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Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Ted Sherwood
Ted Sherwood
Attorney • (918) 592-1144

Statute of Limitations Works Hardship in Syracuse Coach Case

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Recently a District Attorney refused to press charges against Syracuse coach Bernie Fine for sexual molestation of a minor even though the DA found the charges to be credible. Why? The statute of limitations. Most states have rules that set the outer limit of when a criminal case can be filed against someone who has intentionally injured another person because the more time that passes the harder it is to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.

These rules also apply in civil suits.

In negligence cases like car accidents, the usual rule is that the case must be filed within two years from the date of the accident. In other cases, the rule can be extended until the person who was injured has "discovered" enough information to lead a reasonable person to believe that they were hurt because of someone else's negligence.

In sexual molestation cases, the majority of states have rules limiting the length of time for filing suit against the perpetrator. Oklahoma requires a civil suit for damages due to childhood sexual abuse or molestation to be filed within 2 years of the act or when the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the act caused an injury.

Oftentimes emotional injuries do not show up for years after the molestation has occurred due to repressed memory. But in Oklahoma, that may not prevent suit from being filed. Victims of childhood sexual molestation can recover memory of the event many years later. In proper cases, the statute of limitations will be extended and will not work a hardship on the victim.

1 Comment

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  1. Avenger says:
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    While an extended Statute of Limitations seems reasonable in child molestation cases, even there there should be some sort of limits such as tie in with the age of majority, such as seven years after reaching age 18 or similar.

    To bring such a claim at age 44 is simply unfair and totally prejudices the rights of the defendant, especially if predicated on something as unreliable as “recovered memories”. Also, there have been far too many charlatans out there convincing people that they were molested as children when, in fact, no such crime ever occurred