Washington

 
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A statute of limitations (or SOL), simply, is the maximum amount of time one has to bring a lawsuit from the time of the injury or other ground for a lawsuit.

SOLs vary from state to state and from claim to claim. For example, a SOL for a lawsuit about a contract may be different from a lawsuit about a personal injury and both may be of varying durations between different states. The statute of limitations may also be set to begin running at different times. Some SOLs begin running at the time of the injury and others begin running when the injury is discovered. In cases with minors, the SOL is “tolled” or doesn’t begin to run until the minor turns 18.

Child Sex Abuse Statutes of Limitation and Related Laws

Current Civil SOL

In Washington, the SOL for civil 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 to file a claim up to 3 years after discovering 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 (+3 years)

SOL: 3 years from majority or liberal discovery whichever is later.


Washington State Law Provides:

Actions based on childhood sexual abuse

(1) 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 the later of the following periods:

(a) Within three years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition;
(b) Within three years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by said act; or
(c) Within three years of the time the victim discovered that the act caused the injury for which the claim is brought:
PROVIDED, That the time limit for commencement of an action under this section is tolled for a child until the child reaches the age of eighteen years.

(2) The victim need not establish which act in a series of continuing sexual abuse or exploitation incidents caused the injury complained of, but may compute the date of discovery from the date of discovery of the last act by the same perpetrator which is part of a common scheme or plan of sexual abuse or exploitation.

(3) The knowledge of a custodial parent or guardian shall not be imputed to a person under the age of eighteen years.

(4) For purposes of this section, “child” means a person under the age of eighteen years.

(5) As used in this section, “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against a complainant who was less than eighteen years of age at the time of the act and which act would have been a violation of chapter 9A.44 RCW or RCW 9.68A.040 or prior laws of similar effect at the time the act was committed.

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.16.340

  1. C.J.C. v. Corp. of the Catholic Bishop of Yakima, 985 P.2d 262 (Wash. 1999). (Statute of limitations encompassed causes of action sounding in negligence against parties who did not themselves directly perpetrate acts of childhood sexual abuse, but who allegedly failed to protect child victims, overruling Jamerson v. Vandiver, 85 Wash.App. 564, 934 P.2d 1199).

TOLLING:

Majority, yes. 18.

PROVIDED, That the time limit for commencement of an action under this section is tolled for a child until the child reaches the age of eighteen years.
Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.16.340 (c)

Discovery, yes, liberal.

(b)Within three years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by said act; or
(c) Within three years of the time the victim discovered that the act caused the injury for which the claim is brought
Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.16.340 (1) (b)-(c)

Statute of limitations for actions based on childhood sexual abuse is tolled until victim in fact discovers causal connection between act of abuse and injuries for which claim is brought, rather than only until victim should have discovered causal connection
Hollmann v. Corcoran, 89 Wn. App. 323, 949 P.2d 386 (1997)

Limitations applicable to intentional acts of sexual abuse by perp extends to negligence claims against non-perps based on their contribution to the harm.
C.J.C. v. Corp. of the Catholic Bishop of Yakima, 985 P.2d 262 (Wash. 19999)

Current Criminal SOL

In Washington, the criminal SOL for the felonies of rape in the first, second, and third degrees, child molestation in the first, second, and third degrees, indecent liberties, incest and sexual exploitation of a minor is capped at the victims 30th birthday. The criminal SOL for misdemeanors is capped at age 20 (age of majority, 18, plus two years).

SOL for felonies: rape in the first – third degrees, child molestation in the first – third degrees, indecent liberties, incest and sexual exploitation of a

minor, are capped at the victim’s 30 th birthday. Rev. Code Wash. § 9A.04.080 (1)(c).
SOL for misdemeanors vs. perp.: + 2 years from majority = Age 20


Washington State Law Provides:

Limitation of actions

(1) Prosecutions for criminal offenses shall not be commenced after the periods prescribed in this section.

(c) Violations of the following statutes, when committed against a victim under the age of eighteen, may be prosecuted up to the victim's thirtieth birthday: RCW 9A.44.040 (rape in the first degree), 9A.44.050 (rape in the second degree), 9A.44.073 (rape of a child in the first degree), 9A.44.076 (rape of a child in the second degree), 9A.44.079 (rape of a child in the third degree), 9A.44.083 (child molestation in the first degree), 9A.44.086 (child molestation in the second degree), 9A.44.089 (child molestation in the third degree), 9A.44.100(1)(b) (indecent liberties), 9A.64.020 (incest), or 9.68A.040 (sexual exploitation of a minor).

(d) A violation of any offense listed in this subsection (1)(d) may be prosecuted up to ten years after its commission or, if committed against a victim under the age of eighteen, up to the victim's thirtieth birthday, whichever is later:

(i) RCW 9.68A.100 (commercial sexual abuse of a minor);
(ii) RCW 9.68A.101 (promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor); or
(iii) RCW 9.68A.102 (promoting travel for commercial sexual abuse of a minor).

WA ST 9A.04.080

Age of Majority: 18. See, Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 26.28.010.
Age of Consent: 16. See, Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 9A.44.079.

Age of Marriage with Parental Consent: 17 (under 17 with judicial consent).
Age of Marriage without Parental Consent: 18.
See, Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §§ 26.04.010, 26.04.210.


Medical Neglect Statute

CIVIL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

A child shall not be considered neglected solely because their parents provide spiritual treatment in accordance with a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner.

Washington Civil Statute:
[A] person who is being furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science prac¬ti¬tioner shall not be considered, for that reason alone, a neglected person for the purposes of this chapter.
Revised Code of Washington §26.44.020(18) (on reporting obligations)

[A child who] is abused or neglected as defined in chapter 26.44 RCW by a person legally responsible for the care of the child [may be adjudicated as dependent].
Revised Code of Washington §13.34.030(5)(b) (26.44 RCW contains a religious exemption.)

Nothing in RCW 62.05.010 through 72.05.210 shall be construed as limiting the right of a parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis in providing any medical or other remedial treatment recognized or permitted under the laws of this state.
Revised Code of Washington §72.05.200 (deals with institutionalized children)

CRIMINAL MEDICAL NEGLECT STATUTE

There is a religious exemption to criminal mistreatment and second-degree murder if the parent, in good faith, provides Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited practitioner.

Washington Law Provides:
WASHINGTON defense to criminal mistreatment and second-degree murder
It is the intent of the legislature that a person who, in good faith, is furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited Christian Science practitioner in lieu of medical care is not considered deprived of medically necessary health care or abandoned.
Revised Code of Washington §9A.42.005
Note: Washington has in effect a religious defense to second-degree murder as well be¬cause RCW §9A.32.050(1)(b) requires the prosecutor to prove that another felony has been committed in order to prove second-degree murder and criminal mis¬treatment is the only felony that could be charged for medical neglect.

Washington Church of the Firstborn parents tried to raise the statute as a defense when they were charged with homicide for withholding medical care from their son. They argued it was unconstitutional for the state to exempt Christian Scientists from criminal liability and to prosecute them for the same behavior as the Christian Scientists.

The court refused to dismiss the charges, ruling that the legislature could have had “a rational basis” for exempting Christian Scientists and members of no other religion from liability in that Christian Science spiritual healers are licensed (untrue) and those healers are required to report child abuse and neglect to state child protection services. The latter is technically true, but it is unlikely the healers report medical neglect since both the civil and criminal codes say that children getting Christian Science spiritual treatment of illnesses in lieu of medical care are not neglected. State v. Swezey, Okanogan County Superior Court Memorandum Order denying Motion to Dismiss case #12-100045-8 (2012)


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.