State Extends Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Deadline to 20 Years

February 25, 2011

Legislation extending from two years to 20 the time allowed for sexual abuse victims to sue their attackers has won final passage.

The measure, which evoked tearful and wrenching testimony from victims before legislative committees, passed Thursday in a group of uncontested bills with little debate.

The bill doesn't affect the lifetime limit for criminal prosecutions of sexual predators. Initially, the measure would have extended the limit from two years to eight. After emotional hearings on the measure, the deadline was extended to 20.

The Roman Catholic Church lobbied for a shorter lawsuit deadline because of priest sex scandals that have provoked lawsuits nationwide.

The bill now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is Catholic.

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