Currently under Missouri law, childhood sexual abuse survivors have until they are age 31 to pursue a civil lawsuit against their abuser. In addition, they have until age 26 to pursue a civil lawsuit against others who may have been responsible for the abuse, such as an organization.
This is problematic for those whose memories of childhood sexual abuse were repressed for many years or who feared coming forward for many years.
It is also problematic when the abuser cannot be identified or if there is more than one defendant responsible for the abuse, especially in cases of institutional wrongdoing.
However, Missouri House Bill 367 aims to give childhood sexual abuse survivors a greater chance to hold all those responsible for the abuse accountable.
House Bill 367
A House judiciary hearing was held in February regarding a bill that would extend how much time a childhood sexual abuse survivor has to pursue a lawsuit against their abuser, including institutions responsible for the abuse.
Under House Bill 367, the time period a childhood sexual abuse survivor would have to pursue a civil lawsuit would be extended to age 55.
The bill would also apply retroactively for two years. Within that time, cases that were previously barred or dismissed due to the passing of the statute of limitations could move forward.
As of now, this bill is still working through the legislative process, so the current statute of limitations still stands. Still, House Bill 367 has a lot of support from legislators and childhood sexual abuse survivors. Many will be interested to see what happens to this bill as the current legislative session progresses.