Child Sex Abuse Bill Signed into Law on 4/24/12

Click to enlarge.

Governor Abercrombie approved SB2588/Act 68 on 4/24/12, a bill introduced by Sen. Shimabukuro.

SB 2588 SD1 extends the statute of limitations (SOL) for civil actions brought by persons subjected to sexual offenses as a minor against the person who committed the act.  It increases the time limit to bring these civil lawsuits going forward as follows: 8 years from when the victim turns 18, or 3 years from when the victim realizes his/her injury is due to sexual offense.  (Note: Previous law was 2 years in both instances).

The bill also revives for a 2 year period certain actions for which the statute of limitations had previously lapsed.

Several testifiers feared that false claims may damage reputations, and that claims brought many years after the fact are hard to defend.  Furthermore, some believe that it is unfair that this bill exempts the state.

First, in regards to the question of state exemption, the Attorney General and the City testified that the exemption is necessary to ensure compliance with existing law, which sets specific SOL’s for state and county government.

Regarding false claims, the bill allows defendants to be awarded attorney’s fees if the court finds that a claim has been filed maliciously.  To prevent false claims, the bill states that the attorney for the plaintiff shall file a certificate of merit, which shall include a notarized statement by either a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, mental health counselor, or clinical social worker.

Finally, in response to those concerned about due process, there is testimony from a nationally recognized authority on the subject that due process concerns over similar legislation in other states have withstood challenges in courts of appeal.

SB2588/Act 68 gives some measure of hope and remedy for individuals who were victimized and traumatized by abuse in their formative years … and have been forced to bear this burden far into adulthood.  Click here or on the following link to view additional information about the bill, including testimony, committee reports, previous versions, etc.:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2588

To view the Governor’s Message, click here or on the following link:

SB2588 GM1169 Act 068

UPDATE 5.4.12

Click to enlarge Governor Abercrombie’s message re SB2588.

UPDATE 2.20.13
See NY Times Editorial Refers to Child Sex Abuse Bill Introduced by Sen. Shimabukuro (posted 5.7.12).
Also see Preliminary Approval for $5.75 Million Settlement Against State for Covering Up Years of Sexual Abuse of Students (posted 2.20.13).

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5 Responses

  1. Congratulations Maile! Thank you so much for persisting with this very valuable legislation. This is will be the beginning of healing for our children who had been so viciously brutalized and then silenced by fear and intimidation. Please let us now spread the word so that people will step forward and justice will be served. Mahalo

  2. [...] its protections against child sexual abuse last month when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a measureextending the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits filed by child victims. At least as [...]

  3. [...] its protections against child sexual abuse last month when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a measure extending the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits filed by child victims. At least as [...]

  4. Congratulations on your persistence Maile. Even though this is a very watered down version of last year’s bill which had unlimited SOL for
    victims of sexual abuse as minors. The reality is that the Governor
    vetoed last year’s bill but did sign this one. It’s progress. Re who can certify someone who is a victim, should include their primary care provider, usually a physician or nurse practitioner. As a nurse practitioner, patients did confide to me over time, about past abuses.

  5. [...] SB 2588 SD1 extends the statute of limitations (SOL) for civil actions brought by persons subjected to sexual offenses as a minor against the person who committed the act.  It increases the time limit to bring these civil lawsuits going forward as follows: 8 years from when the victim turns 18, or 3 years from when the victim realizes his/her injury is due to sexual offense.  (Note: Previous law was 2 years in both instances). [...]

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