Thursday, March 24, 2011

Child Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations

Two years ago, I wrote how the Washington state legislature considered, and passed, extending the time by which a victim of child sex abuse can report abuse. At that time, it was extended to either age 21 or age 28, depending on the circumstances.

Now Washington contemplates eliminating that statute of limitations altogether, as it is in 29 other states. The proposed bill passed the Washington State House unanimously. One state senator from the West side, however - Senator Jim Hargrove - refuses to give the bill a needed hearing by this Friday in order to let the bill be considered by the full Senate. If it isn't heard by then, the bill dies for another year.

Here is a great piece by local KXLY on the difficulties - by the way, the argument that it shouldn't be extended because victims will then not come forward is bogus - no victims' advocacy group is saying that, to my knowledge - and it does not reflect the truth of what happens - as one advocate put it, the only ones who don't want this bill passed (besides those playing politics in Olympia) are the pedophiles themselves. Oh, and the article that the cases will be harder to prove is also bogus - prosecutors always have the option to decline prosecution if evidence cannot be gathered. But in the case of, for instance, Patrick O'Donnell - a priest here in the 1970s who abused so many, including Tim Corrigan (his widow Cheryl is holding his photo in the news story) - he never faced criminal prosecution in spite of all the evidence because the statute of limitations already had run.

If you do want to express an opinion, email Jim Hargrove at or Lisa Brown (Senate Majority Leader from Spokane) at

Here's the story:

(I'm in the shot, actually - standing to the left of the reporter at one point, in black, getting my hair blown all over the place. )

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