House Votes To Allow More Time For Sexual Abuse Victims To Have More Time To Sue

A measure to give victims of child sexual abuse more time to sue those responsible for their abuse was given a unanimous vote of support in the House last week. The bill reached the floor too late to become law this year, but its sponsor hopes that vote will give it momentum for future sessions.

In 2018 state law was changed to lift the statute of limitations on criminal prosecution of child sexual abuse, but in civil law a victim of childhood sexual abuse can only sue their abusers until they turn 31 or within three years of discovering that an injury or illness was the result of childhood sexual abuse, whichever occurs later. House Bill 367 would have extended that age limit to 41, and expand the scope of who can be sued to include anyone who enabled abuse or allowed it to continue, or who created a circumstance in which it could occur.

He said when the bill was heard by the House Judiciary Committee, people who experienced abuse as children in Missouri came from all over the state and as far away as Florida and Texas, to testify.

The House voted 150-0 for the bill’s perfection, or initial passage, which normally would be one step in the process toward it being sent to the Senate. In this case, said Seitz, it is a symbolic vote and one he hopes will lead to this change in Missouri law eventually being made.

With this year’s session ending on Friday, the sponsor of the legislation, Brian Seitz, plans to pre-file the language of HB 367 again for the 2024 legislative session.