MIDDLETOWN (SCSA) – The 88th session of the Texas State Legislature has been convened and three House bills and one Senate bill have been tabled addressing civil statute of limitations reform for crimes of child sexual abuse.
As of this publication, House bills HB206, HB3533, and HB4601 are currently in the House Committee on the Judiciary and Civil Law, and Senate bill SB751 is currently in the Senate State Affairs Committee. The SCSA’s position is that statute reform for sex crimes against our children is a truly bipartisan issue; everyone can accept the idea that protecting our children is our number one priority. The bone of contention is not the elimination of the prescription itself, but to whom it will apply. It is also our position that it should apply to all of our children, present, future and PAST.
In the United States alone, there are hundreds of thousands of victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are still alive. We believe the number is low, as these crimes are not only underreported, but also not reported at all. The worldwide numbers are simply staggering. This is due to a phenomenon called “delayed disclosure,” which causes victims to not disclose their abuse to anyone, until it kills them, or the symptoms become so severe, they eventually disclose their childhood sexual abuse to someone .
If they do not end their lives, victims typically disclose their childhood sexual abuse in their late forties and early fifties, with the average age being fifty-two. For a layman’s explanation, see our article “The Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse.” If you’re a mental health professional, advocate, or legislator who needs to understand the science of delayed disclosure, check out Dr. Scott Easton’s article, “‘Would You Say That Under Such Circumstances?’: Barriers to Abuse Disclosure child sex for Men.” While this paper focuses on males, female studies show that females have the same barriers to disclosure. Furthermore, this document was written in 2013, and we know much more about Delayed Disclosure a decade later.
As an organization, SCSA does not lobby legislation, nor do we hire lobbyists. However, as advocates and guardians of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse, we publicly evaluate proposed legislation and testify in hearings on behalf of our community and the victims and survivors we serve. We will never advocate removing a Statute of Limitations that does not have a retroactive effect or, at a minimum, a limited “Recap Window”. This not only benefits our current and future children, but also offers a path to justice for current victims who have been unable to report their childhood sexual abuse within the current Statute of Limitations due to disclosure barriers.
However, there are institutions and organizations that lobby and hire lobbyists, against our children and today’s victims. Sadly, they are often the ones who facilitated, orchestrated and covered up the institutionalized, organized, systematic and wholesale rape of our children and failed to report child sexual abuse to law enforcement authorities. Institutions such as the Catholic Church, other churches and religious institutions, youth organizations, sports organizations and camps. And while they don’t rape our children, the insurance lobby, which was required by law to pay claims on the policies that issued and collected premiums, has a very large and powerful legislative influence. Please see our article “The Catholic Church and the Art of the Cover Up”.
SCSA has adopted a classification system, from A to F, for legislative proposals. We present the report card of these four proposed and filed bills, in their current form:
HB206, A Not only does this bill eliminate the statute of limitations for sex crimes against our children, it has a retroactive feature, giving current victims a path to justice.
SB751, A – It is a companion bill of the Senate and is identical to SB751.
HB3533, c – Fixes the statute of limitations issue, but does not have a retroactive function or a “search window”. We believe this bill could reach a higher degree through legislative amendments or the inclusion of a retroactive feature or, at a minimum, a limited “research window.”
HB4601, f – Protects the Institutions and Bodies that must legally answer for their crimes. It also offers background checks and security programs at these agencies which, frankly, we consider extremely weak. We don’t believe this bill can rise to the top by any means, and it is being urged by the institutions and organizations responsible for the rape of our children in the first place.
Parents may not know the truth about the risks to their children (in certain organizations/institutions/camps) until the survivors are empowered to go to court and force the bad actors to reveal the evidence they have been hiding for many decades , as we know. . It is a necessity for the public good. Knowledge and responsibility lead to a safer world for children. At SCSA, we take our mission and core values very seriously and feel ethically and morally obligated to advocate for and support victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse and also to create a world where our present and future children will not suffer at the hands of these monsters and those who covered him.