Rhode Island

 
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The Laws That Should Protect Our Children

Current Civil SOL in a nutshell

SOL vs. perp: +7 years from majority = Age 25 SOL vs. employer: +3 years from majority = Age 21

Majority Tolling: Age 18 Discovery Tolling: Liberal (against perp. only)

SOL: + 7 years from liberal discovery vs perp; + 3 years from majority vs non-offenders

  1. R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-51(a) “ All claims or causes of action based on intentional conduct brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within seven (7) years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or seven (7) years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act, whichever period expires later.”

  2. R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-14 (b) “Actions for injuries to the person shall be commenced and sued within three (3) years next after the cause of action shall accrue, and not after, except as provided for otherwise in subsection (c) herein.”

a. Kelly v. Marcantonio, 678 A.2d 873 (R.I. 1996) (The time within which a claim for injury resulting from sexual abuse of a minor must be brought is governed by subsection (b) of this section, not § 9-1-51 when the claim is asserted against someone other than the alleged abuser (e.g., against the abuser’s employer)).

TOLLING:

  1. Majority, 18.

a. R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-51(e) (“childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against a complainant who was less than eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the act and which act would have been a criminal violation of chapter 37 of title 11.)

b. R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-19. Disability postponing running of statute .If any person at the time any such cause of action shall accrue to him or her shall be under the age of eighteen (18) years, or of unsound mind, or beyond the limits of the United States, the person may bring the cause of action, within the time limited under this chapter, after the impediment is None.

  1. Discovery, yes, liberal, but vs perp only.

a. R.I. Gen. Laws § 9-1-51(a) (applies vs perp only).

b. Ryan v. Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, 941 A.2d 174 (R.I, 2008). (Even if statutory discovery rule applied in civil clerical sex abuse action that named non-perpetrator church as defendant, thereby allowing for tolling of seven-year limitations period from date of abuse to point at which plaintiff church parishioner reasonably should have discovered the injury, parishioner’s stated reason for her belated filing of action against church, that she had been operating under the belief that priest’s abuse was an act of God, was not objectively reasonable as to toll limitations period, as parishioner, who was 21 years of age at time of abuse, provided testimony tending to show she was aware at the time of the incident that priest’s conduct was wrong.)

i. Ryan v. Roman Catholic Bishop, 941 A.2d 174, 181, 2008 R.I. LEXIS 12, 14-15 (R.I. 2008) (“It is well settled in this jurisdiction that a civil action seeking damages for injuries resulting from sexual abuse of a minor asserted against nonperpetrator defendants must be filed within three years pursuant to G.L. 1956 § 9-1-14(b). Kelly v. Marcantonio, 678 A.2d 873, 877 (R.I. 1996); see also Kelly v. Marcantonio, 187 F.3d 192, 195-96 (1st Cir. 1999). Section 9-1-14(b) provides that “[a]ctions for injuries to the person shall be commenced and sued within three (3) years next after the cause of action shall accrue, and not after.” This Court has previously concluded that, absent an applicable tolling theory, “as far as nonperpetrators are concerned, the statute of limitations for such actions begins to run at the time the injury occurs * .” Kelly, 678 A.2d at 877.”)

ii. Kelly v. Marcantonio, 678 A.2d 873, 877, 1996 R.I. LEXIS 187, 11 (R.I. 1996)(“Accordingly, § 9-1-51 has no application to claims made against nonperpetrator-defendants. In regard to nonperpetrator-defendants, the three-year statute of limitation provided in § 9-1-14(b) applies, subject of course to the tolling provision of § 9-1-19, as amended by P.L. 1988, ch. 107, § 1 3”).

Current Criminal SOL in a nutshell

None for rape, first-degree sexual assault, first-degree child molestation sexual assault, second-degree child molestation sexual assault, bigamy. R.I. Gen. Laws § 12-12-17 (a).

R.I. Gen. Laws § 12-12-17 (a) There shall be no statute of limitations for the following offenses: … rape, first-degree sexual assault, first-degree child molestation sexual assault, second-degree child molestation sexual assault, bigamy…chapter 28 of title 21, or any other offense for which the maximum penalty provided is life imprisonment.

