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 Ohio, the civil SOL for child sex abuse claims is capped at age 30 (age of majority, 18, plus 12 years).
SOL vs. perp: +12 years from majority = Age 30
SOL vs. employer: +12 years from majority = Age 30
Majority Tolling: Age 18
Discovery Tolling: No
SOL: + 12 years from majority (Age 30).
Ohio State Law Provides:
Bodily injury or injury to personal property
(E) An action brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse asserting any claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse, as defined in section 2305.111 of the Revised Code, shall be brought as provided in division (C) of that section.
Ohio Rev Code Ann. 2305.10
Assault or battery actions - childhood sexual abuse
(C) An action for assault or battery brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse based on childhood sexual abuse, or an action brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse asserting any claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse, shall be brought within twelve years after the cause of action accrues. For purposes of this section, a cause of action for assault or battery based on childhood sexual abuse, or a cause of action for a claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse, accrues upon the date on which the victim reaches the age of majority. If the defendant in an action brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse asserting a claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse that occurs on or after August 3, 2006, has fraudulently concealed from the plaintiff facts that form the basis of the claim, the running of the limitations period with regard to that claim is tolled until the time when the plaintiff discovers or in the exercise of due diligence should have discovered those facts.
Ohio Rev Code Ann. 2305.111
Majority, yes. 18 (for most children).
Ohio Rev Code Ann. 2305.111 (C)
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2305.111(A)(defining majority)
Twelve years after the cause of action accrues” and “accrual at the age of majority
Ohio Rev Code Ann. 2305.111 (C)
Finding that R.C. 2305.111(C) does not contain tolling provision for repressed memories of childhood sexual abuse, thus discovery rule did not apply to toll statute of limitations while victim of childhood sexual abuse repressed memories of abuse.
Pratte v. Stewart, 125 Ohio St. 3d 473, 474-75, 929 N.E.2d 415, 417-18 (Ohio 2010)
Trial court properly found that the statute of limitations had expired prior to appellants filing their claims because the discovery rule was not applicable; since appellants filed the action for assault and battery before August 3, 2006, the trial court correctly applied former R.C. 2305.111 and was required to determine whether the common law discovery rule tolled the one-year statute of limitations. The abuse survivor had sufficient facts to have gone forward to the authorities with the allegations of satanic ritual abuse or to initiate a lawsuit against the identified individuals in order to determine who the unknown participants were.
Doe v. Robinson, 2010 Ohio App. LEXIS 4953, 2010 Ohio 5894, (Dec. 3, 2010).
Current Criminal SOL
In Ohio, the criminal SOL for rape and sexaul assault battery is capped at age 43 (age of majority, 18, plus 25 years) or within 5 years after the determination is completed of a DNA record made in connection with the criminal investigation of the commission of a violation, and if the time of the determination is within or later than twenty-five years after the commission of the act. The criminal SOL for all other felonies is capped at age 38 (age of majority, 18, plus 20 years) and age 20 (age of majority, 18, plus two years) for misdemeanors.
SOL vs. perp. (for rape and sexual assault battery): + 25 years from majority, or,
within 5 years after the determination is completed of a DNA record made in
connection with the criminal investigation of the commission of a violation, and if the
time of the determination is within or later than twenty-five years after the commission
of the act.
SOL for all other felonies vs. perp.: + 20 years, from majority = Age 38
SOL for misdemeanors vs. perp.: + 2 years, from majority= Age 20
Ohio State Law Provides:
Limitation of criminal prosecutions
Except as otherwise provided in divisions (B) to (H) of this section, a prosecution of any of the following offenses shall be barred unless it is commenced within twenty years after the offense is committed. (a) A violation of section 2903.03, 2903.04, 2905.01, 2905.32, 2907.02, 2907.03, 2907.04, 2907.05, 2907.21, 2909.02, 2909.22, 2909.23, 2909.24, 2909.26, 2909.27, 2909.28, 2909.29, 2911.01, 2911.02, 2911.11, 2911.12, or 2917.02 of the Revised Code, a violation of section 2903.11 or 2903.12 of the Revised Code if the victim is a peace officer, a violation of section 2903.13 of the Revised Code that is a felony, or a violation of former section 2907.12 of the Revised Code;
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2901.13 (3)
The period of limitation for a violation of any provision of Title XXIX of the Revised Code that involves a physical or mental wound, injury, disability, or condition of a nature that reasonably indicates abuse or neglect of a child under eighteen years of age or of a child with a developmental disability or physical impairment under twenty-one years of age shall not begin to run until either of the following occurs: (1) The victim of the offense reaches the age of majority; (2) A public children services agency, or a municipal or county peace officer that is not the parent or guardian of the child, in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred has been notified that abuse or neglect is known, suspected, or believed to have occurred.
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2901.13 (J)
With respect to sex offenses involving children, the statute of limitations is tolled until the victim reaches the age of majority, where the corpus delicti of the offenses has not previously been discovered by a responsible adult as listed in R.C. 2151.421. State v. Hughes (1994), 92 Ohio App.3d 26, 29, 633 N.E.2d 1217; R.C. 2901.13(F).
State v. Ashcraft, 2009-Ohio-5281, P32, 2009 Ohio App. LEXIS 4472, 15-16, 2009 WL 3165598 (Ohio Ct. App., Butler County Oct. 5, 2009)
The period of limitation shall not run during any time when the corpus delicti remains undiscovered.
