Bill would extend statute of limitations for sexual abuse

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Bill would extend statute of limitations for sexual abuse

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Up to 15 victims of childhood sexual abuse testified Tuesday night on a bill that would quadruple the current civil statute of limitations on abuse.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Carol McEntee, would change the civil statute of limitations from seven years after an alleged victims 18th birthday, to 35 years.

“It took me until age 41 or 42 to even go to the police,” Jim Scanlan said in the days leading up to his testimony.

Scanlan’s story of abuse was covered in the motion picture “Spotlight.”

“At age 25, there aren’t many victims who are willing to come forward or are ready emotionally to talk about it,” Scanlan said.

Scanlan said he plans to testify at Tuesday’s hearing in the House Judiciary Committee.

The Diocese of Providence fought hard against the bill last session and once again submitted written testimony against it.

In the written testimony, Father Bernard Healey writes the Catholic Conference has fairness concerns and believe it is unconstitutional. He does suggest that the legislature find a more “reasonable” amount of time to increase the statute of limitations.

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