Sex abuse victims from decades ago will have another chance to file claims

Sex abuse victims from decades ago will have another chance to file claims

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The window for sex abuse victims to file civil suits will reopen through the year 2020.

Gov. David Ige will not veto Senate Bill 2719, which means it will become law on July 9.

The measure allows victims to override the statute of limitations to file sex abuse claims.

Previously, similar bills failed. But victim advocates cite recent high profile cases and the MeToo movement as the reason for the shift in political momentum.

"Knowing that other people are doing it and they're surviving the process, I think is encouraging to other victims," said attorney Randall Rosenberg, who has represented more than 40 people between 2012 and 2016, when a four-year window was open.

Rosenberg says he has since spoken with many others who weren't ready to tell their stories but could be in the next two years.

"It's horribly embarrassing and humiliating. The process is long, it's an invasion of their privacy."

State Sen. Maile Shimabukuro is thrilled that the bill will become law. She says there is strength in numbers for victims who decide to come forward.

"They're not alone, there are others out there willing to support them,"

Opponents of the bill included the state Attorney General's office, which feared frivolous claims and said it was unfair to institutions, like hospitals, schools or churches, which may not have the records or witnesses needed to defend against very old cases because so much time had passed.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.