The Laws That Should Protect Our Children

Current Civil SOL in a nutshell

SOL vs. perp: +3 years from majority = Age 24 SOL vs. employer: +3 years from majority = Age 24

Majority Tolling: Age 21 Discovery Tolling: Liberal

SOL: +3 years from age 21 or from reasonable discovery. Ark Code Ann. 16-56-130(a); Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-116(a)

  1. Civil actions based on sexual abuse. Ark Code Ann. 16-56-130(a)

a. (a) Notwithstanding any other statute of limitations or any other provision of law that can be construed to reduce the statutory period set forth in this section, any civil action based on sexual abuse which occurred when the injured person was a minor but is not discovered until after the injured person reaches the age of majority shall be brought within three (3) years from the time of discovery of the sexual abuse by the injured party.


  1. Majority tolling: Yes, to age 21. See, Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-116(a)

a. Ark. Code. Ann. § 16-56-116 (a) If any person entitled to bring any action under any law of this state is under twenty-one (21) years of age or insane at the time of the accrual of the cause of action, that person may bring the action within three (3) years next after attaining full age, or within three (3) years next after the disability is none.

b. BUT SEE, A.C.A. § 16-56-130(2) (“Minor” means a person of less than eighteen (18) years of age) – meaning act of abuse must have occurred when victim was under 18; even if majority tolling is to age 21.

  1. Discovery, yes, liberal (knowledge + cause)

a. Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-130(c)(3) (“’Time of discovery’ means when the injured party discovers the effect of the injury or condition attributable to the childhood sexual abuse.”)

Current Criminal SOL in a nutshell

A.R.S. § 13-1405(b): "Sexual conduct with a minor who is under fifteen None for most felonies (enacted 2/21/13) Age 28 for lesser felonies

Age 28 for all crimes (pre-2013)

Ark.Code.Ann. § 5-1-109(a)(1)(D)-(M); and the victim’s 28th birthday for lesser felonies. Ark. Code. Ann. 5-1-109(a)(2)(A)-(E)Ark. Code. Ann. 5-1-109. Statute of limitations.


(1) A prosecution for the following offenses may be commenced at any time:

(A) Capital murder, § 5-10-101;

(B) Murder in the first degree, § 5-10-102;

(C) Murder in the second degree, § 5-10-103;

(D) Rape, § 5-14-103, if the victim was a minor at the time of the offense;

(E) Sexual indecency with a child, § 5-14-110;

(F) Sexual assault in the first degree, § 5-14-124;

(G) Sexual assault in the second degree, § 5-14-125, if the victim was a minor at the time of the offense;

(H) Incest, § 5-26-202, if the victim was a minor at the time of the offense;

(I) Engaging children in sexually explicit conduct for use in visual or print medium, § 5-27-303;

(J) Transportation of minors for prohibited sexual conduct, § 5-27-305;

(K) Employing or consenting to the use of a child in a sexual performance, § 5-27-402;

(L) Producing, directing, or promoting a sexual performance by a child, § 5-27-403; and

(M) Computer exploitation of a child in the first degree, § 5-27-605.

(2) A prosecution may be commenced for a violation of the following offenses, if, when the alleged violation occurred, the offense was committed against a minor, the violation has not been previously reported to a law enforcement agency or prosecuting attorney, and the victim has not reached the age of twenty-eight (28) years of age:

(A) Sexual assault in the third degree, § 5-14-126;

(B) Sexual assault in the fourth degree, § 5-14-127;

(C) Endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree, § 5-27-205;

(D) Permitting abuse of a minor, § 5-27-221; and

(E) Computer child pornography, § 5-27-603.

Age of Majority: 18. See, Ark. Code Ann. § 9-25-101.
Age of Consent: 16. See, Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-127.

Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: with proof of pregnancy, 16 for females and 17 for males; without proof of pregnancy, with judicial consent.
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18. See, Ark. Code Ann. §§ 9-11-102, 9-11-103.

Medical Neglect Statute


Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to mean a child is neglected or abused for the sole reason he or she is being provided treatment by spiritual means through prayer alone in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof in lieu of medical or surgical treatment. . . .

Arkansas Code §9-30-103(5)B

Religious bias prohibited The Department of Human Services and the Department of Arkansas State Police shall investigate all allegations of child maltreatment without regard to the parent’s practice of his or her religious beliefs and shall only consider whether the acts or omissions of the parent constitute child maltreatment under this chapter.

Arkansas Code §12-18-618

Investigative determination

Upon completion of an investigation under this chapter, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Arkansas State Police shall determine whether the allegations of child maltreatment are [unsubstantiated, true, or inactive]:

2(C) A determination of true but exempted, which means that the offender’s name shall not be placed in the Child Maltreatment Central Registry, shall be entered if: (i) A parent practicing his or her religious beliefs does not, for that reason alone, provide medical treatment for a child, but in lieu of treatment the child is being furnished with treatment by spiritual means alone, through prayer, in accordance with a recognized religious method of healing by an accredited practitioner

Arkansas Code §12-18-702 (2)C(i)


ARKANSAS defense to capital murder

It shall be an affirmative defense to any prosecution for capital murder arising from the failure of the parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis to provide specified medical or surgical treatment, that the parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis relied solely on spiritual treatment through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of an established church or religious denomination of which he is a member.

