By: Matthew Tievsky
On October 1, a new law in Maryland went into effect that extended the
statute of limitations for child abuse victims to bring lawsuits against
their abusers. A statute of limitations is a time limit for a victim to
sue a wrongdoer; if the time limit expires, it becomes impossible for
victims to sue.
Previously in Maryland, a person who was abused while under the age of
18 had until the age of 25 to file a lawsuit.
Now, a victim has until the age of 38.
The state legislator who sponsored the law, Del. C.T. Wilson, was motivated
because he himself was once a victim of child sexual abuse at the hands
of his foster father. It was developed in recognition of the fact that
many victims of child abuse need years to come to terms with what happened
to them before taking the courageous step of confronting their abusers
in court. Additionally, as noted by Wilson, victims often require therapy
for the rest of their lives, and civil lawsuits, when successful, can
not only provide a sense of justice by holding the wrongdoer accountable,
but also help lighten the financial burdens of therapy and other necessary
treatments as they work through the issues they face.
The change to Maryland's statute of limitations is part of a wave of
legal changes across the country extending statutes of limitations for
sexual abuse. Much of the impetus behind these legal changes is the case
of Bill Cosby, whose alleged sexual assaults against dozens of women only
became public knowledge recently, many years after the assaults occurred
and long after the statutes of limitations in almost all of these cases
had already passed. (Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., is
proud to represent seven victims of Mr. Cosby in their ongoing federal
lawsuit against him for defamation).
If you were a victim of child abuse and are interested in obtaining justice
against your abuser, we encourage you to
contact the attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C., for a