In general, anyone who suffered sexual abuse or assault can sue (i.e., bring a civil lawsuit) the abuser, whether that person is a relative or a non-relative like a priest or teacher. In addition to a civil lawsuit, reporting the sex abuse to law enforcement may also help the victim obtain justice in the criminal justice system. This is something many survivors of child molestation do not know, i.e., that they have legal rights in two separate justice systems. Someone who files a criminal case may also bring a civil case.
However, oftentimes, statute of limitations laws come into play. There are both criminal and civil statute of limitations laws, and the actual time limits vary widely from state to state. Therefore, it is crucial to determine whether the case is barred by the given state’s statute of limitations law for child sex abuse.
Each state varies and sex abuse statute of limitation laws are always changing. Therefore, it is important to speak to a civil sexual abuse lawyer to discuss the details and timeline of the case. Click here to see a list of each state’s civil statute of limitations for child sex molestation and abuse cases.
Pennsylvania – Bringing a Civil Child Sex Abuse Claim
Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for civil child sex abuse cases is the victim’s 30th birthday or 12 years after the victim reaches the age of majority (18). This law applies to cases where the victim turned 18 after 2002, the year the law was amended. Previously, in Pennsylvania, a child sex abuse victim had 5 years after they turned 18 to file suit.
In recent years, Pennsylvania’s legislature has considered amending this law to abolish the statute of limitations in civil cases or opening a special window to allow individuals, whose cases were previously time-barred, to file civil lawsuits. Other states such as Delaware have passed similar laws.
Related Child Sex Abuse Legal Articles:
- New Jersey Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits – Changes to the Statute of Limitations
- Changes to Sex Abuse Laws in the U.S.
Child Sex Abuse Civil Lawyer – Representation by a Former Sex Crimes Unit Prosecutor
If you or a loved one has been a victim of sex abuse, contact Brian Kent. Mr. Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who has devoted his career to helping victims of sex abuse in the criminal and civil justice systems.
Mr. Kent handles child molestation, sexual assault, sex abuse, and priest/clergy abuse cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He works with attorneys nationwide and can be admitted in other states to handle matters on a case by case basis. 215.399.9255
**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.
Last updated: April 14, 2015