The statute of limitations in sex abuse cases
July 10, 2012
A victim of sexual abuse in New Jersey has to report the incident two years from the day they turn 18, or else the statute of limitations runs out, and the abuser can’t be prosecuted. In Pennsylvania, victims of childhood sexual abuse can file criminal charges up to the age of 50, and civil charges up to the age of 30. But high-profile cases like the convictions of serial Penn State predator Jerry Sandusky and Philadelphia Catholic Monsignor William Lynn have illustrated how and why victims often wait to come forward, much less press charges. And in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, legislative efforts to change or abolish the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse were halted at the rushed end of the legislative year on July 1st. Joining us on today’s Radio Times are TARA MURTHA, an award-winning reporter for the Philadelphia Weekly who covers the intersection of sexual violence and politics, among other topics; and RHETT HACKETT, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who has come forward to counsel and advocate on behalf of victims in New Jersey, where he lives, and Pennsylvania, where he works.