Coming state law helps sex abuse victims

Coming state law helps sex abuse victims

Coming state law helps sex abuse victims

A coming state law in Louisiana aims to punish sex abusers and help their victims.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed a bill into law allowing victims of child sex abuse more time to file civil suits to recover damages.

The law goes into effect August 1.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Jason Hughes, tells One News Now it eliminates the statute of limitations.

“The data and the science is clear: Most victims of child sexual abuse do not come forward until they're 52 years of age,” he says. “That's the average age.”

The previous state law required actions be filed within 10 years after a person's 18th birthday, which would mean age 28. People limited by that law will have three years from August 1 to take their abuser to court.

Hughes says he was motivated by hearing numerous stories from abuse victims who could not demand justice from their tormentors years later.

The bill was vocally opposed by the Catholic Church, the source of numerous abuse scandals and cover-ups, but Hughes says the bill was not an attack on Catholics in the heavily-Catholic state.

“Child sexual abuse doesn't just take place in the church,” he says. “It takes place in a wide range of settings unfortunately, and the overwhelming majority of cases either happen within the family or someone that's closely associated with the family. The data is clear about that.”