A large amount of legal paperwork is being filed seeking civil damages in sex assaults alleged to have happened decades ago.
The court filings come as the deadline approaches for an exemption on the statute of limitations regarding a victim of child sexual abuse to file a lawsuit against his or her alleged abuser.
“The window closes on April 24, and so I’m sure that’s why these plaintiffs are scrambling to get lawsuits filed in time,” said state Sen. Maile Shimabukuro (D-Waianae, Makaha, Makua).
The clerks office at Circuit Court has processed six lawsuits filed in the last two days.
“It does concern me that with the deadline closing tomorrow, that there are many, many more out there, who are just going to run out of time,” said Shimabukuro.
Lawmakers are now mulling over extending the deadline.
“What we may end up having to do is give the Governor two different options — one that is more conservative, two years, and the other one that is five or more years extended on,” Shimabukuro said.
Shimabukuro says going forward, the legislature is also hoping to set an age limit as to when victims can no longer file a sex assault lawsuit, possibly at 55 years old.
“Many people feel as if that is too young,” Shimabukuro said. “Many of the victims who are filing are in their 70s, 80s because it has taken them so long to come to terms with the abuse that occurred… We’re hoping for some kind of age that is reasonable and gives victims enough time to be able to have the courage to come forward.”
- Marc Alexander, Diocese of Honolulu sued for child sex abuse – Apr. 23, 2014