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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.791

Introduced by Representative Jewett of Ripton

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Crimes; sexual assault; statute of limitations

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to eliminate prospectively the statute of limitations for criminal sexual offenses committed upon persons under the age of 18, and proposes to eliminate retroactively the statute of limitations for civil actions based on childhood sexual abuse.

AN ACT RELATING TO ELIMINATING THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SEXUAL OFFENSES COMMITTED UPON A CHILD

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  12 V.S.A. § 522 is amended to read:

§ 522.  ACTIONS BASED ON CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE

(a)  A civil action brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury or condition suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within six years of may be commenced at any time after the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or six years of the time the victim discovered that the injury or condition was caused by that act, whichever period expires later.  The victim need not establish which act in a series of continuing sexual abuse or exploitation incidents caused the injury or condition.

(b)  If a complaint is filed alleging an act of childhood sexual abuse which occurred more than six years prior to the date the action is commenced, the complaint shall immediately be sealed by the clerk of the court.  The complaint shall remain sealed until the answer is served or, if the defendant files a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, until the court rules on that motion.  If the complaint is dismissed, the complaint and any related papers or pleadings shall remain sealed. Any hearing held in connection with the motion to dismiss shall be in camera.

(c)  As used in this section, “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against a complainant who was less than 18 years of age at the time of the act and which act would have constituted a violation of a statute prohibiting lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault in effect at the time the act was committed.

(c)  This section shall apply retroactively to all causes of action based on childhood sexual abuse occurring before July 1, 2008.

Sec. 2.  13 V.S.A. § 4501(c) is amended to read:

(c)(1)  Prosecutions For offenses committed prior to July 1, 2008, prosecutions for sexual assault, lewd and lascivious conduct, and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, alleged to have been committed against a child 16 years of age or under, shall be commenced within the earlier of the date the victim attains the age of 24 or six years from the date the offense is reported, and not after.  For purposes of this subsection, an offense is reported when a report of the conduct constituting the offense is made to a law enforcement officer by the victim.

(2)  For offenses committed on or after July 1, 2008, prosecutions for sexual assault, lewd and lascivious conduct, and lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, alleged to have been committed against a child 18 years of age or under, may be commenced at any time after the commission of the offense.

Sec. 3.  REPEAL

12 V.S.A. § 560 (childhood sexual abuse) is repealed.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us