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State Statutes

Arizona Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

Arizona Sex Abuse Civil Statute of Limitations

  • 2 year SOL for Suits Based on Sexual Abuse : Actions for most injuries may be brought within 2 years. There is no general statutory exception for sex-related actions. Arizona Rev. Stat. § 12-542.
  • Delayed Tolling for Minors : 18 years old + 2 years: Arizona Rev. Stat. § 12-502.
  • Discovery Rule : “[A] cause of action does not accrue until the plaintiff knows or with reasonable diligence should know the facts underlying the cause.” See Doe v. Roe, 191 Ariz. 313 (1998).

Arizona Sex Abuse Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • No SOL for Sexual Conduct with or Molestation of Minor Victims Less than 15 Years Old : Arizona Rev. Stat. §§ 13-107(A), -1405, -1410. A charge of sexual conduct with a minor between 15 and 18 years old generally may be brought within 7 years, Arizona Rev. Stat. § 13-107(B)(1), although there is no statute of limitations if the perpetrator is the minor’s parent, step-parent, adoptive parent, legal guardian, foster parent, or the minor’s teacher or clergyman or priest. § 13-1405. Sexual abuse of a minor under 18 also has a 7 year statute of limitations. §§ 13-107(B)(1), -1404. Misdemeanor sex offenses have a 1 year SOL. § 13-107(B)(2).
  • Discovery Rule : Tolling periods for criminal charges only begin after the actual discovery of the offense by the proper authorities or the discovery “that should have occurred with the exercise of reasonable diligence…” Arizona Rev. Stat. § 13-107(B).

California Statute of Limitations Law For Reporting Sexual Abuse Crimes

California Civil Statute of Limitations Sex Abuse Cases

  • Special Childhood Sexual Abuse SOL : 18 years old + 8 years. Ca. Civ. Proc. Code § 340.1(a).
  • Limited Discovery Rule : 3 years. Actions against a person for committing childhood sexual abuse may be brought “within 3 years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse . . . .” Id. Actions for liability against a person who owed the victim a duty of care and actions against a third party whose intentional act was the legal cause of the sexual abuse are barred on the victim reaches age 26, unless that person failed to take reasonable steps to prevent future unlawful sexual conduct by an employee or representative that it knew or had reason to know had engaged in such conduct. Id. § 340.1(b).
  • 1 Year Window : From January 1, 2003. Id. § 340.1(c)

California Criminal Statute of Limitations – Sex Abuse

  • Delayed SOL for Most Sex Crimes Against Victims Less than 16 : Until victim is 28 years old. Ca. Penal Code § 801.1 allows prosecutions for a number of felony sex crimes committed against victims younger than 18 to be brought any time before the victim’s 28th birthday. Felony sex crimes are sodomy, oral copulation, and sexual penetration of victims less than 16, §§ 286, 288a, 288.7, and performing lewd or lascivious acts against a child under the age of 14, § 288.
  • Reporting Window: 1 year : After the above SOL has expired, prosecutions for a sexual crime committed against a victim younger than 18 may be brought within 1 year of the date a report is filed with a state law enforcement agency. Ca. Penal Code § 803(f). In this case, the allegations must be corroborated by admissible, independent evidence other than the victim’s own testimony. Id.

Delaware Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

Delaware Sex Abuse Civil Statute of Limitations

  • No SOL for Suits Based Upon Sexual Abuse of a Minor : Del. Code Ann. 10, § 8145. Such suits may be based on any sexual act that constitutes a criminal offense. Id.
  • 2 Year Window : Open from July 1, 2007. Id.

Delaware Sex Abuse Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • No SOL for Sexual Offenses Except Sexual Harassment and Indecent Exposure : See Del. Code Ann. 11, § 205(e). But, prosecutions may not “be based upon the memory of the victim that has been recovered through psychotherapy unless there is some evidence of the corpus delicti independent of such repressed memory.” Id.

Florida Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

Florida Sex Abuse Civil Statute of Limitations HB 525 effective July 1, 2010
Statute Referenced by this Bill § 95.11 civil; § 775.15 criminal.

  • Fla. Stat. Ann. § 95.11 (7) (West) provides for intentional torts based on abuse–An action founded on alleged abuse, as defined in s. 39.01, s. 415.102, or s. 984.03, or incest, as defined in s. 826.04, eliminates statutes of limitations to institution of criminal or civil actions relating to sexual battery of child if victim is under 16 years of age at time of offense; provides applicability; or within 4 years after the injured person leaves the dependency of the abuser; or within 4 years from the time of discovery by the injured party of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse, whichever occurs later. Hearndon v. Graham, 767 So. 2d 1179 (Fla. 2000); Davis v. Monahan, 832 So. 2d 708, 709-710 (Fla. 2002).
  • Delayed Discovery Doctrine: 4 years from the time of discovery by the injured party of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse, whichever occurs later. Hearndon v. Graham, 767 So. 2d 1179 (Fla. 2000); Davis v. Monahan, 832 So. 2d 708, 709-710 (Fla. 2002). The recovery of repressed memories of abuse also qualifies as such as “discovery.” Hearndon, 767 So. 2d at 1179.

