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 Nebraska, there is no civil SOL for child sex abuse claims.
SOL vs. perp: none. Click to read Nebraska Legislative Bill 300, which codified this change.
SOL vs. employer: +12 years from majority = Age 33
Majority Tolling: Age 21
Discovery Tolling: Liberal
Nebraska State Law Provides:
Action by victim of sexual assault of a child
(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law:
(a) There shall not be any time limitation for an action against the individual or individuals directly causing an injury or injuries suffered by a plaintiff when the plaintiff was a victim of a violation of section 28-319.01 or 28-320.01 if such violation occurred
(i) on or after August 24, 2017, or
(2) prior to August 24, 2017, if such action was not previously time barred; and
(b) An action against any person or entity other than the individual directly causing an injury or injuries suffered by a plaintiff when the plaintiff was a victim of a violation of section 28-319.01 or 28-320.01 may only be brought within twelve years after the plaintiff's twenty-first birthday.
Neb.Rev.St. § 25-228
Actions for trespass, conversion, other torts, and frauds; exceptions
The following actions can only be brought within four years: (1) An action for trespass upon real property; (2) an action for taking, detaining or injuring personal property, including actions for the specific recovery of personal property; (3) an action for an injury to the rights of the plaintiff, not arising on contract, and not hereinafter enumerated; and (4) an action for relief on the ground of fraud, but the cause of action in such case shall not be deemed to have accrued until the discovery of the fraud, except as provided in sections 30-2206 and 76-288 to 76-298.
Neb.Rev.St. § 25-207
Majority: Yes. 21st birthday.
Tolling of statutes of limitation
Except as provided in sections 76-288 to 76-298, if a person entitled to bring any action mentioned in Chapter 25, the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act, the Nebraska Hospital-Medical Liability Act, the State Contract Claims Act, the State Tort Claims Act, or the State Miscellaneous Claims Act, except for a penalty or forfeiture, for the recovery of the title or possession of lands, tenements, or hereditaments, or for the foreclosure of mortgages thereon, is, at the time the cause of action accrued, within the age of twenty years, a person with a mental disorder, or imprisoned, every such person shall be entitled to bring such action within the respective times limited by Chapter 25 after such disability is none. For the recovery of the title or possession of lands, tenements, or hereditaments or for the foreclosure of mortgages thereon, every such person shall be entitled to bring such action within twenty years from the accrual thereof but in no case longer than ten years after the termination of such disability. Absence from the state, death, or other disability shall not operate to extend the period within which actions in rem are to be commenced by and against a nonresident or his or her representative.
R.R.S. Neb. § 25-213
Discovery: Yes, very narrow (full & total memory repression from date of act essentially necessary)
The focal point for determining when a cause of action accrues, even under the application of the discovery rule, is when the actual injury occurs. The focus is not on when the injured party recognizes whose negligence is responsible for the injury, but, rather, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date on which the party holding the cause of action discovers or, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, should have discovered the existence of the injury.
Teater v. State, 252 Neb. 20, 26, 559 N.W.2d 758, 763 (Neb. 1997)
The repression of memories cannot toll statute of limitations in Nebraska when repression occurs later, after plaintiff has already “discovered” factual basis of his or her cause of action; nor if plaintiff retained/regained memory of the abuse at any time since the events occurred.
Van Sickle v. Mize, No. 4:04cv3239 (D. Neb. Sept. 9, 2005)
Current Criminal SOL
In Nebraska, there is no criminal SOL for sexual assault of a child in the first, second or third degree, incest, and sexual assault in the third degree when the victim is under sixteen years of age. The criminal SOL for all other offenses is seven years from the victim’s 16th birthday or 7 years after commission of the act, whichever is later.
NONE, for sexual assault of a child in the first, second or third degree, incest, and
sexual assault in the third degree when the victim is under sixteen years of age.
SOL for all other offenses is either, + 7 years from the victim’s 16 th birthday = Age 23, or the later of 7 years after commission of the act.
Nebraska State Law Provides:
Prosecutions; complaint, indictment, or information; filing; time limitations; exceptions
(3) Except as otherwise provided by law, no person shall be prosecuted for kidnapping under section 28-313, false imprisonment under section 28-314 or 28-315, child abuse under section 28-707, pandering under section 28-802, debauching a minor under section 28-805, or an offense under section 28-813, 28-813.01, or 28-1463.03 when the victim is under sixteen years of age at the time of the offense (a) unless the indictment for such offense is found by a grand jury within seven years next after the offense has been committed or within seven years next after the victim's sixteenth birthday, whichever is later, or (b) unless a complaint for such offense is filed before the magistrate within seven years next after the offense has been committed or within seven years next after the victim's sixteenth birthday, whichever is later, and a warrant for the arrest of the defendant has been issued.
(8) There shall not be any time limitations for prosecution or punishment for treason, murder, arson, forgery, sexual assault in the first or second degree under section 28-319 or 28-320, sexual assault of a child in the second or third degree under section 28-320.01, incest under section 28-703, or sexual assault of a child in the first degree under section 28-319.01; nor shall there be any time limitations for prosecution or punishment for sexual assault in the third degree under section 28-320 when the victim is under sixteen years of age at the time of the offense.
NE ST § 29-110
Age of Majority / Age of Consent / Age of Marriage
Age of Majority: 19 unless already legally married. See, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-2101. Age of consent to marriage: 17. See, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 42-102.
Age of Consent: 16 for sexual contact. See, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-319. 17 for “debauching a minor.” See, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-805.
Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 17.
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 19.
See, Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 42-102, 42-105, 43-2101.
Medical Neglect Statute
CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
There is no religious exemption to civil liability for parents failing to provide medical care based on faith.
Nebraska Civil Statute:
CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
There is no religious exemption to criminal liability for parents failing to provide medical care based on faith.
Nebraska Civil Statute:
Current DNA Provision
*As of December 2018
Religous Liberty Statute
Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk
No law as of January 2014
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.