llinois Passes Sex-Abuse Bill

By Kevin McDermott
St. Louis Post-Dispatch [Springfield IL]
May 16, 2003

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Legislature Thursday gave final approval to measures extending the length of time for filing criminal complaints or civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of a child. Lawmakers also approved tougher penalties for methamphetamine-related crimes.

The Legislature sent Gov. Rod Blagojevich a measure that would extend by 10 years the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges in sex-abuse cases involving children.

Illinois law now permits criminal action against suspects in such cases until the victim reaches the age of 28. The new legislation would extend that limitation, allowing criminal charges until the victim turns 38.

The measure also would permit civil suits alleging sexual abuse of a child to be filed for up to five years after a plaintiff "discovers ... that the act of childhood sexual abuse occurred and that the injury was caused by the childhood sexual abuse." Currently, civil action must begin within two years of that discovery.

The bill passed the House unanimously Thursday. It had passed the Senate earlier.


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