Time to File a Claim for Child Sexual Abuse
As Fairfield Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers, we frequently receive calls from victims seeking guidance. In offering that guidance, the first thing we need to determine is whether a claim can be brought. Statutes of limitations are laws which set forth time limits by when a person must bring a claim. The version of Connecticut General Statutes Section 52-577d that applies to most victims says that they must file their claims before they turn 48. The law was changed in 2019 to say a victim has until they turn 51 but that 2019 change was prospective only.
In 2019 a public hearing was held at the Capitol in Hartford. The purpose of the hearing was to hear from survivors of sexual abuse about whether the time to file a claim should be extended. Attorneys Robinson and Mahoney attended that hearing, joined by survivors of childhood sexual abuse, who were over 48 years old. We collaborated with the survivors to help them tell their stories about why they did not come forward before they turned 48. The survivors explained to the legislators the shame and embarrassment they carried and how it was only as older adults did they have the strength to tell their stories. The legislature was so impressed by their testimony, that it passed a law creating a Task Force to study whether or not the statute of limitations should be eliminated for childhood sexual abuse in Connecticut.
As Fairfield Child Sexual Abuse Lawyers, who have been representing victims for almost 30 years, we were offered by the Connecticut Legislature a seat on the Task Force, which we gladly accepted. The Task Force heard testimony from experts and survivors urging the statute of limitations to be eliminated. Only one person testified in favor of the statute of eliminations remaining the way it was. He was a representative of a group of insurance companies and businesses. We were able to use our skills as experienced trial lawyers to cross examen the representative and show the public why his policy reasons for his position were flawed.
In early 2020 the Task Force unanimously, with one abstention, issued a report to the Legislature urging it to eliminate the statute of limitations, effectively opening the doors to justice for all victims of childhood sexual abuse regardless of age.
Despite the mandate of the Task Force, the legislature has failed to act. As Fairfield Child Sexual Abuse lawyers, we know that there are groups working behind the scenes to prevent this legislation from seeing the light of day. Insurance companies and institutional defendants are lobbying certain key officials to prevent a vote on whether or not Connecticut should repeal its statute of limitations.
We know that if we can get a vote on repeal, we will win. In New York it took years to open the door to the courts for childhood sexual abuse victims. But, in 2019, when the people of New York finally got their vote on the issue it passed almost unanimously. The reason is that when the light of day is allowed to shine on this issue, no politician wants to publicly oppose it. Instead, they work to prevent it from getting that vote.
At Robinson Mahoney we will continue to work tirelessly to get the statute of limitations repealed. We are now six years into this effort, and we will not stop until we are successful. If you would like to join us in this fight, please do not hesitate to call us for more information and we will explain how you can help.