Soloff and Zervanos are pleased to announce breaking news in Massachusetts. A bill lifting the statute of limitations on many sexual abuse claims was unanimously passed in the Massachusetts House and Senate and awaits Governor Deval Patrick’s signature to go into immediate effect. The bill gives the survivors of sexual abuse the legal right to file civil charges and pursue claims against their alleged abusers, including supervisors or employers responsible, until they turn age 53. This bill will greatly assist in the exposure of numerous predators that had previously been protected by standing statute of limitations restrictions.
These restrictions prevented many victims, even those that were minors when the abuse had taken place, from filing charges due to the length of time that had elapsed between the claims and the abuse. This development in Massachusetts represents an improved environment for victims to come forward and disclose past sexual abuse crimes that often would have simply never been uncovered.
A similar bill was introduced in the Pennsylvania General Assembly but has been held up through partisan politics. Pennsylvania needs to follow the lead of Massachusetts and expedite the passing of even stronger laws that have already been sponsored. Rosanne Slivery, a survivor of child sexual abuse, stated, “With this long overdue move, we have finally succeeded in wresting power away from abusers who were largely protected under the old law. Victims now have the power they need to seek justice in the courts, to heal, and to shield more children from sexual abuse.” In the meantime, Pennsylvania will continue to wait on a vote by our own General Assembly.