Kansas lawmakers pass bill to help child sex abuse survivors
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators gave final approval Monday to a bill that would make it easier to pursue criminal charges or file lawsuits over childhood sexual abuse years after the abuse occurred.
The House approved the measure, 120-0. It goes to Gov. Laura Kelly because the Senate approved it last week, 40-0.
Abuse survivors and advocates have been pushing for changes in recent years in the wake of reports of abuse by clergy across the U.S.
The bill would eliminate limits on how long prosecutors have to file charges against suspects for any of a dozen violent sexual offenses against children, including indecent liberties, aggravated human trafficking and internet trading in child pornography.
For such crimes, other than rape and aggravated sodomy, prosecutors currently can file criminal charges until the victim turns 28 or up to a year after DNA evidence establishes a suspect, whichever is later.
The deadline for filing a lawsuit seeking monetary damages would be when abuse survivors turn 31 or three years after the abuser is convicted of a sexually violent crime against a child. Lawsuits currently must be filed by the time a survivor turns 21 or three years after a survivor “discovered or reasonably should have discovered” that childhood abuse caused an injury or illness.