Governor Dayton Signs Child Victims Act
Senator Ron Latz (DFL-Golden Valley) joined Governor Mark Dayton and Representative Steve Simon (DFL-Hopkins) today as the governor signed the Child Victims Act. The legislation, which was authored in the Senate by Sen. Latz and in the House by Rep. Simon, will make it easier for Minnesotans who were sexually abused as children to bring civil lawsuits against their abuser or the institution that facilitated the abuse.
“By signing this bill, the governor is giving victims of child abuse an opportunity to hold their abusers or those who allowed the abuse to happen accountable,” said Sen. Latz. “Because of the unique impact of these crimes, it can take years for the victim to gather the knowledge and the fortitude to confront the issue. This change in law will allow the victims to take action when that time comes.”
Under current law, someone that had been abused as a child has until the age of 24 to come forward and file a lawsuit against the abuser. Once they turn 24, the statute of limitation ends and they no longer have the ability to seek justice.
The new law maintains the current civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse allegations against a person under the age of 18. The legislation also lifts the statute of limitation (for those over 24) for a three year window, allowing victims whose time had run out to file a lawsuit during that window.
If a case is filed against an institution, the accuser must prove that the institution knew about the abuse and covered it up, turned a blind eye or failed to take a reasonable level of care to prevent abuse from occurring. This would be extremely difficult to prove, but adults who are now able to talk about their past abuse will now have the option of seeking justice.
“This change in law recognizes the healing process, while holding abusers and institutions accountable, said Sen. Latz. “We can’t allow institutions to turn a blind eye to these types of crimes. I am hopeful that this legislation will help change the way people approach these situations and encourage more adults to report abuse.”
For more information on this legislation, or any other legislative concerns, Sen. Latz can be contacted by phone at (651) 297-8065 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.