Statute of limitations for child sexual assault victims could increase

The Judiciary Committee heard testimony March 17 on a bill that would increase the statute of limitations for victims who were sexually assaulted as children.

LB612, introduced by Omaha Sen. Pete Pirsch, would increase the statute of limitations to 12 years for children who were victims of sexual or attempted sexual assault. The current statute of limitations is four years or when the victim reaches 21 years of age.

Children often are singled out as victims because they are the most vulnerable, Pirsch said, and they may not seek immediate help due to feelings of shame, embarrassment or fear. This bill recognizes these unique circumstances, he said, and would give victims a more reasonable amount of time to take action against their perpetrator.

Jack Hosking testified in support of the bill and said current law does not recognize the emotional control that a perpetrator could have over his or her victim. A child may not realize the long-lasting psychological effects they could suffer until later in life, he said, and by then it is too late to take action.

No opponent testimony was given and the committee took no immediate action on the bill.

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