APPLICABILITY: Cannot find the text of any bills or amendments prior to 1989 and 1990, but it appears the SOL for most of these crimes has been None since AT LEAST 1990 when section dealing with controlled substances was added, however you can see the crimes relevant to us were already here then:

[A> 12-12-17. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS. — MANUFACTURING, SELLING, DISTRIBUTION OR POSSESSION WITH INTENT TO MANUFACTURE, SELL OR DISTRIBUTE A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE UNDER CHAPTER 28 OF TITLE 21 (UNIFORM CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES ACT), <A] data-preserve-html-node="true" or any other offense for which the maximum penalty provided is life imprisonment.”) 1990 R.I. SB 2607, 1990 R.I. ALS 284, 1990 R.I. Pub. Ch. 284, 1990 R.I. SB 2607.

Other crimes: R.I. Gen. Laws § 12-12-17 (c) (“The statute of limitations for any other criminal offense shall be three (3) years unless a longer statute of limitations is otherwise provided for in the general laws.”)

Age of Majority: 18. See, R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 15-12-1.
Age of Consent: 16. See, R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 11-37-6.

Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 16 (under 16 with judicial consent).
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18.
See, R.I. Gen. Laws Ann. § 15-2-11.


Medical Neglect Statute

CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

A parent or guardian practicing his reli­gious beliefs which differ from general community standards who does not provide specified medical treatment for a child shall not, for that reason alone, be considered a negligent parent or guardian. However, nothing in this section shall: (1) prevent the child from being considered abused or neglected if the child is harmed or threatened with harm as described in section 40-11-2; or (2) preclude the court from ordering medical services or nonmedical services recognized by the laws of this state to be provided to the child where his or her health requires it.

Rhode Island General Laws §40-11-15

CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

RHODE ISLAND defense to cruelty to or neglect of child

For purposes of this section, and in accordance with § 40-11-15, a parent or guar­dian practicing his or her religious beliefs which differ from general community standards who does not provide specified medical treatment for a child shall not, for that reason alone, be considered an abusive or negligent parent or guardian; provi­ded the provi­sions of this section shall not (1) exempt a parent or guardian from having committed the offense of cruelty or neglect if the child is harmed under the provisions of (a) above; (2) exempt the department from the provisions of section 40-11-5; or (3) prohibit the department from filing a petition, pursuant to the provi­sions of section 40-11-15 for medical services for a child, where his or her health requires it.

Rhode Island General Laws §11-9-5(b)

Note: Rhode Island’s law actually holds the religious objectors to the same stan­dard as other parents. All Rhode Island parents have the same duty to provide medical treatment when the child is at risk of substantial harm. CHILD’s exemption map, therefore, shows Rhode Island as having a religious exemption only in the civil code.


Religous Liberty Statute

Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk

Rhode Island Enacted RFRA Legislation (Enacted: July 22, 1993)

R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-80.1-1 to -4 (1998) § 42-80.1-1 Short title. – This chapter shall be known as the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act”.

History of Section. (P.L. 1993, ch. 230, § 1.)

§ 42-80.1-2 Definitions. – As used in this chapter:

“Governmental authority” means any department, agency, commission, committee, board, council, bureau or authority or any subdivision of state or municipal government.

History of Section. (P.L. 1993, ch. 230, § 1.)

§ 42-80.1-3 Religious freedom protected. – (a) Except as provided for in subsection (b), a governmental authority may not restrict a person’s free exercise of religion. (b) A governmental authority may restrict a person’s free exercise of religion only if:

(1) The restriction is in the form of a rule of general applicability, and does not intentionally discriminate against religion, or among religions; and (2) The governmental authority proves that application of the restriction to the person is essential to further a compelling governmental interest, and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

History of Section. (P.L. 1993, ch. 230, § 1.)

§ 42-80.1-4 Remedies. – In any civil action alleging a violation of this chapter, the court may:

(1) Afford injunctive and declaratory relief against any governmental authority which commits a proposes to commit a violation of this chapter, and; (2) Award a prevailing plaintiff damages.

History of Section. (P.L. 1993, ch. 230, § 1.)