A new law to take effect this July in Nebraska will allow victims of child sexual abuse until the age of 33 to file claims against their abusers. State Senator Pete Pirsch of Omaha, bill sponsor and former criminal prosecutor, said “The old law cut off kids soon after they reached adulthood and said, ‘If you’re not willing to deal with it now, too bad, the perpetrator is off the hook.’ The bill gives them a little more time to come to grips with what has occurred and to seek action.”
According to the Omaha World-Herald, counselors, lawmakers, attorneys, and psychologists have long believed the current statute of limitations does not allow victims enough time to “overcome shame, guilt, embarrassment and fear of retaliation,” and come forward. This process, experts say, can take decades.
Opponents of the extension say it could set loose a flood a lawsuits, and claim that the statute of limitations exist to protect people from being accused of crimes based on old evidence and memories, and to aid the court in operating efficiently.
New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania have also reviewed their statute of limitation laws for civil abuse cases, while some Catholic conferences have denounced the move.