SNAP - Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [Chicago IL]
March 23, 2023
By Zach Hiner
Today, a panel of the Kansas State Senate will finally hold a hearing on legislation that would remove legal barriers preventing victims of child sexual abuse from seeking criminal and civil justice. We support the efforts of the brave survivors who have worked so hard for this hearing, and we applaud their courage and persistence.
Senate Bill 317 would remove the statute of limitations on criminal charges going forward, as well as allow survivors to file lawsuits for damages until they turn 31 years old. Under current law, children who are victimized by coaches, clergy, family members, and others must file a lawsuit before the age of 21.
Based on over 30 years of experience, we at SNAP believe that changing antiquated, arbitrary, predator-friendly statutes of limitations in both the criminal and civil arenas is the single most effective thing lawmakers can do to help prevent child sex crimes and cover-ups.
When perpetrators are locked up or exposed, children are safer. Restrictive statutes of limitations are a deterrent to both. The criminal statute of limitations cannot be changed retroactively. The next best thing is to allow victims who are time-barred from pursuing criminal charges to use the civil courts to warn parents and the public about perpetrators. Hopefully, this exposure will cause their supervisors to take action to remove access to boys and girls. It is important to change these statutes of limitations to help protect today’s and tomorrow’s children.
Simply put, these proposals will update predator-friendly laws. It is our firm belief that anyone who is informed about the realities of child sexual abuse and how the trauma often prevents the victims from coming forward for decades would vote in favor of passing these measures. These are steps in the right direction for the state of Kansas. We hope that the Senate panel will act to protect the children of Kansas, not its predators and their enablers.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications (email@example.com, 267-261-0578) Zach Hiner, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009) Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President (email@example.com, 814-341-8386)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)