The Texas State Senate - Rodney Ellis Press Releases
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Margaret Justus, 713-236-0306
Senator files Bill to end Statue of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse
AUSTIN -- Texas State Senator Rodney Ellis (D--Houston) has filed Senate Bill 97 which will end the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases. Currently in Texas, the statute of limitations for child molestation is 10 years from the victim’s 18th birthday.
“Sadly time does not heal all in the case of sexual abuse," Senator Ellis said. “This insidious crime often leaves an open wound that never quite heals. It is particularly despicable when committed against a child by someone he or she depends on for their safety and well-being.”
According to criminal justice experts at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), in cases of sexual abuse, perpetrators typically convince their victims that they bear the responsibility of the crime. This manipulation results in the victim needing decades to summon the courage to come forward. When they finally do, Ellis believes, the courts should be there for them.
“We cannot continue to allow sexual predators simply ‘lay low’ to escape justice any longer. Only by eliminating the statute of limitations will we capture a larger segment of sexual predators, and provide justice for those who seek it,” said Annette Burrhus-Clay, TAASA Executive Director.
- Eliminating the statute of limitations will not -- and should not -- lessen the legal protections of those accused. Prosecutors and plaintiffs attorneys will still be required to make their case on the quality of evidence in a court of law. But it will level the playing field for victims by giving them the opportunity to seek justice and hold offenders accountable. Above all, it will reaffirm the right of every child to a safe and healthy childhood and of every adult to a life free from the devastating and costly aftermath of child sexual abuse.
- Statute of Limitations in Other States:
- 23 states have no SOLs for sex crimes against children.
|12 states (child victims only)||11 states (adult and child victims)|
- 4 states begin the SOLs clock once the crime is reported to police - Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Utah.
- 23 states begin the SOLs clock once the victim reaches adulthood (usually 18 years of age). Of these states 8 states have a SOLs longer than Texas’ - Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
- Statistics compiled by the National District Attorneys Association www.ndaa-apri.org and recent updates to State law from newspapers across the country. Statistics change monthly as states abolish or extend their SOLs.
- SOLs on a Federal Level
- On April 30, 2003, President Bush signed S. 151, the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003 (PROTECT). Among the many protections in this law, it allows the prosecution of child abduction and sex crimes during the entire life of the victim.
- Child Molestation Numbers
- The National Survey of Adolescents found that 86 percent of sexual assaults perpetrated against children go unreported, leaving predators free to harm others. In Texas, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime, and the vast majority of those are assaulted before their 18th birthday.