Repealing SOLs

Repealing the Statutes of LimitationsThe following critiques the statutes of limitation on child sexual abuse and what we as a society should do about it. Repealing the criminal and civil SOLs on child sexual abuse requires an informed citizenry and the sheer will of the people to protect our children.

SOLs FAVOR ABUSERS. In some states, the statute of limitations on child sex abuse is too short for many victims, who often find the courage to speak out and confront their abuser or recover painful buried memories of abuse only after the statute of limitations has expired.

CONVICTIONS FAVOR SOCIETY. Sexual offender lists, GPS tracking, pedophile-free zones, and harsher penalties are only effective if offenders are actually convicted and/or publicly identified. In addition, victim support programs can only help those who are able to file a claim. Short SOLs prevent abusers from being publicly singled out, which significantly restricts or defeats the effectiveness of the mandatory consequences of supporting laws, such as Jessica’s law.

BURDEN OF PROOF. Opponents will cite faded memories and deterioration of evidence as arguments against changing the laws. Murder, which carries no statute of limitation, carries the same burden of proof. Regardless of how much time has passed, that burden is always borne by the victim. However, society holds that murder warrants prosecution whenever a defendant can be brought to trial. The sexual abuse of children should be viewed just as seriously.

MISGUIDED CLAIM. This is about helping victims and holding offenders accountable regardless of their identity. When the majority of abuse is perpetrated by a family member, or family acquaintances, allegations that repealing SOLs is prejudicial against any specific institution or group are groundless.

GOVERNMENT ROLE. Congress has already intervened in the area of child sexual abuse by creating a national registry of sex offenders and criminal laws when a child is taken across state lines. It is also constitutional for Congress to allocate federal funds for health, victim support programs, and law enforcement.

JUST THE BEGINNING. Together we must fight — state by state — to repeal both the criminal and civil SOLs as they pertaining to sex crimes against children and place the protection of children above all else.