Editorial: Protect children, ensure accountability, lift statutory limits

The Day

January 4, 2020

By The Day Editorial Board

Removing statutory limits on the age at which adult survivors of child sexual abuse may sue for damages is simply justice, given what we now know about the lasting effects of psychological trauma. It also will signal that complicity in shielding perpetrators from accountability is over, and that Connecticut will put the protection of children before the interests of institutions.

The state’s legislative task force on the statute of limitations regarding sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and sexual assault is nearing the deadline for its assignment. By Jan. 15 it is to recommend whether and how much to extend the age limit for victims to sue their alleged abusers; whether to open a “look-back window” for those already past the current age limit of 51; or both. The most recent session extended the age limit by three years and created the task force to study further action. Experts have testified that 52 is the average age for a person to be ready to come forward.

The task force’s mandate applies not only to accusations against clergy. However, the Roman Catholic dioceses in Connecticut are getting much of the committee’s attention because of the church’s lobbying against extending the limits, and because the victims who testified at a recent hearing focused on abuse by priests.

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