Bills would give more time to punish pedophiles

Sioux City Journal

February 17, 2020

By Rod Boshart

Des Moines – Iowa lags behind other states when it comes to aiding childhood victims of sexual abuse by adults — oftentimes family members, teachers, clergy or other close associates, according to experts.

“We would love to see Iowa step forward from being one of the worst in the country to being one of the best,” said Marci Hamilton, chief executive officer and academic director for Child USA, a Philadelphia nonprofit think tank working nationally to end child abuse and neglect.

Iowa ranks among the worst states in terms of its statute of limitation on child abuse laws and is “in the middle of mediocre land” for limits on child abuse civil actions. Meanwhile, it can takes years for abuse survivors to fully understand wrongs that were perpetrated against them, Hamilton said.

Last year saw a flurry of changes spurred by public outrage over a series of high-profile abuse situations. Twelve states eliminated their criminal statutes of limitations and nine — including Iowa — extended their time frames. A number of states extended or eliminated their civil provisions, and nine provided windows for victims to seek redress for alleged abuses that occurred before the period to bring claims had “timed out.”

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