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.