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Statute of Limitations and Victims of Abuse

Minors who were abused by clergy may not sue after the statute of limitations expires.

Key point: Minors who are sexually molested by church workers may not sue their church after the statute of limitations has expired. Generally, the statute of limitations begins to run on a minor's 18th birthday. In some states the statute of limitations does not begin to run until an adult survivor of child sexual molestation "discovers" that he or she has experienced physical or emotional suffering as a result of the molestation. Other states do not recognize this so-called "discovery rule."

• An Indiana state court ruled that the statute of limitations prevented two adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse from suing the ministers who allegedly abused them. In 1960, two girls (8 and 9 years of age) were placed as wards in a children's home affiliated with a church. The girls remained in the home for nearly 9 years. While in the home, the girls were repeatedly molested by an ...

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Posted:
  • July 1, 1994

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