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Advocates Seek End of Time Limit on Civil Lawsuits Over Child Sex Abuse

DES MOINES, IA (Radio Iowa) Advocates for people who were sexually abused as children continue to lobby Iowa lawmakers to give survivors more time to file lawsuits against their abusers. Last year, the Iowa Legislature removed the state’s legal time limit on criminal charges against people accused of sex crimes against children.
But advocates say giving more time for survivors to file lawsuits in civil court will help hold educational, athletic, and religious institutions accountable when their employees sexually abuse minors. Kathryn Robb is executive director of Child USA Advocacy.

“Why should we have a public policy that allows sexual predators to walk free and be protected by the passage of time?” she asks. Kylie DeWees says she was sexually abused by an Iowa school employee as a minor. She says when she learned about the statute of limitations, her time to file a lawsuit had already run out.

“I can tell you firsthand that the only way to expose the abusers and institutions that allowed it to occur is by putting pressure on lawmakers now,” DeWeess says. She’s urging Republican lawmakers to make it a priority to end the time limit on when child sex abuse victims may file civil lawsuits against their abusers — and get the policy passed before the 2022 legislative session ends.
(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Katarina Sostaric)

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