In a victory for survivors of sexual abuse in Maryland, Governor Wes Moore signed legislation this week that greatly expands the rights of victims of childhood sexual assault. The Child Victims Act of 2023 eliminates the statute of limitations, or time limit, that survivors of childhood sexual abuse have to bring a lawsuit. Current Maryland law limits survivors from filing suit after the age of 38. Significantly, the law is retroactive with no time limit, so survivors who were previously barred from filing suit now have access to justice.
Although the Child Victims Act opens the halls of justice to survivors, the bill includes damages caps of $1,500,000 against private entities and $890,000 to a single claimant against public entities. The law goes into effect on October 1, 2023.
The law was signed less than a week after the Maryland Attorney General released a report detailing more than 150 Catholic priests associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore who have been accused of abusing over 600 children.
Further, HB16, the Hear Our Voices Act has also gone to the Governor’s desk for signature. The Hear Our Voices Act would require public schools to provide information regarding the process for filing complaints of sexual misconduct and to identify to survivors how to access support. If signed, the act will take effect July 1, 2023. This is an important step by the Maryland General Assembly in reinstituting important Title IX protections that have recently been eroded under federal law.
Erika Jacobsen White and Drew LaFramboise represent survivors of sexual abuse and lead JGL’s sexual abuse and Title IX litigation practice. For more information please contact.