Montana

 
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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 Montana, the civil SOL for child sex abuse claims is capped at age 21 (age of majority, 18, plus 3 years). There is also a discovery rule, which allows victims up to 3 years to file a claim after discovering an injury caused by the abuse.

SOL vs. perp.: Capped at age 21, or, + 3 years from discovery.
SOL vs. employer: Capped at age 21, or, + 3 years from discovery.

Majority Tolling: Age 18
Discovery Tolling: Liberal (+3 years)


Montana State Law Provides:

Tort actions--childhood sexual abuse

(1) An action based on intentional conduct brought by a person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse must be commenced not later than:

(a) 3 years after the act of childhood sexual abuse that is alleged to have caused the injury; or
(b) 3 years after the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the injury was caused by the act of childhood sexual abuse.

(2) It is not necessary for a plaintiff to establish which act, in a series of acts of childhood sexual abuse, caused the injury that is the subject of the suit. The plaintiff may compute the period referred to in subsection (1)(a) from the date of the last act by the same perpetrator.

(3) As used in this section, “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed against a plaintiff who was less than 18 years of age at the time the act occurred and that would have been a violation of 45-5-502, 45-5-503, 45-5-504, 45-5-507, 45-5-625, or prior similar laws in effect at the time the act occurred.

(4) The provisions of 27-2-401 apply to this section.

Mont. Code. Ann. § 27-2-216

TOLLING:

Discovery, yes, liberal

(1) An action based on intentional conduct brought by a person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse must be commenced not later than:

(b) 3 years after the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that the injury was caused by the act of childhood sexual abuse.

Mont. Code. Ann. § 27-2-216 (1)(b)

Cosgriffe v. Cosgriffe, 262 Mont. 175, 864 P.2d 776 (Mont. 1993)

Majority, yes 18.

When person entitled to bring action is under a disability

(1) If a person entitled to bring an action mentioned in part 2, except 27-2-211(3), is, at the time the cause of action accrues, either a minor or has been committed pursuant to 53-21-127, the time of the disability is not a part of the time limit for commencing the action. However, the time limit cannot be extended more than 5 years by the disability of commitment.
Mont. Code. Ann. § 27–2–401

Current Criminal SOL

In Montana, the criminal SOL for felonies is capped at age 28 (age of majority, 18, plus ten years), plus one year from conclusive DNA identification, at any time, regardless of SOL expiration. The criminal SOL for misdemeanors is capped at age 23 (age of majority, 18, plus five years), plus one year from conclusive DNA identification, at any time, regardless of SOL expiration.

SOL for felonies: + 10 years from majority = Age 28 (+ 1 year from conclusive DNA identification, at any time, regardless of SOL expiration). Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205(9).
SOL for misdemeanors: + 5 years from majority = Age 23, (+ 1 year from conclusive DNA identification, at any time, regardless of SOL expiration).


Montana State Law Provides:

General time limitations

(1) (a) A prosecution for deliberate, mitigated, or negligent homicide may be commenced at any time.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (9), a prosecution for a felony offense under 45-5-502, 45-5-503, 45-5-504, 45-5-507(4) or (5), 45-5-625, or 45-5-627 may be commenced within 10 years after it is committed, except that it may be commenced within 20 years after the victim reaches 18 years of age if the victim was less than 18 years of age at the time that the offense occurred. A prosecution for a misdemeanor offense under those provisions may be commenced within 1 year after the offense is committed, except that it may be commenced within 5 years after the victim reaches 18 years of age if the victim was less than 18 years of age at the time that the offense occurred.

(c) Except as provided in subsection (9), a prosecution under 45-5-507(1), (2), (3), or (6) may be commenced within 5 years after the victim reaches 18 years of age if the victim was less than 18 years of age at the time that the offense occurred.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (7)(b) or as otherwise provided by law, prosecutions for other offenses are subject to the following periods of limitation:

(a) A prosecution for a felony must be commenced within 5 years after it is committed.
(b) A prosecution for a misdemeanor must be commenced within 1 year after it is committed.

(3) The periods prescribed in subsection (2) are extended in a prosecution for theft involving a breach of fiduciary obligation to an aggrieved person as follows:

(a) if the aggrieved person is a minor or incompetent, during the minority or incompetency or within 1 year after the termination of the minority or incompetency;
(b) in any other instance, within 1 year after the discovery of the offense by the aggrieved person or by a person who has legal capacity to represent an aggrieved person or has a legal duty to report the offense and is not personally a party to the offense or, in the absence of discovery, within 1 year after the prosecuting officer becomes aware of the offense.

(9) If a suspect is conclusively identified by DNA testing after a time period prescribed in subsection (1)(b) or (1)(c) has expired, a prosecution may be commenced within 1 year after the suspect is conclusively identified by DNA testing.

Mont. Code. Ann. § 45-1-205

Age of Majority: 18. See Mont. Const. art. II § 14.
Age of Consent: 16. See Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-501.

Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 16 with judicial consent.
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18.
See Mont. Code. Ann. §§ 40-1-202, 40-1-213.


Medical Neglect Statute

CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

A child shall not be considered neglected or abused solely because their parent chooses to provide spiritual treatment alone. However, the state also has administrative and judicial authority to ensure medical care is provided to the child when there is substantial risk of serious harm.

Montana Civil Statute:
Nothing in this chapter may be construed to require or justify a finding of child abuse or neglect for the sole reason that a parent, due to religious beliefs, does not provide adequate health care for a child. However, nothing in this chapter may be construed to limit the adminis­tra­tive or judicial authority of the state to ensure that medical care is provided to the child when there is imminent substantial risk of serious harm to the child.
Mont. Code Ann. § 41-3-102(4)(b)

CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

There is no religious exemption to criminal liability for parents failing to provide medical care based on faith.

Montana Criminal Statute:
None


DNA Provision

Current DNA Provision

*As of December 2018

If a suspect is conclusively identified by DNA testing after a time period prescribed in subsection (1)(b) or (1)(c) has expired, a prosecution may be commenced within 1 year after the suspect is conclusively identified by DNA testing.

Mont. Code Ann. § 45-1-205 (West)


Religous Liberty Statute

Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk

No law as of January 2017


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.