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Statute of limitations

Did you know, if you are a victim of sexual abuse, you only have a certain amount of time to report it? The time you have to report it is called the statute of limitations. In some states you have very little time to report the abuse.

As we have all recently learned, child abuse has taken place by an assistant basketball coach at Syracuse University in New York. The statute of limitations in New York is currently set at five years after the abuse is reported or five years after the victim turns 18.


Due to recent publicity we have all be made aware of child abuse at Penn State University in Pennsylvania. The statute of limitations in Pennsylvania extends until the victim is 50 years old. But victims of child abuse must file a civil suit before they turn 30 years old.


This could be bad news for some of the alleged victims of both the Penn State Sex Scandal as well as the scandal in Syracuse, New York.


Other states have different rules. For example, in California, the statute of limitations for child molestation is 10 years. However, the crime can also be prosecuted within one year of whenever a victim tells the police. California recently suspended the statute of limitations. During the suspension over 300 lawsuits were filed. The statute of limitations was also suspended in Delaware. Although only for two years, over 100 alleged victims came forward. In Texas, the statute of limitations for “indecency with a child” is 10 years from the 18th birthday of the victim.


As you can see, all states have different statutes governing the amount of time a victim has to bring criminal or civil charges against their attacker.


What about Florida? In Florida, there are no criminal statutes of limitations when it comes to victims of sexual abuse that are between the ages of 12 and 16. In 2010 Governor Charlie Crist signed a law ending a three-year statute of limitation.


Damian Mallard, Esq.
Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney