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 South Dakota, 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 that allows victims to file a claim once they’ve discovered an injury caused by the abuse.
SOL vs. perp: +3 years from majority = Age 21
SOL vs. employer: +3 years from majority = Age 21
Majority Tolling: Age 18
Discovery Tolling: Liberal
South Dakota State Law Provides:
Time for commencing civil action for damages resulting from childhood sexual abuse
Any civil 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 three years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or three 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. However, no person who has reached the age of forty years may recover damages from any person or entity other than the person who perpetrated the actual act of sexual abuse.
SD ST § 26-10-25
Tolling of statute during disability--Maximum period of extension--Actions excepted
If a person entitled to bring an action other than for the recovery of real property, except for a penalty or forfeiture, or against a sheriff or other officer for an escape, was at the time the cause of action accrued, either:
(1) Within the age of minority as defined in chapter 26-1; or
(2) Mentally ill;
the time of the person's disability is not a part of the time limited for the commencement of the action.
The period within which the action shall be brought cannot be extended more than five years by any disability except infancy, nor can it be extended in any case longer than one year after the disability ceases.
SD ST § 15-2-22
If a person . . . was at the time the cause of action accrued, either: (1) Within the age of Majority as defined in chapter 26-1 . . . the time of the person’s disability is not a part of the time limited for the commencement of the action.
S.D. Codified Laws § 15-2-22
Applying S.D. Codified Laws § 26-10-25 to plaintiff’s claims & noting accrual occurred when plaintiff “discovered the childhood sexual abuse perpetrated…was the cause of [plaintiff’s] serious psychological injuries.
Pecoraro v. Diocese of Rapid City, 435 F.3d 870, 874 (8th Cir. S.D. 2006)
SDCL 26-10-25, however, may delay the accrual until a plaintiff reasonably should have discovered the causal connection between the alleged abuse and the plaintiff’s injury. Therefore, we agree with One Star and Sorace that, under this statute, discovery of the injuries alone is not sufficient to start the running of the statute. Rather, there must also be discovery of some tie linking the acts of abuse to an injury; i.e., ‘that the injury or condition was caused by the act.’ SDCL 26-10-25.
One Star v. Sisters of St. Francis, 2008 SD 55, P13, 752 N.W.2d 668, 675 (S.D. 2008)
Because plaintiff knew that he had been sexually abused by two members of a religious order and was angry and left school as a result of the abuse, plaintiff was on inquiry notice more than three years before he brought his suit, and the three-year statute of limitations in S.D. Codified Laws § 26-10-25 barred his suit.
Iron Wing v. Catholic Diocese, 2011 SD 79, 807 N.W.2d 108 (Nov. 30, 2011)
The three year period in S.D. Codified Laws § 15-2-14(3) starts to run from the last occurrence of tortious conduct, rather than three years from the discovery of the harm.
Bernie v. Blue Cloud Abbey, 2012 SD 64, 821 N.W.2d 224 (Sept. 5, 2012)
Current Criminal SOL
In South Dakota, there is no criminal SOL for Class A, Class B, and Class C felonies. For all other child sex abuse crimes and misdemeanors, the criminal SOL is capped at age 25 (age of majority, 18, plus seven years).
None for most felonies.
No later than 25 years after the victim’s 18th birthday for most sexual offenses against minors.
