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How long do I have to file charges against a child molester?

Clovis, CA |

I was with my child molester from age 14, married him at 20 and divorced him at 22. Now that I'm 24, pregnant with my first baby, I'm realizing what really happened and how wrong the situation was. He's a little more than 6 yrs older than i am. And my church knew about the sex molestation, and when my mom said she wanted to press charges, they advised her against it. So now that I'm old enough to understand what took place, and how I'd never let this happen to my child. I would like to know, how long do i have to press charges against him??

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Attorney answers 3


You cannot "press charges." Only the District Attorney can initiate a criminal prosecution.

The statute of limitations varies by the acts committed and your age at the time. You can contact the police and file a report, which will be forwarded to the District Attorney, who will decide whether to file criminal charges.


Congratulations on overcoming the childhood programming this man did on you. If you can get him prosecuted, you may be saving other young girls from him. His type get tired of a girl when she commits the sin of growing up and they look for new victims. I do not know if your local authorities will be interested, but the statute of limitations is likely still open on him. If you do go to the police, I suggest you first collect up signed, written statements from everyone who knows what he did, especially any admissions by him in front of witnesses, or any doctor who might have had knowledge that you were sexually active at 14. That corroborating evidence will likely be important in helping the D.A. decide whether to prosecute.

Of course, if you have knowledge that he has now inserted himself into some family with young teenage daughters, you should document this too, so the authorities know of the danger.

There are other issues you need to be concerned with. I am glad you are resolved not to let this happen to your children, but I wonder if you realize that your experiences may have marked you in a way that other molesters can recognize. I am suggesting you have a vulnerability. Many molested women go from a relationship with one abuser to another to another, because somehow, they attract that type. So I would strongly suggest you get into therapy to work this out so you CAN protect your children from dangers you don't see.

That may take money. If you have insurance, fine. But if not, or if the police won't act, you may want to consider a civil lawsuit for money damages for what he did to you. The statute of limitation for that is open too at this point. Of course, he will deny it, but given that it all came out and your parents and church knew, it is possible that he admitted it to someone. If so, you would likely win. The remaining question is this: does he have assets out of which you could collect a money judgment? If not, a civil action might be a waste of time.

Good luck.


Find an attorney who provides free consultations and make sure you feel a comfortable connection. A civil lawsuit may be still a viable option. These cases can be deeply personal but there is a tremendous amount of closure and satisfaction for the victim.

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