Florida Sex Abuse Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • No SOL for Serious Sexual Crimes and Some Felonies Committed Against Minors; 4 or 3 Years for Other Felonies; 2 for Most Misdemeanors : Capital and life felonies may be prosecuted at any time, as may any first degree felonious sexual battery committed against a victim less than 18 years old. Fla. Stat. §§ 775.15(1), (14). Sexual battery against a victim less than 12 years old is a capital felony, §§ 794.011(2)(a), (8)(c), while first degree sexual batteries include those committed by a person in familial or custodial authority, § 794.011(8)(b), and those committed with force or violence, § 794.011(4). Other first degree felonies, which have an SOL of 4 years, § 775.15, include aggravated child abuse, § 827.03. Felonies that may be prosecuted for 3 years include incest, § 826.04, child abuse that does not cause great bodily harm, § 827.03(1), and non-violent sexual battery, § 794.011(5). Luring a child under 12 for an unlawful purpose is a first degree misdemeanor, § 787.025, and may be prosecuted for 2 years, § 775.15.

Hawaii Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

Hawaii Sex Abuse Civil Statute of Limitations

  • Delayed SOL for Suits Involving Minor Victims : 18 years old + 2 Years. The general SOL for personal injury actions is 2 years, Haw. Rev. Stat. § 657-1(4), but tolling is delayed until the victim reaches 18, § 657-13.
    Revised Law (2012):
    [§ 657-1.8]. Civil action arising from sexual offenses; application; certificate of merit Eight years after the eighteenth birthday of the minor or the person who committed the act of sexual abuse attains the age of majority, whichever occurs later; or Three years after the date the minor discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of minor’s eighteenth birthday was caused by the sexual abuse, whichever comes later
  • Discovery Rule : The discovery rule is such that the SOL begins to run when the victim knows or should have known that their injury and the abuse was causally related. See Dunlea v. Dappen, 924 P.2d 196 (Haw. 1996).

Hawaii Sex Abuse Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • 6 Year SOL for Serious (Class A) Sexual Felonies, 3 Years for Others : Haw. Rev. Stat. § 701-108(2)(b), (d). Sexual offenses that are Class A felonies include first degree sexual assault (most victims under age 16 and sexual act committed by strong compulsion), § 707-730, continuous sexual assault of a minor under 14 (offender resides in the same house as the minor or has recurring access, and engaged in three or more sexual acts while the minor is under 14), § 707-733, and first degree promotion of child abuse (including production or participation in the preparation of child pornography), § 707-750. Most other sexual offenses are non-Class-A felonies, e.g., incest, § 707-741, second and third degree sexual assault, §§ 707-731, -732, second and third degree promotion of child abuse, §§ 707-751, -752, first and second degree electronic enticement of a child, §§ 707-756, -757.
  • Delayed SOL for Felony Offenses Against Victims Under Age 18 : The SOL is tolled until the minor victim reaches the age of 18. § 701-108(6)(c).

Illinois Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

Illinois Sex Abuse Civil Statute of Limitations

  • Delayed SOL for Childhood Sexual Abuse Suits : 18 Years Old + 10 Years. 735 I.L.C.S. § 5/13-202.2(b)-(d).
  • Discovery Rule : Suits for childhood sexual abuse may also be brought within 5 years of the date the victim discovers or reasonably should have discovered the act of abuse and the injury caused. § 13-202.2(b).

Illinois Sex Abuse Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • Delayed SOL for Most Sexual Offenses Against Minor Victims : 18 Years Old + 20 Years. 720 I.L.C.S. 5/3-6(j). Such offenses include criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, or aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Id.

Nevada Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

Nevada Sex Abuse Civil Statute of Limitations

  • 10 Years from the Later of Delayed Tolling to Age of Majority or Discovery : A victim has ten years to bring an action arising from sexual abuse of a minor from the time that the victim reaches the age of 18 or discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the injury was caused by sexual abuse, whichever occurs later. NEV.REV. STAT. §11.215 (2008).

Nevada Sex Abuse Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • SOL Depending on Nature of Sexual Abuse; Delayed Tolling; Discovery : Nevada has unified the discovery rule, delayed tolling, and a bright line rule for child sexual abuse prosecutions. For felony sexual assault, the general rule is a 4 year SOL. NEV.REV. STAT. § 171.085 (2008). Other felonies are 3 years, misdemeanors are 2 years for gross misdemeanor and 1 year for simple. §§ 171.085, 171.090. For minors, an action may be brought for any offense constituting sexual abuse of a child: (1) Twenty-one years old if he discovers or reasonably should have discovered that he was a victim of the sexual abuse by the date on which he reaches that age; or (2) Twenty-eight years old if he does not discover and reasonably should not have discovered that he was a victim of the sexual abuse by the date on which he reaches 21 years of age. §171.095(1)(b). However, if a written report for a sexual assault is filed with a law enforcement officer during the limitation period, the limitation is removed. § 171.083.

