A statute of limitation (“SOL”) is a legal deadline for pressing criminal charges or filing civil claims. Once an SOL has expired, a claim or charge cannot be brought. The length of time during which different actions can be brought varies from state to state. There is no SOL for certain crimes, so actions can be brought at any time. An SOL for a civil lawsuit about a contract may be different from a lawsuit about a personal injury and both may be of varying durations between different states. SOLs can begin running at different times.
Many SOLs begin to run at the time of an offense. An SOL can be “tolled”, or suspended, and won’t begin running until a triggering event. In cases of childhood sexual abuse, an SOL will often be tolled until a minor turns 18 (i.e. majority tolling). Certain discoveries, such as a realization that a person’s suffering is the result of childhood sexual abuse, can toll an SOL (i.e. discovery tolling). Also, DNA evidence newly connecting a perpetrator to a crime can sometimes be used to prosecute a criminal defendant even after the SOL has already expired.
Some states have passed laws to increase access to justice for victims of childhood sexual abuse by temporarily reviving time-barred civil claims, allowing victims to recover against perpetrators and responsible institutions.
Child Sex Abuse Statutes of Limitation and Related Laws
Current Civil SOL
In Connecticut, there is no civil SOL for any claim that led to an aggravated or sexual assault conviction, and for all other claims, the SOL is set at age 48 (age of majority, 18, plus 30 years). The statute that granted the SOL is retroactive, so victims who are age 48 or under may file suit even if their claim had expired before the enactment of the statute.
SOL vs. perp: NONE, if events forming the civil claim led to conviction of first-degree aggravated sexual or sexual assault.
SOL vs. employer: NONE, if events forming the civil claim led to conviction of first-degree aggravated sexual or sexual assault.
SOL is age 48 for all others (even if previously expired).
Majority Tolling: No
Discovery Tolling: No
Connecticut State Law Provides:
Action founded upon a tort
No action founded upon a tort shall be brought but within three years from the date of the act or omission complained of.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 52-577
Current Criminal SOL
In Connecticut, there is no criminal SOL for sex abuse felonies and aggravated sexual assault of a minor; however, for all other child sex abuse crimes, the criminal SOL is capped at age 48 (age of majority, 18, plus 30 years). Victims over the age of 48 may file a claim within 3 years of notifying the authorities of the abuse.
SOL vs. perp. (for all Class A sex abuse felonies, and aggravated sexual assault of a minor): NONE.
SOL vs. employer (for all Class A sex abuse felonies, and aggravated sexual assault of a minor): NONE.
SOL vs. perp. (for all other child sex abuse crimes): + 30 years from majority = Age 48
SOL vs. employer (for all other child sex abuse crimes): + 30 years from majority = Age 48
Connecticut State Law Provides:
Limitation of prosecution for certain violations or offenses
(a) There shall be no limitation of time within which a person may be prosecuted for (1) a capital felony under the provisions of section 53a-54b in effect prior to April 25, 2012, a class A felony or a violation of section 53a-54d or 53a-169, (2) a violation of section 53a-165aa or 53a-166 in which such person renders criminal assistance to another person who has committed an offense set forth in subdivision (1) of this subsection, (3) a violation of section 53a-156 committed during a proceeding that results in the conviction of another person subsequently determined to be actually innocent of the offense or offenses of which such other person was convicted, or (4) a motor vehicle violation or offense that resulted in the death of another person and involved a violation of subsection (a) of section 14-224.
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-193
Age of Majority / Age of Consent / Age of Marriage
Age of Majority: 18. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 1-1d.
Age of Consent: 16. See Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 53a-70.
Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 16 (under 16 with judicial consent). See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-30.
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18. See Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-30.
Current DNA Provision
*As of December 2018
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 54-193 and 54-193a, there shall be no limitation of time within which a person may be prosecuted for a violation of section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a or 53a-72b, provided
(1) the victim notified any police officer or state's attorney acting in such police officer's or state's attorney's official capacity of the commission of the offense not later than five years after the commission of the offense, and
(2) the identity of the person who allegedly committed the offense has been established through a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) profile comparison using evidence collected at the time of the commission of the offense.
Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 54-193b (West)
Medical Neglect Statute
CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
A child cannot be considered neglected solely for receiving faith based treatment by a Christian Science practitioner, including in the case of intellectual disability.
Connecticut Civil Statute:
For the purposes of this section, the treatment of any child or youth by an accredited Christian Science practitioner, in lieu of treatment by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts, shall not of itself constitute neglect or maltreatment.
Connecticut General Statutes Chap. 815t §46B-120(8)
For the purposes of sections 17a-101 to 17a-103, inclusive, and sections 46b-129a, the treatment of any child by a Christian Science practitioner in lieu of treatment by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts shall not of itself constitute maltreatment.
Conn. Gen. Stat. Chap. 319A §17a-104 (on reporting obligations)
For purposes of said sections, the treatment of any person with intellectual disability or any individual who receives services from the Department of Developmental Services’ Division of Autism Spectrum Disorder Services by a Christian Science practitioner, in lieu of treatment by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts, shall not of itself constitute grounds for the implementation of protective services.
Conn. Gen. Stat., Chap. 813 §46a-11b(f)
CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
There is a religious exemption for criminal liability in regards to faith based medical treatment.
Note: Sec. 19-3-103 is a civil statute with a religious exemption.
Religous Liberty Statute
Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk
Current Law: §§ 52-571B
Enacted: June 29, 1993
SEC. 52-571B. ACTION OR DEFENSE AUTHORIZED WHEN STATE OR POLITICAL SUBDIVISION BURDENS A PERSON’S EXERCISE OF RELIGION. (a) The state or any political subdivision of the state shall not burden a person’s exercise of religion under section 3 of article first of the Constitution of the state even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section. (b) The state or any political subdivision of the state may burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest, and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. (c) A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened in violation of the provisions of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against the state or any political subdivision of the state. (d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the state or any political subdivision of the state to burden any religious belief. (e) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect, interpret or in any way address that portion of article seventh of the Constitution of the state that prohibits any law giving a preference to any religious society or denomination in the state. The granting of government funding, benefits or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the Constitution of the state, shall not constitute a violation of this section. As used in this subsection, the term “granting” does not include the denial of government funding, benefits or exemptions. (f) For the purposes of this section, “state or any political subdivision of the state” includes any agency, board, commission, department, officer or employee of the state or any political subdivision of the state, and “demonstrates” means meets the burdens of going forward with the evidence and of persuasion.
The information provided is solely for informational purposes and is not legal advice. To determine the SOL in a particular case, contact a lawyer in the state.