Iowa Senate panel weighs changes in child sex abuse lawsuits

Des Moines Register

William Petroski,

Victims of child sexual abuse would have more time to file civil lawsuits, and the statute of limitations for child sex crimes would be eliminated, under a bill advanced by an Iowa Senate subcommittee following emotional testimony Thursday.

However, a proposed amendment to Senate File 107 would remove a key provision that says victims of alleged child sexual abuse who are now barred from filing civil lawsuits under Iowa’s statute of limitations would be given a three-year window to commence lawsuits.

The bill was sent to the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee following testimony from three men who spoke of being sexually abused by clergy members as minors.

Bill LaHay, of Des Moines, who participated as an adult in a lawsuit against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles after sexual abuse he experienced as a child, urged lawmakers to open a window for abuse victims to file civil lawsuits. He said it would help restore the balance of justice.

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