Iowa Lawmakers Could Eliminate Statute of Limitations on Sex Abuse

DES MOINES, Iowa - State lawmakers are looking at doing away with the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases in Iowa.

The full Senate could consider a bill that does away with a 15 year limit on child sex abuse cases after the victim turns 18 years old. It also allows for criminal prosecution of sexual abuse anytime after the offense occurs. Lawsuits for child sex abuse that aren't uncovered until after the victim turns 18 would would have to be brought within four years.

The bill has the backing of some groups focused on sexual assault, while others raise concerns over reliable evidence decades later. Some churches and schools are worried abut being liable in sexual abuse cases that may not be proven.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen of Des Moines and Republican Brad Zaun of Urbandale, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, have bills dealing with the statute of limitations on criminal sex abuse cases. Zaun's measure has been cleared to be debated in the full Senate. Peterson's bill is focused on civil lawsuits.

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