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.
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.
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 .
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.
 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.
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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Justice, Law, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Sexual Abuse
“This House is a sanctuary; a citadel of law, of order, and of liberty…”
– Aaron Burr
Imperfect though it is, the US Congress stands as a testament to representative government, an august body which has given rise to great men and women. Names like Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas, and Abraham Lincoln once rang out in these halls.
To the nation’s shame, the name Dennis Hastert is included in the roster.
Hastert served as the 51st Speaker of the House of Representatives (1999-2007). He might have been known to history for that fact, might have left a positive legacy, except for one thing. Hastert is, also, a serial child molester .
Four of his victims chose to come forward. There are believed to be others. Hastert admitted to molesting the boys decades ago, as a high school wrestling coach in Illinois. He was sentenced this week for having paid $1.7 million in “hush” money to one of them. The statute of limitations has run on the actual abuse. Continue reading
Philadelphia’s trial of Msgr. William Lynn for the systematic cover up by Catholic Church officials of pedophilia by priests continues.
The defense rests on two grounds: the advice of legal counsel that reporting to law enforcement was unnecessary, since the statute of limitations had run; and the orders of now deceased Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
Of course, the Statute of Limitations had not yet run when many claims were initially made. Often, it was the delayed handling by church officials which caused the statute to run. Nor was there a re-examination of the issue, when the Statute of Limitations was extended by the legislature.
In fact, had the Catholic Church acted in the best interests of the victims, it could easily have waived the Statute of Limitations at any time.
As to the second ground, it was previously raised by Adolf Eichmann at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. He was “only following orders,” too.
FOR MORE OF MY ARTICLES ON POVERTY, POLITICS, AND MATTERS OF CONSCIENCE CHECK OUT MY BLOG A LAWYER’S PRAYERS AT: http://www.alawyersprayers.com