Senate President Therese Murray has appointed Senator Will Brownsberger to serve as Senate Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary. He replaces Kathryn Clark who is now serving as Representative in Congress.
Senator Brownsberger remarked: "I very much look forward to serving in this role — it will allow me to add additional value on a number of issues that have long been important to me and to my constituents." One of those issues is reform of our state's Statute of Limitations in cases of child sexual abuse. Senator Brownsberger has been a key proponent of giving survivors of sexual abuse whose time limits have ended, an opportunity to seek justice in civil court. Passage of SOL reform would also help prevent the sexual abuse of more children since abusers who have hidden behind the outdated laws would no longer be able to abuse without challenge. Survivors and advocates are hoping that the SOL bills which have been languishing in the Judiciary Committee will finally be voted out favorably so that legislators will be able to vote for passage.
Read the letter that was delivered to Speaker DeLeo and President Murray August 2, 2013:
There are two bills currently before the legislature that look to adress the need for Statute of Limitations reform when dealing with cases of child sexual abuse. Senate bill 633 is sponsored by Sen. Brownsberger and House bill 1455 is sponsered by Representatives Lawn and Stanley, read the bills here:
1. What is the problem?
Sexual abuse is a pervasive social problem, and a major public health issue in
- Sex offenders lack empathy for their victims, or concern for their emotional well-being. They use highly manipulative grooming techniques, emphasizing the secret aspects of the conduct.
- Victims feel guilt and shame, and while they may be aware that “something” is wrong, the perpetrator tells them the molestation or rape is right, or threatens repercussions against them or their families, causing confusion and preventing them from speaking out.
The current civil statute of limitations law makes great strides in advancing the rights of survivors to seek justice from their abusers. Currently, however, it does not provide relief to survivors of child sexual abuse who are 53 years of age or older.
Advocates indicate that as many as 40% of currently identified survivors are over 53. Let Senator Brownsberger know that survivors who have been time-barred from seeking justice under the new civil SOL law cannot be denied the opportunity yet again to have their cases heard.
Post your message to Sen. Brownsberger in the forum on his website. He reads every message and often responds directly so make your voice heard!