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Illinois Sexual Abuse Victims Law Updates

Published on August 26th, 2010

Illinois sexual abuse victims and their attorneys have experienced progress and setbacks in attempts to receive just compensation for their injuries-many of which are catastrophic and permanent.

735 ILCS 5/8-2801 protects victims of sexual abuse having to defend against evidence of other sexual behavior. This is extremely important because victims do not want to have their whole history of sexual activity put under a public spotlight in order to pursue a legitimate claim of sexual abuse. Effective January 1, 2010.
735 ILCS 5/13-202.2 increased the time victims of childhood sexual abuse have to file suit to 20 years after victim reaches 18 or 20 years from the date the victim discovers both (1) that the act of childhood sexual abuse occurred and (2) that the injury was caused by the sexual abuse. This good news for victims since they frequently don’t recognize until well after they reach 18 that their psychological and/or emotional injuries were caused as a result of the sexual abuse they suffered as children. Effective January 1, 2011

…735 ILCS 5/13-202.3 eliminates the 2 year statute of limitations for adult victims of sexual if they are subject to “threats, intimidation, manipulation or fraud perpetrated by the perpetrator.” Efffective January 1, 2008.

Doe v. Diocese of Dallas, 234 Ill. 2d 393, 917 N.E. 2d 475 (2009). The Illinois Supreme Court held that the increased statute of limitations contained in 735 ILCS 5/13-202.2 (see above) does not resurrect a claim that was already barred by a prior statute of limitations when when the new statute of limitations became effective-July 24, 2003. The court based its holding on the Ill. Const. 1970, Art. I Sec. 12. ruling “once a statute of limitations has expired, the defendant has a vested right to invoke the bar of the limitations period as a defense to the cause of action…” Basically, once a statute of limitations has expired the cause of action cannot be resurrected by an act of the legislature without violating the Illinois State Constitution. This ruling has precluded many legitimate claims of childhood sexual abuse from proceeding, but its effect through time will be diminished.

…In re Detention of Tommy O. Hardin, 2010 WL 2524155, the Illinois Supreme Court held that probable cause standard was met under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act (725 ILCS 207/1 et seq.) adopting a more relaxed standard employed by the state of Wisconsin in State v. Watson, 227 Wisc. 167, 595 N.W. 2d 403 (1999). The court has made the burden on the state less onerous when they seek to meet probable cause to have a trial on whether civil commitment is appropriate after a sexual abuse offender has completed his or her term of incarceration. Good news for society-pedophiles have a high rate of recidivism.

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