ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Advocates for victims of child sex abuse urged lawmakers to lift the statute of limitations for reporting abuse.
There was a walk to the State House Thursday in Annapolis on behalf of child sex abuse victims who cannot charge their abusers because they waited too long to report them.
Theresa Lancaster was 40-years-old before she came forward as a victim of child sex abuse.
I was raped when I was 16, but it took me that long to get the guts to stand in front of a court and say, ‘I am Jane Roe.’ I couldn’t even give my name at that point.”
A Senate Committee is considering a bill to lift the statute of limitations imposed by law for reporting child sex abuse.
The bill sponsor, C.T. Wilson, was also a victim of child sex abuse.
“I was out of the army, out of college, out of law school before I actually started acknowledging it,” Wilson said. “It takes a long time to deal with the wrongs that were done to you.”
The Baltimore Archdiocese is in opposition to the bill.
“It would open the church up to an unlimited amount of claims as far back as 50, 60 years ago,” a spokesperson said. “Our ability to defend itself in the case of a crime where there are typically no witnesses, and in cases that are that old, would be nearly impossible.”
But advocates of the bill said that there is more than the church involved in these cases.
“There are also family members, cousins, uncles… the coach,” Lancaster said.
Advocates argue that using the passage of time the right to come forward harms the victim and protects the abuser.
The bill has already passed the House.