A new law passed in 2006 gives victims of childhood sexual abuse longer to file civil suits against their perpetrators and those who facilitated the abuse.
A civil suit is different from criminal prosecution. In a criminal prosecution, law enforcement, through the county prosecutor, controls the case. The outcome is the punishment of the offender, usually through a prison sentence or probation. On occasion, the perpetrator can be ordered to pay restitution to the victim, but restitution is usually limited to out-of-pocket expenses paid to date, such as for medical treatment.
In a civil suit, the victim as the plaintiff controls the case. The victim files the suit and, in most cases, can decide to dismiss it, settle it, or go to trial. The victim who proves his/her case can be entitled to compensation for past and future expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering. These rights to compensation are much broader than restitution in a criminal case.
Under the new law, anyone born after August 3, 1987 may bring suit against his/her perpetrator at any time before the victim turns 30 years old. Anyone born after August 3, 1986 may also bring suit against a person or entity (for example, a church, youth organization, school, spouse of perpetrator) which negligently failed to prevent the abuse.
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Konrad Kircher, Esq.
KIRCHER, ARNOLD & DAME, LLC
4824 Socialville-Foster Rd.
Mason, OH 45040