MIDDLETOWN (SCSA) — The 88th session of the Texas State Legislature has convened, and three House Bills and one Senate Bill have been filed that concern the reform of the civil Statute of Limitations for childhood sex abuse crimes.
As of this publication, the House Bills HB206, HB3533 and HB4601 are currently in the House Committee on Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, and Senate Bill SB751 is currently in the Senate State Affairs Committee. It is SCSA's position that Statute of Limitations reform for sex crimes against our children is a truly bipartisan issue; everyone can get behind the idea that protecting our children is our number one priority. The bone of contention is not the elimination of the Statute of Limitations itself, but who it will apply to. It is also our position that it should apply to all of our children, present, future, and PAST.
In the United States alone, there are hundreds of thousands of victims and survivors of childhood sex abuse that are still living. We believe that number to be low, as these crimes are not only under reported, but not reported at all as well. The worldwide numbers are simply staggering. This is due to a phenomenon called "Delayed Disclosure," which causes victims to not disclose their abuse to anyone, until it either kills them, or the symptoms become so severe, that they finally disclose their childhood sex abuse to someone.
If they do not end their lives, victims usually disclose their childhood sex abuse in their late forties and early fifties, with the average age being fifty-two years old. For a layman's explanation of this, please see our article "The Effects Of Childhood Sex Abuse." If you are a mental health professional, attorney, or legislator who needs to understand the science of Delayed Disclosure, Please see Dr. Scott Easton's paper, “'Would You Tell Under Circumstances Like That?': Barriers to Disclosure of Child Sexual Abuse for Men." While this paper focused on males, the female studies show that women have the same barriers to disclosure. In addition, this paper was written in 2013, and we know much more about Delayed Disclosure a decade later.
As an organization, SCSA does not lobby legislation, nor do we hire lobbyists. However, as Advocates and Watchdogs for victims and survivors of childhood sex abuse, we do publicly grade proposed legislation and testify in hearings on the behalf of our community and the victims and survivors we serve. We will never endorse the elimination of the Statute of Limitations that does not have a retroactive feature, or at the minimum, a limited "Lookback Window." This not only benefits our current and future children, but also gives a path to justice to the current victims that could not report their childhood sex abuse within the current Statute of Limitations because of the barriers to disclosure.
However, there are institutions and organizations that lobby and hire lobbyists, against our children and current day victims. Sadly, they are often the ones who facilitated, orchestrated, and covered up the institutionalized, organized, systematic, and wholesale rape of our children, and did not report the child sex abuse to law enforcement authorities. Institutions like the catholic church, other churches and religious institutions, youth organizations, sports organizations, and camps. And while they do not rape our children, the Insurance Lobby, who were obligated by law to pay claims on the policies they issued and collected premiums, is a very large and powerful legislative influence. Please see our article "The Catholic Church and the Art of the Coverup."
SCSA has adopted a grading system, from A to F, for proposed legislation. We present to you the report card for these four proposed and filed bills, in their current form:
HB206, A - Not only does this bill eliminate the Statute of Limitations for sex crimes against our children, but it has a retroactive feature, giving current victims a path to justice.
SB751, A - Is a Senate companion bill, and is identical to SB751.
HB3533, C - Addresses the Statute of Limitations issue, but does not have a retroactive feature or "Lookback Window." We feel this bill could achieve a higher grade through legislative amendments, or the inclusion of a retroactive feature, or at the minimum, a limited "Lookback Window."
HB4601, F - Protects the Institutions and Organizations that must be held legally accountable for their crimes. It also proposes background checks and safety programs at these entities that, frankly we consider extremely weak. We do not feel this bill can achieve a higher grade through any means, and is lobbied by the institutions and organizations that are responsible for the rape of our children in the first place.
Parents can’t know the truth about the risks to their children (in certain organizations/institutions/camps) until survivors are empowered to go to court and force the bad actors to reveal the evidence they have been hiding for sometimes many decades as we know. It is a necessity for the public good. Knowledge and accountability lead to a safer world for children. At SCSA, we take our mission and core values very seriously, and we feel that we are ethically and morally obligated to advocate and support victims and survivors of childhood sex abuse, and to also create a world where our present and future children will not suffer at the hands of these monsters and those who covered it up.
(For general inquiries/questions and interviews, email Richard Windmann at [email protected], or call 469-275-1439. For legal questions/analysis, contact Helen McGonigle at [email protected]. For questions about Delayed Disclosure, Dr. Scott Easton invites you to email him at [email protected].)
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