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13 (G)
Age of Majority / Age of Consent / Age of Marriage
Age of Majority: 18, unless under a legal disability. See, Ohio Rev. Stat. § 3109.01.
Age of Consent: 16. See, Ohio Rev. Stat. § 2907.06.
Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 18 for men; 16 for women; no minimum wage with judicial consent.
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18.
See, Ohio Rev. Code § 3101.01; Ohio Rules of Juvenile Procedure, Rule 42.
Medical Neglect Statute
CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
There is no religious exemption to criminal liability for parents failing to provide medical care based on faith.
Ohio Civil Statute:
CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
There is a religious exemption to child endangerment and manslaughter for parents who treat their children using spiritual means in accordance with a recognized religious body.
Ohio Law Provides:
OHIO defense to felony child endangerment and manslaughter
It is not a violation of a duty of care, protection or support of a child under 18 years of age or a mentally or physically handicapped child under 21 years of age when the parent, guardian, custodian, person having custody or control or person in loco parentis treats the physical or mental illness or defect of the child by spiritual means through prayer alone, in accordance with the tenets of a recognized religious body.
Ohio Revised Code §2919.22a
Note: The above becomes a defense to manslaughter as well because manslaughter requires proof that a separate felony has been committed.
See Ohio Rev. Code §2903.04.
Two county courts have ruled the religious defense prospectively unconstitutional on the grounds that it violates the Establishment Clause and the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the laws. State v. Miskimens, 490 N.E.2d 931 (Ohio Ct. Com. Pl. 1984) and State v. Miller, Mercer Cty. Common Pleas Ct., Ohio #86-CRM30 and 31 (1987). In Miller, the judge wrote, “It is the hope of this Court that these types of cases will not have to be pursued by the prosecution in the remaining eighty-six counties.”
Current DNA Provision
*As of December 2018
(D)(1) If a DNA record made in connection with the criminal investigation of the commission of a violation of section 2907.02 or 2907.03 of the Revised Code is determined to match another DNA record that is of an identifiable person and if the time of the determination is later than twenty-five years after the offense is committed, prosecution of that person for a violation of the section may be commenced within five years after the determination is complete.
(2) If a DNA record made in connection with the criminal investigation of the commission of a violation of section 2907.02 or 2907.03 of the Revised Code is determined to match another DNA record that is of an identifiable person and if the time of the determination is within twenty-five years after the offense is committed, prosecution of that person for a violation of the section may be commenced within the longer of twenty-five years after the offense is committed or five years after the determination is complete.
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2901.13 (West)
Religous Liberty Statute
Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk
Previously Introduced Legislation
2013-2014 H.B. 376 [PDF Document]
As Introduced: 130th General Assembly, Regular Session, 2013-2014, No. 376
Cosponsors: Representatives Henne, Smith, Hottinger, Grossman, Lynch, Amstutz, Hood, Huffman, Boose, McClain, Becker, Hayes, Burkley, Retherford, Young, Beck, Sears, Romanchuk, Barnes, Johnson, Stautberg, Sprague, Conditt, Hall, Scherer, Mallory, Adams, J., Brenner, Terhar, Buchy, Adams, R., Maag, Ruhl, Blessing, Green, Rosenberger, Thompson, Milkovich, Roegner, Hagan, C., Wachtmann, Hill, Blair
A Bill To enact sections 9.69, 9.691, and 9.692 of the Revised Code to enact the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF OHIO:
Section 1. That sections 9.69, 9.691, and 9.692 of the Revised Code be enacted to read as follows:
Sec. 9.69. Sections 9.69 to 9.692 of the Revised Code shall be known and may be cited as the Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Sec. 9.691. As used in sections 9.691 and 9.692 of the Revised Code:
(A) “Burden” means any action that directly or indirectly constrains, inhibits, curtails, or denies the exercise of religion by any person or compels any action contrary to a person’s exercise of religion. “Burden” includes, but is not limited to, withholding benefits, assessing criminal, civil, or administrative penalties, or exclusion from governmental programs or access to governmental facilities.
(B) “Compelling governmental interest” means a governmental interest of the highest magnitude that cannot otherwise be achieved without burdening the exercise of religion.
(C) “Exercise of religion” means the practice or observance of religion. “Exercise of religion” includes, but is not limited to, the ability to act or the refusal to act in a manner that is substantially motivated by one’s sincerely held religious belief, whether or not the exercise is compulsory or central to a larger system of religious belief.
(D) “State action” means the implementation or application of any law, including, but not limited to, state and local laws, ordinances, rules, regulations, and policies, whether statutory or otherwise, or any other action by the state, a political subdivision of the state, an instrumentality of the state or political subdivision of the state, or a public official that is authorized by law in the state.
Sec. 9.692. (A) State action or an action by any person based on state action shall not burden a person’s right to exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to that person’s exercise of religion in that particular instance is both of the following:
(1) Essential to further a compelling governmental interest;
(2) The least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
(B) A person whose exercise of religion has been burdened or is likely to be burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the state or a political subdivision of the state is a party to the proceeding. The person asserting that claim or defense may obtain appropriate relief, including relief against the state or a political subdivision of the state. Appropriate relief includes, but is not limited to, injunctive relief, declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and the recovery of costs and reasonable attorney’s fees.
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.