Thanks to a new measure that went into effect on May 3, 2019, Washington, D.C. has significantly modified its statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases. The changes allows adult victims of sex abuse to file a civil lawsuit before May 3, 2021, provided that the plaintiffs are younger than 40 or that the abuse occurred within the last five years, even if their claim was previously time-barred.
With the passage of this law, eight men have now come forward to file a sex abuse lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America organization in Washington, D.C., even though the alleged abuse occurred in different states across the country. In all of the plaintiffs’ home states, the statute of limitations has already passed, making it impossible for them to seek restitution in their own area.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Monday, January 6, 2020, and once decided, this case could set a precedent for whether the new District of Columbia law will apply to civil claims from outside jurisdictions.
Ongoing Claims Against the Boy Scouts of America
Since it paid over $18.5 million in damages during a 2010 lawsuit, the Boy Scouts of America organization has been facing ongoing litigation in every corner of the country – and throughout last year. Reports indicate that the organization may be considering bankruptcy over the lawsuits. Paying out millions in legal defense fees and insurance payments, the Boy Scouts has also spent considerable sums on lobbying measures to defeat laws like the one passed in Washington, D.C. Bloomberg estimates the group spent at least $950,000 on lobbying efforts in 2017, more than four times the average spent over the five years prior.
In the hundreds of lawsuits filed over the last decade, plaintiffs have argued that the Boy Scouts of America had a systemic problem with child sexual abuse and that the organization sought to protect its image as a centerpiece of American civic life. When combined with the Boy Scouts’ external lobbying efforts, these claims paint a damning picture of an institution that often failed to protect vulnerable children.
Changing Statutes of Limitations on Sex Abuse Cases
Across the country, more states have been joining the District of Colombia in changing the statutes of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits, as well as widening the time periods for past sexual abuse survivors to pursue legal action. As of the time of this post, nine different states passed similar laws to Washington, D.C. in 2019, including California and North Carolina. Because it can take years for victims to truly understand and identify abuse from early childhood, this is a crucial step forward for those who have endured sex abuse and struggled to find justice.
If you’ve been the victim of child sex abuse in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, our committed team of sexual assault attorneys can help you seek the closure and fair compensation you deserve. At Simeone & Miller, LLP, we believe that all perpetrators of abuse must be held accountable for their reprehensible actions, and with decades of combined experience, our lawyers will advocate for your interests at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation with one of our sex abuse lawsuit attorneys.