Georgia

 
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A statute of limitations (or SOL), simply, is the maximum amount of time one has to bring a lawsuit from the time of the injury or other ground for a lawsuit.

SOLs vary from state to state and from claim to claim. For example, a SOL for a lawsuit about a contract may be different from a lawsuit about a personal injury and both may be of varying durations between different states. The statute of limitations may also be set to begin running at different times. Some SOLs begin running at the time of the injury and others begin running when the injury is discovered.

Child Sex Abuse Statutes of Limitation and Related Laws

Current Civil SOL

In Georgia, the civil SOL is capped at age 23 (age of majority, 18, plus 5 years). There is also a discovery rule, which allows victims to file a claim up to 2 years after they discover an injury caused by the abuse.


Revival Window Open: July 1, 2015 – July 1, 2017
Effective July 1, 2015: SOL vs. perp: Later of Age 23 or, +2 years from discovery.
SOL vs. employer: Later of Age 23 or, plus 2 years from discovery.
Majority Tolling: Age 18
Discovery Tolling: Yes
Prior to July 1, 2015:

SOL vs. perp: + 5 years from majority = Age 23
SOL vs. employer: + 2 years from majority = Age 20
Majority Tolling: Age 18
Discovery Tolling: Extremely Unlikely (Narrow) Age 23 or +2 years from discovery (whichever is later)


Georgia State Law Provides:

(a)(1) As used in this subsection, the term “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against the plaintiff which occurred when the plaintiff was under 18 years of age and which would be in violation of:

(A) Rape, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-1;
(B) Sodomy or aggravated sodomy, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-2;
(C) Statutory rape, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-3;
(D) Child molestation or aggravated child molestation, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-4;
(E) Enticing a child for indecent purposes, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-5;
(F) Pandering, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-12;
(G) Pandering by compulsion, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-14;
(H) Solicitation of sodomy, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-15;
(I) Incest, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22;
(J) Sexual battery, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22.1; or
(K) Aggravated sexual battery, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22.2.

(2) Notwithstanding Code Section 9-3-33 and except as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section as it existed on June 30, 2017, any civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse committed before July 1, 2015, shall be commenced on or before the date the plaintiff attains the age of 23 years.

(b)(1) As used in this subsection, the term “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against the plaintiff which occurred when the plaintiff was under 18 years of age and which would be in violation of:
(A) Trafficking a person for sexual servitude, as prohibited in Code Section 16-5-46;
(B) Rape, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-1;
(C) Statutory rape, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-3, if the defendant was 21 years of age or older at the time of the act;
(D) Aggravated sodomy, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-2;
(E) Child molestation or aggravated child molestation, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-4, unless the violation would be subject to punishment as provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-6-4 or paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-6-4;
(F) Enticing a child for indecent purposes, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-5, unless the violation would be subject to punishment as provided in subsection (c) of Code Section 16-6-5;
(G) Incest, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22;
(H) Aggravated sexual battery, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22.2; or
(I) Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 12 of Title 16.

(2)(A) Notwithstanding Code Section 9-3-33, any civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse committed on or after July 1, 2015, shall be commenced:

(i) On or before the date the plaintiff attains the age of 23 years; or
(ii) Within two years from the date that the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of such abuse and that such abuse resulted in injury to the plaintiff as established by competent medical or psychological evidence.

(B) When a plaintiff's civil action is filed after the plaintiff attains the age of 23 years but within two years from the date that the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of such abuse and that such abuse resulted in injury to the plaintiff, the court shall determine from admissible evidence in a pretrial finding when the discovery of the alleged childhood sexual abuse occurred. The pretrial finding required under this subparagraph shall be made within six months of the filing of the civil action.

(c)(1) As used in this subsection, the term:
(A) “Entity” means an institution, agency, firm, business, corporation, or other public or private legal entity.
(B) “Person” means the individual alleged to have committed the act of childhood sexual abuse.