SOL vs. perp. (for sexual battery, aggravated sexual battery, incest on or after June 20, 2006): + 7 years from majority = Age 25
SOL vs. perp. (for rape and aggravated rape committed on or after June 20, 2006 but prior to July 1, 2014): + 7 years from majority = Age 25
SOL vs. perp. (for rape committed on or after July 1, 2007): + 25 years from age of majority = Age 43
SOL vs. perp. (for aggravated rape committed on or after July 1, 2007, but prior to July 1, 2014): + 25 years from age of majority = Age 43
SOL vs. perp. (for sexual exploitation and aggravated sexual exploitation committed on or after July 1, 2012): + 25 years from age of majority = 43 SOL vs. perp. (for soliciting sexual exploitation and trafficking committed on or after July 1, 2013): + 15 years from age of majority = Age 33
SOL vs. perp. (for either patronizing or promoting prostitution, committed on or after
July 1, 2013): + 10 years from age of majority = Age 28
SOL vs. perp. (for promoting prostitution on or after July 1, 2015): + 25 years from age of majority = Age 43
No SOL for rape and aggravated rape vs. perp. if the following conditions are met:
(1) The victim notifies law enforcement or the DA of the offense within 3 years of commission; and
(2) The offense was committed on or after July 1, 2014; OR prior to July 1, 2014 if the offense is not barred due to applicable time limitations set out in other subsections.
SOL vs. perp. (for aggravated statutory rape committed on or after July 1, 2016): + 15 years from age of majority = Age 33
South Dakota State Law Provides:
Rape--Degrees--Felony--Statute of limitations
Rape is an act of sexual penetration accomplished with any person under any of the following circumstances:
(1) If the victim is less than thirteen years of age; or
(2) Through the use of force, coercion, or threats of immediate and great bodily harm against the victim or other persons within the victim's presence, accompanied by apparent power of execution; or
(3) If the victim is incapable, because of physical or mental incapacity, of giving consent to such act; or
(4) If the victim is incapable of giving consent because of any intoxicating, narcotic, or anesthetic agent or hypnosis; or
(5) If the victim is thirteen years of age, but less than sixteen years of age, and the perpetrator is at least three years older than the victim.
A violation of subdivision (1) of this section is rape in the first degree, which is a Class C felony. A violation of subdivision (2) of this section is rape in the second degree which is a Class 1 felony. A violation of subdivision (3) or (4) of this section is rape in the third degree, which is a Class 2 felony. A violation of subdivision (5) of this section is rape in the fourth degree, which is a Class 3 felony. Notwithstanding the provisions of § 23A-42-2, no statute of limitations applies to any charge brought pursuant to subdivisions (1) or (2) of this section. Otherwise a charge brought pursuant to this section may be commenced at any time prior to the time the victim becomes of age twenty-five or within seven years of the commission of the crime, whichever is longer.
SD ST § 22-22-1
Sexual contact with child under sixteen
Any person, sixteen years of age or older, who knowingly engages in sexual contact with another person, other than that person's spouse if the other person is under the age of sixteen years is guilty of a Class 3 felony. If the victim is at least thirteen years of age and the actor is less than five years older than the victim, the actor is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Notwithstanding § 23A-42-2, a charge brought pursuant to this section may be commenced at any time before the victim becomes age twenty-five or within seven years of the commission of the crime, whichever is longer.
S.D. Codified Laws § 22-22-7
No limitation on prosecution for Class A, Class B, or Class C felonies
There is no limitation on the time within which a prosecution for Class A, Class B, or Class C felony must be commenced.
S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-42-1
Age of Majority / Age of Consent / Age of Marriage
Age of Majority: 18. See, S.D. Cod. Laws § 26-1-1.
Age of Consent: 16. See, S.D. Cod. Laws § 22-22-1.
Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 16.
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18.
See, S.D. Cod. Laws § 25-1-9.
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.
South Dakota Civil Statute:
CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE
A parent cannot be help liable for nonsupport of their child solely for providing nonmedical treatment in accordance with a legitimate religion.
South Dakota Criminal Statute:
SOUTH DAKOTA defense to nonsupport Any parent who chooses nonmedical remedial health services recognized or permitted under state law in the legitimate practice of religious beliefs in lieu of medical attendance is not for that reason alone in violation of 25-7-17 and 25-7-20.
South Dakota Statutes §25-7-17.1
Current DNA Provision
*As of December 2018
Religous Liberty Statute
Religious liberty statute that could put children at risk
None as of 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.