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Bill to Extend Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes Clears Hurdle

February 21, 2011

A bill to extend the amount of time that victims of sexual abuse have to file lawsuits against their attackers and others who may have covered up the abuse has cleared a major hurdle.

The House Courts Committee voted unanimously to increase the time to file lawsuits from two years to 20 years after debating the extension for about two hours Monday evening.

The vote marked a major victory for victims and child advocates who faced off against the Catholic Church, a powerful lobbying force that has tried to keep the time limit low in the face of a priest sex scandal that resulted in numerous lawsuits nationwide.

While the original bill called for 25 years, supporters fought off attempts to decrease the time limit to eight years.

A final vote is expected on the proposal as early as tomorrow.

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