(2) If a civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse is commenced pursuant to division (b)(2)(A)(i) of this Code section and if the person was a volunteer or employee of an entity that owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, or the person and the plaintiff were engaged in some activity over which such entity had control, damages against such entity shall be awarded under this Code section only if by a preponderance of the evidence there is a finding of negligence on the part of such entity.

(3) If a civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse is commenced pursuant to division (b)(2)(A)(ii) of this Code section and if the person was a volunteer or employee of an entity that owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, or the person and the plaintiff were engaged in some activity over which such entity had control, damages against such entity shall be awarded under this Code section only if by a preponderance of the evidence there is a finding that there was gross negligence on the part of such entity, that the entity knew or should have known of the alleged conduct giving rise to the civil action and such entity failed to take remedial action.

(d)(1) 1 For a period of two years following July 1, 2015, plaintiffs of any age who were time barred from filing a civil action for injuries resulting from childhood sexual abuse due to the expiration of the statute of limitations in effect on June 30, 2015, shall be permitted to file such actions against the individual alleged to have committed such abuse before July 1, 2017, thereby reviving those civil actions which had lapsed or technically expired under the law in effect on June 30, 2015.

(2) The revival of a claim as provided in paragraph (1) of this subsection shall not apply to:
(A) Any claim that has been litigated to finality on the merits in a court of competent jurisdiction prior to July 1,

  1. Termination of a prior civil action on the basis of the expiration of the statute of limitations shall not constitute a claim that has been litigated to finality on the merits;
    (B) Any written settlement agreement which has been entered into between a plaintiff and a defendant when the plaintiff was represented by an attorney who was admitted to practice law in this state at the time of the settlement, and the plaintiff signed such agreement; and
    (C) Any claim against an entity, as such term is defined in subsection (c) of this Code section.

(3) This subsection shall be repealed effective July 1, 2017.

OCGA § 9-3-33.1. Childhood sexual abuse

(a) The age of legal majority in this state is 18 years; until that age all persons are minors.
(b) Nothing in this Code section shall be construed automatically to render an individual a resident of this state when that individual is in the state for the purpose of attending school. In the case of such individual, his residence will be considered to be the state in which his parents reside if under the laws of that state the individual would still be considered a minor and he is incapable of proving his emancipation.


O.C.G.A. § 39-1-1. Age of majority; nonresident students

Current Criminal SOL

In Georgia, there is no criminal SOL for crimes committed after July 1, 2012. For crimes committed before July 1, 2012, the SOL is capped at age 31 for rape. For crimes that occurred prior to July 1, 2012, the SOL is 7 years from the abuse. There is no SOL for claims with DNA evidence.


NONE for crimes committed on or after July 1, 2012.
NONE for crimes committed on or after July 1, 1992 through June 30, 2012 with conclusory DNA evidence.
SOL vs. perp. (for all crimes committed July 1, 1992 – June 30, 2012 without DNA evidence): +5 years from majority = Age 25
SOL vs. employer (for all crimes committed July 1, 1992 – June 30, 2012 without DNA evidence): +5 years from majority = Age 25


Georgia State Law Provides:

(a) For crimes committed during the period beginning on July 1, 1992, and ending on June 30, 2012, if the victim of a violation of:
(1) Cruelty to children, as defined in Code Section 16-5-70;
(2) Rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-1;
(3) Sodomy or aggravated sodomy, as defined in Code Section 16-6-2;
(4) Statutory rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-3;
(5) Child molestation or aggravated child molestation, as defined in Code Section 16-6-4;
(6) Enticing a child for indecent purposes, as defined in Code Section 16-6-5; or
(7) Incest, as defined in Code Section 16-6-22, is under 16 years of age on the date of the violation, the applicable period within which a prosecution shall be commenced under Code Section 17-3-1 or other applicable statute shall not begin to run until the victim has reached the age of 16 or the violation is reported to a law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, or other governmental agency, whichever occurs earlier. Such law enforcement agency or other governmental agency shall promptly report such allegation to the appropriate prosecuting attorney.

