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Statute of limitations on molestation

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A friend of mine was molested when she was young, it got to the point that she finally got brave enough to tell her teachers and counselor at school. When she got home her dad was waiting and said to her "the school called and told me what you said and nothing is going to happen". It continued to happen , convinced that no one would help her now she was unable reach out for help again. Still today she is haunted and cries quite regularly, saying things like why would they do that. Can she get her parents in trouble for what they did, can she get the school for failing to save her or report it to the proper authorities. And what about pain and suffering, because she is clearly still suffering?

This happened in the state of Missouri until she was about 16 or 17, She told her school when she was in the fifth grade. She's now thirty. Her parents still find ways to mentally abuse her. Also about three years ago she got the courage to speak out against her mom. I mean just voice a different opinion about something, not argue or fight or yell, and her mom slapped her right in the face so hard it took her breath away. As she called the police station her mom called the officers cell phone (because their friends of the family) and the cops wouldn't even come to the residence. She went to the station to file a report but was turned away. She really believes that she can never get away from these people and there is no one out there who can help her. I think she's wrong, but the local police are obviously not a option. Which is why I'm asking, she would be so scared and embarrassed if she knew I was reaching out for answers! It was the mother supervised and concieled by the farther

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    First, let's distinguish between civil and criminal cases. A civil case asks the jury to award money for the plaintiff, as distinguished from a criminal case, in which the defendant either goes to jail or gets a fine. The statute of limitations for a CIVIL assault or battery case in Missouri is generally two years. (For advice on the statute of limitations on criminal cases, consult a Missouri criminal attorney, but I think it is 1 year for a misdemeanor and 3 years for a felony). Although the statute of limitations in a civil assault or battery case is generally two years, you must then ask when the clock starts ticking. In Missouri, the clock starts when "damages are capable of ascertainment." There was a famous Missouri Supreme Court case in 2002 involving a claim that a priest at Chaminade Preparatory High School molested a boy in the 1970s, and the Court held that decades later, it was still possible to sue. Here is an interesting article on that case, which you can read. http://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3730&context=mlr
    The next issue is "tolling." Tolling means that under some conditions the clock is "frozen." In Missouri, the clock is frozen while you are a minor. In addition, there can be disability tolling for people with significant disabilities. There is also tolling for "fraudulent concealment," when the defendant conceals from you that you even have a case. The bottom line is that you should have your friend consult an experienced personal injury lawyer to see if your friend can still make a case, despite the passage of time. I am terribly sorry to hear about her treatment at the hands of these horrible people, and I wish your friend the best of luck.


  2. You do not provide much information or even a time frame. Each state has different periods of time in which they permit both civil and criminal proceedings to be brought under these circumstances. Moreover, it is probably too late to do anything against the school except expose their failure publicly, which your friend would not be willing to do. She should report this to the local state's prosecutor's office and also consult with an experienced personal injury attorney ASAP to determine if anything can be done.

    In seeking an attorney on this site, beware of limiting your search to attorneys with a 10 rating, and carefully read the AVVO disclaimer regarding their rating system. There are certain factors that are given great weight which do not necessarily have any bearing on an attorney's experience, abilities, and results with certain types of cases. Accordingly, the rating numbers can be misleading. Also beware of basing your choice on the fee charged, as a low fee, depending on the skill, experience and determination of the specific attorney handling your case, could actually have an inverse relationship to the amount actually put in your pocket.


  3. In most states, there is no time deadline for prosecuting these crimes. Also, depending on your friend's age and which state this occurred in, there may still be time to sue for damages. Your friend needs to immediately consult with a personal injury attorney in the city where all of this occurred. Find such an attorney here on Avvo.com under the tab "find a lawyer".


  4. Most states have an extended statute of limitations, for example, in Pennsylvania, you have 12 years from the age of 18, so check with a local lawyer.


  5. How old is she? How long ago did it happen? There is a very long statute of limitations for criminal cases. Your question did not say who did the molesting.

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