed to come forward, these acts occurred through no fault of their own. An attorney will act as a compassionate advocate who may be able to help a victim obtain some sort of justice and closure.