As an elementary-aged child, there was nothing more nerve-racking than waiting to see what you got on your report card. Did you end up with an A in Science? Did you really get that D in English that you prayed would go away? Did you even pass Math? While many school-aged children pout about going to school, they are also very aware that getting passing grades is the only way to get out.
The state of Louisiana has been working to get a passing grade in one specific area: enlarging the rights of survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
On June 15, 2021, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed House Bill 492 into law. The bill, which will take effect on August 1, 2021, opens a look-back window of 3 years so that survivors with time-barred civil claims can now pursue justice. Once the window opens, survivors with time-barred claims will have 3 years to file a civil lawsuit against any individual, corporation, association, or any other responsible defendant.
When House Bill 492 was originally introduced by state representative Jason Hughes, it had a 5-year revival window, but in response to opposition from the Catholic Church, the language was eventually removed in exchange for a deadline for survivors to file their claims by the age of 53. However, upon the bill’s arrival to the state Senate, amendments were filed that restored the look-back window at 3 years and eliminated the statute of limitations for civil childhood sex abuse claims that have not yet expired. Surprisingly, there was no further opposition following the amendments.
Louisiana is not the first state to make significant strides in positively reforming its laws surrounding child sex abuse actions, and hopefully, it will not be the last. In the words of Kathryn Robb, the Executive Director of Child USAdvocacy, the significant changes in House Bill 492 show that, “Louisiana has jumped from a ‘D’ — if that — up to the front of the class to go to a solid ‘A.”
Louisiana is taking active measures to keep its good grade up on behalf of childhood sexual abuse survivors, and the attorneys at Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis, and Overholtz PLLC are doing the same. Please contact us to receive more information.
Louisiana House Bill 492, text available at https://legiscan.com/LA/bill/HB492/2021