(b) For crimes committed on and after July 1, 2012, if the victim of a violation of:
(1) Trafficking a person for sexual servitude, as defined in Code Section 16-5-46;
(2) Cruelty to children in the first degree, as defined in Code Section 16-5-70;
(3) Rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-1;
(4) Aggravated sodomy, as defined in Code Section 16-6-2;
(5) Child molestation or aggravated child molestation, as defined in Code Section 16-6-4;
(6) Enticing a child for indecent purposes, as defined in Code Section 16-6-5; or
(7) Incest, as defined in Code Section 16-6-22, is under 16 years of age on the date of the violation and the violation is not subject to punishment as provided in paragraph

(2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-6-4, paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-6-4, or subsection (c) of Code Section 16-6-5, a prosecution may be commenced at any time.

O.C.G.A. § 17-3-2.1. Periods excluded from limitation of prosecution for certain offenses

(a) A prosecution for murder may be commenced at any time.
(b) Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 17-3-2.1, prosecution for other crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment shall be commenced within seven years after the commission of the crime except as provided by subsection (d) of this Code section; provided, however, that prosecution for the crime of forcible rape shall be commenced within 15 years after the commission of the crime.
(c) Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 17-3-2.1, prosecution for felonies other than those specified in subsections (a), (b), and (d) of this Code section shall be commenced within four years after the commission of the crime, provided that prosecution for felonies committed against victims who are at the time of the commission of the offense under the age of 18 years shall be commenced within seven years after the commission of the crime.
(d) A prosecution for the following offenses may be commenced at any time when deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence is used to establish the identity of the accused:

(1) Armed robbery, as defined in Code Section 16-8-41;
(2) Kidnapping, as defined in Code Section 16-5-40;
(3) Rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-1;
(4) Aggravated child molestation, as defined in Code Section 16-6-4;
(5) Aggravated sodomy, as defined in Code Section 16-6-2; or
(6) Aggravated sexual battery, as defined in Code Section 16-6-22.2; provided, however, that a sufficient portion of the physical evidence tested for DNA is preserved and available for testing by the accused and provided, further, that if the DNA evidence does not establish the identity of the accused, the limitation on prosecution shall be as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section.
(e) Prosecution for misdemeanors shall be commenced within two years after the commission of the crime.


O.C.G.A. § 17-3-1 § 17-3-1. Limitation of prosecutions

Age of Majority: 18. See, Ga. Code Ann. § 39-1-1.
Age of Consent: 16. See, Ga. Code Ann. § 16-6-3.

Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 16.
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18.
See, Ga. Code Ann. §§ 19-3-2, 19-3-37. See, Fla. Stat. Ann. § 741.0405.


Medical Neglect Statute

CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

No child receiving spiritual treatment in accordance with a recognized form of religious healing will be considered abused or neglected for that reason alone.

Georgia Law Provides:
No child who in good faith is being treated solely by spiri¬tual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for that reason alone, be considered to be a “deprived child.”
Georgia Code §15-11-2(8)

No child who in good faith is being treated solely by spiri¬tual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by a duly accredited practitioner thereof shall, for that reason alone, be considered to be an “abused” child.
Georgia Code §49-5-180(5), 49-5-40(a), and 19-7-5(b) (The latter is in the laws governing reporting of child abuse and neglect.)

CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

There is a religious exemption to the criminal liability of child abuse for parents prescribing spiritual treatment in accordance with a recognized form of religious healing.

Georgia Law Provides:
GEORGIA defense to contributing to deprivation A person commits the offense of contributing to the. . . deprivation of a minor when such person:
(3) Willfully commits an act or acts or willfully fails to act when such act or omission would cause a minor to be found to be a deprived child as such is defined in Code Section 15-11-2, relating to juvenile proceedings. [15-11-2 includes a religious exemption.] Georgia Code §16-12-1(b)(3)

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

Georgia does not have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act.


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.