Giving child sex abuse victims more time to sue abusers

Radio Iowa

February 21, 2012 By O. Kay Henderson

Iowans who were sexually abused as children would have more time to file a lawsuit against their alleged abuser if a bill pending in the Iowa Senate becomes law.

Today, someone who was sexually abused as a child must file a lawsuit against their alleged abuser after they turn 18 — and before they turn 19. Bill LaHay of Des Moines says when he was a child, he was abused by a Catholic priest and he’s urging legislators to change the law.

“Anything that offers a person — a survivor, a victim — more time to come to terms with that is a good thing,” LaHay says.

Under the bill, victims of child sexual abuse would have nine more years to file a lawsuit against their abuser seeking damages — right up until the victim reaches the age of 29. LaHay says few 18-year-olds understand the consequences of the abuse they may have suffered as a child.

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