The Laws That Should Protect Our Children
Current Civil SOL in a nutshell
SOL vs. perp: 18 years from discovery = Age 53
(even if previously expired) SOL vs. employer: Discovery + 7 years
(even if previously expired)
Majority Tolling: √ Age 18 Discovery Tolling: √ Liberal (+7 years)
SOL: + 35 from majority (retroactive vs perp only) or + 7 from (retroactive) liberal discovery, whichever occurs later.
- Versus Perp: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260, § 4C. “Statute of Limitations on Civil Action for Assault and Battery by Sexual Abuse of Minor. Actions of tort alleging the defendant sexually abused a minor shall be commenced within 35 years of the acts alleged to have caused an injury or condition or within 7 years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that an emotional or psychological injury or condition was caused by said act, whichever period expires later; provided, however, that the time limit for commencement of an action under this section is tolled for a child until the child reaches eighteen years of age.”
a. Retroactive: (“sections 4 to 6, inclusive, of this act shall apply regardless of when any such action or claim shall have accrued or been filed and regardless of whether it may have lapsed or otherwise be barred by time under the law of the commonwealth.”) 2014 Mass. ALS 145, 2014 Mass. Ch. 145, 2013 Mass. H.B. 4126
Negligence: Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260, § 4C(1/2) (“Actions by Victims of Sexual Abuse of Minor — Negligent Supervision. (“An action of tort alleging that the defendant negligently supervised a person who sexually abused a minor or that the defendant’s conduct caused or contributed to the sexual abuse of a minor by another person shall be commenced within the later to expire of: (i) 35 years of the acts alleged to have caused an injury or condition to such minor; or (ii) 7 years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that an emotional or psychological injury or condition was caused by such act; provided, however, that the time limit for commencement of such an action under this section shall be tolled for a child until the child reaches 18 years of age. For purposes of this section, “sexual abuse” shall have the same meaning as in section 4C.”)
2014 Mass. ALS 145, 2014 Mass. Ch. 145, 2013 Mass. H.B. 4126 (Previous) SECTION 8. Clause (i) of section 4C1/2 of chapter 260 of the General Laws shall be limited to all claims arising out of or based upon acts alleged to have caused an injury or condition to a minor which first occurred after the effective date of this act. Clause (ii) of said section 4C1/2 of said chapter 260 and sections 4 to 6, inclusive, of this act shall apply regardless of when any such action or claim shall have accrued or been filed and regardless of whether it may have lapsed or otherwise be barred by time under the law of the commonwealth.
Phinney v. Morgan, 39 Mass. App. Ct. 202, 654 N.E.2d 77 (Mass. App. Ct. 1995), review denied, 421 Mass 1104, 656 NE2d 1258 (Mass. 1995). ( By enacting ALM GL c 260 § 4C, which contains discovery rule for actions brought against perpetrator of sexual abuse of child, Legislature did not intend that judicially crafted discovery rule for actions brought against non perpetrators of such abuse should be precluded under ALM GL ch. 260, § 2A).
a. ALM GL ch. 260, § 2A. Limitation of Three Years in Certain Cases. Except as otherwise provided, actions of tort, actions of contract to recover for personal injuries, and actions of replevin, shall be commenced only within three years next after the cause of action accrues.
- Martin v. Boston Minuteman Council, Inc., 20 Mass. L. Rep. 569, 2006 Mass. Super. LEXIS 89 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2006) (applying discovery provision of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260, § 4C to all plaintiff’s claims against “boy scout council alleging claims for negligence, negligent supervision, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and assault and battery” stemming out of abuse by boy scout troop leaders.)
- Majority, yes.
a. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260, § 4C (“the time limit for commencement of an action under this section is tolled for a child until the child reaches eighteen years of age.”)
Current Criminal SOL in a nutshell
None where victim abused under 16
No Statute Of Limitations For Most Sexual Offenses Committed Against Minor Victims (Under 16): However, independent evidence is required if prosecution is brought more than 27 years from the date of the offense. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 277, § 63 (2008).
Tolling: If the perpetrator sexually abuses a victim in Massachusetts and then if the perpetrator leaves Massachusetts, the criminal statute of limitations tolls for the amount of time the perpetrator is outside of Massachusetts.
None for most crimes where victim is under 16. (But, after +27 years from commission DNA or other corroborating evidence needed). Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 277, § 63.
Section 63. An indictment for murder may be found at any time after the death of the person alleged to have been murdered. An indictment or complaint for an offense set forth in section 13B, 13B1/2, 13B3/4, 13F, 13L, 22A, 22B, 22C, 23, 23A, 23B, 24B or subsection (b) of section 50 of chapter 265, for conspiracy to commit any of these offenses, as an accessory thereto, or any 1 or more of them may be found and filed at any time after the date of the commission of such offense; but any indictment or complaint found and filed more than 27 years after the date of commission of such offense shall be supported by independent evidence that corroborates the victim’s allegation. Such independent evidence shall be admissible during trial and shall not consist exclusively of the opinions of mental health professionals.
Age of Majority / Age of Consent / Age of Marriage
Age of Majority: 18. See, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, § 85P.
Age of Consent: 16. See, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, § 23.
Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: Under 18.
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18.
See, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 207, § 25.
Medical Neglect Statute
CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
Religous Liberty Statute
Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk
No law as of January 2014