Arkansas Code §5-10-101(a)(9)(B) N/A

Religous Liberty Statute

Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk

2015 Passed Bills State of Arkansas As Engrossed: H2/11/15 S2/26/15 S3/16/15 S3/26/15 90th General Assembly A Bill Regular Session, 2015 HOUSE BILL 1228

By: Representatives Ballinger, Beck, Bentley, House, Speaks, Harris, Rushing, Womack, Vaught, Gonzales, Tosh, Copeland, C. Fite, Gates, Lundstrum, Payton, B. Smith, Brown, Cozart, Farrer, Lowery, Sullivan, Richmond, J. Mayberry, Dotson, M. Gray, D. Meeks, Miller, Drown By: Senator Hester



SECTION 1. DO NOT CODIFY. Legislative findings. The General Assembly finds that it is a compelling governmental interest to comply with federal civil rights laws.

SECTION 2. Arkansas Code Title 16, Chapter 123, is amended to add an additional subchapter to read as follows:

Subchapter 4 — Religious Freedom Restoration Act

16-123-401. Title. This subchapter shall be known and may be cited as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”. 16-123-402. Legislative intent. It is the intent of the General Assembly to: (1) Ensure that in all cases in which state action substantially burdens the exercise of religion strict scrutiny is applied; (2) Provide a claim or defense to a person whose exercise of religion is substantially burdened by state action; and (3) Implement Article 2, § 24, of the Arkansas Constitution, which states that “[N]o human authority can, in any case or manner whatsoever, control or interfere with the right of conscience”.

16-123-403. Legislative findings. The General Assembly finds that: (1) The Arkansas Constitution recognizes the free exercise of religion; (2) Laws neutral toward religion have the same potential to burden religious exercise as laws purposely intended to interfere with religious exercise; (3) Governments should not substantially burden the free exercise of religion without compelling justification; (4) In Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), the United States Supreme Court virtually eliminated the requirement that the government justify burdens on religious exercise imposed by laws neutral toward religion; (5) In response, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C., § 2000bb, to restore the compelling interest test set forth in the federal cases of Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), and Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963); (6) The compelling interest test is a workable test for striking sensible balances between religious liberty and competing government interests; (7) In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997), the United States Supreme Court held that the protections of religious exercise afforded by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, only applied to religious exercise burdened by federal law or agencies and provided no protection from burdens on religious exercise from state or local law or governments; (8) To provide the same level of protection from burdens on religious exercise from state or local governments, a state must enact an equivalent to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, that was passed by Congress; and (9) Since the 1997 Supreme Court decision in City of Boerne v. Flores, many states have enacted statutes similar to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb, including: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

16-123-404. Definitions. As used in this subchapter: (1) “Compelling governmental interest” means a governmental interest of the highest magnitude that cannot otherwise be achieved without burdening the exercise of religion; (2) “Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion including without limitation the ability to act or refuse to act in a manner substantially motivated by a person’s sincerely held religious beliefs, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief; (3) “Government entity” means: (A) A branch, department, agency, board, commission, or other instrumentality of: (i) State government; or (ii) A political subdivision of the state, including without limitation a city or county; or (B) An official or other person acting under color of state law; (4) “Person” means an individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious institution, estate, trust, foundation, or other legal entity; (5) “Prevails” means to obtain prevailing party status as defined by courts construing the federal Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 1988; (6) “State action” means the implementation or application of any law, including without limitation state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations, and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, or other action by the state or any political subdivision thereof and any local government, municipality, instrumentality, or public official authorized by law in the state; and (7)(A) “Substantial burden” means to prevent, inhibit, or curtail religiously-motivated practice consistent with a sincerely held religious belief. (B) “Substantial burden” includes without limitation withholding benefits, assessing penalties, or an exclusion from programs or access to facilities.

16-123-405. Religious freedom preserved. A state action shall not substantially burden a person’s right to exercise of religion, even if the substantial burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the substantial burden to the person’s exercise of religion in this particular instance: (1) Is essential to further a compelling governmental interest; and (2) Is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

16-123-406. Construction and applicability. This subchapter does not: (1) Authorize a government entity to substantially burden a religious belief; (2) Affect, interpret, or in any way address those portions of this subchapter, Article 2, §§ 24-26, of the Arkansas Constitution, or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that prohibit laws respecting the establishment of religion; (3) Prohibit a grant of government funds, benefits, or exemptions to the extent permissible under those portions of this subchapter, Article 2, §§ 24-26, of the Arkansas Constitution, or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution that prohibit laws respecting the establishment of religion; or (4) Create a right or cause of action with respect to an employee against an employer if the employer is not a government entity.

16-123-407. Remedies and penalties. (a) Regardless of whether the state or one of its political subdivisions is a party to the proceeding, a person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, in violation of § 16-123-405, may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding. (b)(1) A person asserting a claim or defense under this subchapter may obtain appropriate relief, including relief against the state or a political subdivision of the state when the state or the political subdivision of the state is a party to the proceedings. (2) Appropriate relief under this subsection includes without limitation: (A) Injunctive relief; (B) Declaratory relief; (C) Compensatory damages; and (D) Costs and attorney’s fees.

16-123-408. Exemptions. The Department of Correction, the Department of Community Correction, a county jail, and a detention facility are exempt from this subchapter.

SECTION 3. EMERGENCY CLAUSE. It is found and determined by the General Assembly of the State of Arkansas that there is not a higher protection offered by the state than the protection of a person’s right to religious freedom; and that this act is immediately necessary because every day that a person’s right to religious freedom is threatened is a day that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is compromised. Therefore, an emergency is declared to exist, and this act being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety shall become effective on: (1) The date of its approval by the Governor; (2) If the bill is neither approved nor vetoed by the Governor, the expiration of the period of time during which the Governor may veto the bill; or (3) If the bill is vetoed by the Governor and the veto is overridden, the date the last house overrides the veto.

Arkansas-2015-HB1228-Draft SB 202 (Act 137) • Makes technical and conforming changes.