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Child abuse statute of limitations


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#1 lopez83

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Posted 16 December 2012 - 11:39 PM

I was abused by my mothers ex boyfriend for 3 to 4 years as a child, I am now an adult and these actions happend over 20 years ago. I have tried to forget about the constant abuses that I suffered as a child but the last few years it has weighed on me heavily especially now I have children of my own who I could never raise my hand to knowing the lasting trauma it could cause a young child. So my question is has the statute of limitations ran out on this particular offence or is this something I have to just live with?

#2 pg1067

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:07 AM

Depends on the laws of the unidentified state where the alleged crime occurred. Query why you've never done anything about this before now?

#3 FindLaw_Amir

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:48 AM

What state is this matter concerning?
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#4 lopez83

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:12 AM

This happend in the state of Florida, and I really don't know why I'm asking about this soo many years after this happend. It never occurred to me that this man could still be held accountable for his actions after so many years. Buy after seeing victims of child molestation bringing charges against their childhood tormentor after so many years I wondered if my attacker could also be held accountable for his actions. Thank you for your responses.

#5 LegalwriterOne

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 09:44 AM

Saying you were "abused" when you were a child doesn't provide nearly enough information for a determination as to whether or not the statute of limitations has run. The answer is, it depends upon the specific facts and your age at the time. Charges could or could not be time-barred based upon the particular facts. Consult local counsel.

#6 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:37 PM

I was abused by my mothers ex boyfriend for 3 to 4 years as a child, I am now an adult and these actions happend over 20 years ago....So my question is has the statute of limitations ran out on this particular offence or is this something I have to just live with?


A lot depends on what you mean by “abused.” Unless the abuse was sexual in nature, the statute of limitations has run based on the current Florida statute section 775.15. Whether some earlier version of the Florida statutes might apply to give a greater time, I don’t know, though I think it unlikely since the trend in most states over the last 20 years has been to extend the statute of limitations for crimes against minors, not reduce them.

The basic scheme for the Florida statutes is that most felonies (other than those involving death) are subject to no more than a 4 year period of limitation, and for some offenses it is less than that. What this means is that, in general, the for crimes that do not involve death, the state has at best 4 years to charge the defendant starting from the day after the crime was committed. The period is extended by up to 3 years if the defendant is continuously outside the state during the period the statute is running.

There are a few exceptions to that basic scheme. The only one I see that would seem applicable to your situation involves various crimes of a sexual nature against minors. In that case, the statute of limitation doesn’t start to run until the minor reaches age 18 or the crime is reported to law enforcement, whichever occurs earlier. So, if the offense was one of the specific sexual crimes mentioned in the statute, the period would start at age 18 at the latest and run until at best age 22 for most of them (18 + 4 years statute of limitation). The one crime that may be extended for longer than that is the crime of sexual battery committed against a minor.

The thing is, you don’t have to figure out whether the statute of limitations has run. That’s a limitation on the prosecution pursuing charges. You may report what happened to the police at any time — it is then up the to police and prosecutor to decide whether they may do anything about it now. Note that even if the statute hasn’t run, that 20 year time gap may make the case unappealing to prosecute. Trying to rely on the memory of events that happened to a 3-4 year old (and kids that age don’t have the best memory and perception of events anyway) over 20 years later makes for a difficult case to bring. But you may make the complaint and see if anything will be done about it. If it doesn’t, then at least you know you tried. If you really want to know, though, before you make a complaint if the period to prosecute is still open, the discuss the details of it with a criminal defense attorney in Florida.

#7 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 02:41 PM

I realize after rereading your post that you may have meant that the abuse occurred over a 3-4 year period, not at ages 3-4. Of course, the older you were when the abuse occurred, the more likely your memory and perception of events is better. At the same time, though, it would make it even more likely the statute of limitations has gone, since it would be that much longer since you reached age 18.

#8 Legal_Balla

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 08:00 AM

The best approach if for you to contact law enforcement and make a report. The police and prosecutors will decide: (1) whether the case is provable and prosecutable, and (2) whether it's barred by the statute of limitations. Every day you wait makes the case weaker. Good luck.


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