Turning point for child sex abuse laws


March 26, 2019

By Katie Davis

Across the country, thousands of people have been identified as victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests when they were children. Yet many of these survivors never got their day in court because it’s too late for criminal charges and civil statutes of limitations didn’t allow them to file a lawsuit.

Psychologist Ann Hagan Webb, herself a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, now counsels other victims.

“I have never met a survivor who wanted change for themselves. They just don’t want it to happen to other children,” she said.

Webb is advocating for changes to state laws that would give adult survivors more time to take legal action, in part because many people don’t remember or acknowledge childhood sexual abuse until decades later. She said she started to recall the abuse she endured only when she was in her 40s, after having her own children. It’s something she’s also heard from many of her patients.

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