New Jersey Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

New Jersey Sex Abuse Civil Statute of Limitations

  • Discovery Rule : 2 Years. “In any civil action for injury or illness based on sexual abuse, the cause of action shall accrue at the time of reasonable discovery of the injury and its causal relationship to the act of sexual abuse. Any such action shall be brought within two years after reasonable discovery” N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:61B-1(b).
  • Delayed Tolling : A court is also entitled to toll the statute on other grounds including “the plaintiff’s mental state, duress by the defendant, or any other equitable grounds.” N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:61B-1(c).

New Jersey Sex Abuse Criminal Statute of Limitations

No SOL for sexual assaults; 5 years for other sexual crimes : Prosecutions for sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault may be commenced at any time. N.J.S.A. § 2C:1-6(a)(1). These offenses cover victims less than 13 years old, as well as victims between 13 and 18 if the abuser is either a relative, has supervisory powers over the victim, or stands in loco parentis. N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-2. All other sexual crimes carry 5 year SOL periods. See § 2C:1-6(b)(1).

Delayed SOL and Discovery Rule for Sexual Contact and Child Endangerment : Prosecutions for criminal sexual contact, N.J.S.A. § 2C:14-3, and endangering welfare of children, § 2C:24-4, may be brought within 5 years after the victim reaches age 18, or within two years following the reasonable discovery of the offense by the victim, whichever is later. § 2C:1-6(b)(4).

New York Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

New York  Sex Abuse Civil Statute of Limitations

  • Delayed Tolling for Sexual Offenses Against Minors : Five years for certain first degree sex offenses. N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 213-c. Three years for other offenses. § 214. Tolling is delayed with minors until the age of 18. § 208. The statute is also extended to 7 years from the date of the crime or 10 years from the conviction itself depending on the offense if the same defendant has been convicted of a criminal offense. § 213-b. Alternately, a civil claim may be brought within five years after the conclusion of a criminal action. § 215(8)(b).
  • No Discovery Rule : “[T]he Statute of Limitations must run from the time of the act until the Legislature decrees otherwise.” Goldsmith v. Howmedica, Inc., 67 N.Y. 2d 120, 124 (1986); See also Bassile v. Covenant House, 594 N.Y.S. 2d 192, 193 (1993) lv denied 82 N.Y.2d 656.
  • No Retroactivity : The current Statute of Limitations applies as of the effective date of the Act, June 23, 2006. 2006 N.Y. Laws ch. 3, sec. 5.

New York Sex Abuse Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • SOL depending on the nature of the offense : No SOL for first degree offenses. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 30.10(2)(a). Five years for all other felony sex offenses. § 30.10(2)(b). Two years for misdemeanor sex offenses. § 30.10(2)(c).
  • Delayed SOL for Sexual Abuse of Minors : Criminal SOL tolls until the 18th birthday of victim or until it is first reported to law enforcement, whichever comes first. N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law § 30.10(3)(f).

Pennsylvania Statute of Limitations In Sex Abuse Cases

Pennsylvania Sex Abuse – Civil Statute of Limitations

  • Delayed Tolling for Minors; Twelve-Year Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse : Victims who were minors when the abuse occurred have twelve years from their 18th birthday to bring a civil action regardless of whether or not the victim brings a criminal proceeding as well. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann.§ 5533 (2008).
  • No Discovery Statute for Repressed Memories : The courts will not toll the statute of limitations in childhood sexual abuse cases regardless of the victim’s inability to bring suit due to repressed memories. The Court reasoned that the discovery statute is for when “the injury is not readily discernible as opposed to cases where it is the incapacity of the plaintiff which causes the delay in bringing suit.” Dalrymple v. Brown, 701 A.2d 164, 168 (1997); Pearce v. The Salvation Army & Crouch, 674 A.2d 1123 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1996); Seto v. Willits, 638 A.2d 258 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1994).
  • No Retroactivity for Previously Time-Barred Claims : The statute will not revive any claim which has been barred by a prior existing statute of limitations. Act. No. 2002-86, sec. 3, § 5533(b), 2002 Pa. Laws (West).

Pennsylvania Sex Abuse – Criminal Statute of Limitations

  • Statute of Limitations for Childhood Sexual Abuse Charges End When the Minor Victim Turns 50 : Prosecution of childhood sexual abuse charges must be commenced before the minor victim turns 50 years old. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann.§ 5552(c)(3) (2008).
  • DNA Exception : If a DNA test can identify an otherwise unidentifiable perpetrator, prosecution may be commenced within the previously stated statute of limitations, or one year after the identity of the perpetrator is discovered, whichever is later. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann.§ 5552(c.1) (2008).