Last December, Utah Political Capitol reported on Representative Ken Ivory (Republican – West Jordan) appearing to pass legislation that focused on preventing childhood sexual abuse which would simultaneously benefit himself and his wife.
For this reason, it is only natural that we add extra scrutiny when reviewing Ivory’s HB 277 – Statute of Limitations for Civil Action, which would remove the statue of limitations for civil cases of sexual abuse .
Currently, under Utah law, if a person discovers childhood sexual abuse after turning 18, that individual has only four years to bring suit against the perpetrator before the civil (as opposed to criminal) statute of limitation expires – sometimes making it difficult for people to seek justice beyond a criminal sentencing.
Ivory, with HB 277, is removing the four year limitation – allowing anyone, at any time, to bring civil suit against an individual regardless of timelines. If you were abused when you were 4, found out about it at 23, and brought suit at 42, it would be allowed under Ivory’s bill.
Even with the heightened level of scrutiny, one would be hard-pressed to find fault with this legislation.
Sexual assault, particularly childhood sexual assault, is a traumatic event that can have lifelong consequences for those impacted, and there is no reason why the state should impose artificial constraints that prevent a victim from receiving potential reparations.
Of course, this may cause some problems for the courts if this bill becomes laws, if only because a new population of individuals could possibly file suit – but this isn’t inherently a bad thing. Again, people should not have their opportunity to seek some form of justice artificially truncated. Yes, cases may be more difficult to prove as time goes on, however that is a decision that the plaintiff and their legal council should make.
The bill is a solid piece of legislation that could legitimately help people. In a legislative year that has been particularly focused on advancing victim rights in the areas of sexual assault, this piece of legislation could do a lot to help those who truly need it.
To contact Representative Ivory, click here or call 801-694-8380.
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