It is common for victim’s of childhood sexual abuse to bring claims against their abuser many years after the actual abuse stops. Problems can arise, however, if too long a period of time goes by with no lawsuit filed.
Each state has deadlines for filing a lawsuit. Different types of legal claims have different deadlines. Most personal injury claims are subject to a two (2) year deadline. In the State of Georgia, however, there is a special provision for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Victims are given five (5) years from the date they reach the age of majority (which is 18 in Georgia) to file a civil action (a lawsuit). Essentially, a victim has until their 23rd birthday.
Georgia’s special statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse is found at O.C.G.A. Section 9-3-33.1 and it defines “childhood sexual abuse” as meaning “any act committed by the defendant [the abuser] against the plaintiff [the victim] which act occurred when the plaintiff was under the age of 18 years” and then the law lists specific illegal acts covered by the special statute of limitations. They include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following acts of abuse:
- sodomy and aggravated sodomy
- statutory rape
- child molestation and aggravated child molestation
- enticing a child for indecent purposes
- solicitation of sodomy
- sexual battery and aggravated sexual battery
A note on one of the offenses in this list. Sodomy is often thought by laypersons to refer exclusively to anal sex. Georgia law defines it to include both anal and oral sex. O.C.G.A. Section 16-6-2(a)(1) reads: “A person commits the offense of sodomy when he or she performs or submits to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another.”
I note this because I do not want anyone to think that they are without legal remedy simply because oral sex is not listed in the statute.
If you or your child has been sexually abused by a priest, pastor, rabbi, clergy, coach, psychologist, or any other person, I hope you will call me. Due to the highly sensitive nature of this type of injury, you are welcome to call me directly on my personal line and you will not have to tell your story to any one other than me. Everything you tell me will be held in strictest confidence. My personal line is (678) 740-6928.
You are not alone –