ANNAPOLIS, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - A Maryland House committee is taking up a bill to end the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse to file a lawsuit. The bill comes fresh off a Vatican summit on child sex abuse that some survivors say produced more talk than action.
Survivors of child sex abuse believe having a statute of limitations that limits when they can file a lawsuit against their abuser does not make sense.
“When legislators hear the stories you’re talking about how hard it is for victims to come forward they are usually at least immediately sympathetic but then they are convinced about the church going bankrupt or false accusations,” David Lorez, a survivor of priest sexual abuse told FOX 5.
Currently, Maryland law says a victim of child sex abuse has until the age 38 to file a civil lawsuit. But if the victim is over the age of 25 and comes forward, they have to first prove “gross negligence,” which is notoriously difficult to prove in court.
This results in victims who are able to pursue legal action against their abuser finding themselves unable to go to court.
C.T. Wilson, a state delegate from Charles County, was sexually abused himself as a child and he is now the driving force behind House Bill 687. The bill would remove the statute of limitation.
“I want the statute of limitations lifted. I want a look-back window for people previously barred from bringing a suit forward because I want these victims to have their day. After seeing what happened in Pennsylvania, going through the 900 pages of that grand jury report, it is heart-wrenching to see what’s going on in this nation and we should not be protecting these predators anymore,” Wilson said.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore did not attend the hearing in Annapolis and said it “has taken no position either for or against this bill.”