A Long Silence

Broome County Courthouse, Binghamton, NY, Author Doug Kerr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)

Statutes of Limitations are time limits under the law within which accusations can be criminally prosecuted or civil damages pursued.

Purpose

Statutes of Limitations serve a dual purpose.  They encourage investigation while evidence is still available and memories fresh.   And they allow society to move forward in an orderly fashion, with old disputes resolved.

Tolling

Murder has consistently been viewed as the exception.  The crime is considered so grave by society that it warrants investigation whenever uncovered…even after many years.  The question we must ask is how closely other allegations parallel this.

Most states suspend or “toll” their Statutes of Limitations to allow injured minors to reach majority.

Many states have made special provisions for child sexual abuse cases – in part because of the breadth and heinous nature of such crimes, in part because victims are often reluctant to come forward for years, and in part because there may be repressed memories involved [1].

A Long Silence

Systemic suppression of the truth – as, for instance, by the Catholic Church – may result in a long silence.  That does not ensure societal peace…much less justice.

[1]  National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), “State Civil Statutes of Limitations in Child Sexual Abuse Cases”, 5/30/17, http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/state-civil-statutes-of-limitations-in-child-sexua.aspx.

FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: https://alawyersprayers.com

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5 Comments

Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse

5 responses to “A Long Silence

  1. Great post Anna.
    The movie “Doubt” starring Meryl Streep paints a good picture of how perpetrators are allowed to re offend..

    • I saw the movie. It’s terrific. It is all to easy for us to pass off abuse as just another “he said/she said” situation. But in every “he said/she said” situation someone is telling the truth, and someone is not. Two drivers may disagree over whether the light was red or green. But only one is right. If society chooses simply to throw up its hands because the difficulty of assessing truthfulness, evil wins out.

  2. This is a timely post, given the accusations made against Brett Kavanaugh right now from when he was in high school.

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