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Push for civil suit sex abuse reform in Annapolis

Posted at 6:27 PM, Mar 17, 2021

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Several people gathered on Lawyer's Mall to get the attention of law makers to end the statue of limitations for civil trials for lawsuits of sexual abuse.

"Right now the data says that it's one in five girls and one in 13 boys will be sexually assaulted before they turn 18," said Kathryn Robb with a national group advocating for victims of sexual abuse.

The current law only allows a person to file a suit up to the age of 38 and they must do it before October of 2023. Robb says that stacks the deck against victims because the trauma may be suppressed for decades.

Senator William Smith is the chairman for the Judicial proceeding committee. The bill has died or failed in that committee since 2017. We asked the senator for an interview before the session started, left our number with his staff member and never heard back.

"Maskell was a known abuser since the time he was in the seminary"

You may remember Teresa Lancaster. In the documentary The Keepers, Lancaster claimed Father Joseph Maskell abused her and hundreds of others over decades at Archbishop Kehough. Lancaster also has a book coming out recounting her times at Archbishop Kehough called "Safe in Socks".

"I want them to pass this bill and give these survivors a choice, a chance to find justice in the courts."

One of the reasons they want this bill is they say that sexual predators don't seem to change their ways.

"The child sexual predators never stop and so we have some evidence where they continue into their 90s right? So, It's the type of issue that just has multiple by each perpetrator and it just never ends," Robb explained.

The bill has been stuck in Smith's committee since February 2nd. A similar bill was dropped from the house Tuesday.