NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The state house and senate approved a bill that could potentially lead to the removal of the time limits that victims of child sex abuse have for pressing criminal charges against their alleged perpetrators.
The bill that passed the House and Senate on Thursday asks the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, or TACIR, to consider the effectiveness of statutes of limitations in criminal offenses, particularly those related to child sex abuse cases.
The study may pave the way toward an elimination of statutes of limitations in child sex abuse cases.
Currently, the statute of limitations in Tennessee for child sexual abuse is when the victim turns 43 years old – 25 years after the victim’s 18th birthday.
In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, bill sponsor Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) said emotional damage caused by child sexual abuse is often not seen until victims are well into adulthood.
“Hopefully, this study going to TACIR will give us a better idea of what offenses warrant having or not having a statute of limitations for prosecution,” said Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro), the sponsor of the senate bill.
The identical House bill that passed this week is sponsored by Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna).
A handful of other states have already removed the statute of limitations for child sex crimes.
Click here for warning signs of sexual abuse to look for in children. If you suspect a child may be the victim of abuse, Tennessee law requires you to report it. You can call the Tennessee Child Abuse Hotline at 1-877-237-0004.