7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This bill provides a window for the revival of civil claims against perpetrators of sexual
10 abuse of a child.
11 Highlighted Provisions:
12 This bill:
13 ▸ allows child sexual abuse victims to bring a civil action against an alleged
14 perpetrator even though the statute of limitations has run;
15 ▸ provides a window of 35 years after attaining 18 years of age to commence an
16 action; and
17 ▸ specifies limitations.
18 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
20 Other Special Clauses:
22 Utah Code Sections Affected:
24 78B-2-308, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2015, Chapter 82
26 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
27 Section 1. Section 78B-2-308 is amended to read:
28 78B-2-308. Legislative findings -- Civil actions for sexual abuse of a child --
29 Window for revival of time barred claims.
30 (1) The Legislature finds that:
31 (a) child sexual abuse is a crime that hurts the most vulnerable in our society and
32 destroys lives;
33 (b) research over the last 30 years has shown that it takes decades for children and
34 adults to pull their lives back together and find the strength to face what happened to them;
35 (c) often the abuse is compounded by the fact that the perpetrator is a member of the
36 victim's family and when such abuse comes out, the victim is further stymied by the family's
37 wish to avoid public embarrassment;
38 (d) even when the abuse is not committed by a family member, the perpetrator is rarely
39 a stranger and, if in a position of authority, often brings pressure to bear on the victim to insure
41 (e) in 1992, when the Legislature enacted the statute of limitations requiring victims to
42 sue within four years of majority, society did not understand the long-lasting effects of abuse
43 on the victim and that it takes decades for the healing necessary for a victim to seek redress;
44 (f) the Legislature, as the policy-maker for the state, may take into consideration
45 advances in medical science and understanding in revisiting policies and laws shown to be
46 harmful to the citizens of this state rather than beneficial; and
47 (g) the Legislature has the authority to change old laws in the face of new information,
48 and set new policies within the limits of due process, fairness, and justice.
50 (a) "Child" means a person under 18 years of age.
51 (b) "Discovery" means when a person knows or reasonably should know that the injury
52 or illness was caused by the intentional or negligent sexual abuse.
53 (c) "Injury or illness" means either a physical injury or illness or a psychological injury
54 or illness. A psychological injury or illness need not be accompanied by physical injury or
56 (d) "Molestation" means [
57 the sexual desire of any person:
58 (i) touches the anus, buttocks, or genitalia of any child, or the breast of a female child
60 (ii) takes indecent liberties with a child[
61 (iii) causes a child to take indecent liberties with the perpetrator or another[
63 (e) "Negligently" means a failure to act to prevent the child sexual abuse from further
64 occurring or to report the child sexual abuse to law enforcement when the adult who could act
65 knows or reasonably should know of the child sexual abuse and is the victim's parent,
66 stepparent, adoptive parent, foster parent, legal guardian, ancestor, descendant, brother, sister,
67 uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, grandparent, stepgrandparent, or any person cohabiting
68 in the child's home.
71 molestation by an adult directed towards a child.
73 sexually abused. It does not include individuals whose claims are derived through another
74 individual who was sexually abused.
76 intentional or negligent sexual abuse suffered as a child at any time.
77 (b) A [
78 negligent sexual abuse suffered as a child:
79 (i) within four years after the person attains the age of 18 years; or
80 (ii) if a [
81 that person may bring a civil action for such sexual abuse within four years after discovery of
82 the sexual abuse, whichever period expires later.
84 incidents caused the injury complained of, but may compute the date of discovery from the date
85 of discovery of the last act by the same perpetrator which is part of a common scheme or plan
86 of sexual abuse.
88 person under the age of 18 years.
90 (a) intentionally perpetrated the sexual abuse;
91 (b) would be criminally responsible for the sexual abuse in accordance with Section
92 76-2-202; or
93 (c) negligently permitted the sexual abuse to occur.
94 (7) A civil action against a person listed in Subsection (6)(a) or (b) for sexual abuse
95 that was time barred as of July 1, 2016, may be brought within 35 years of the victim's 18th
96 birthday, or within three years of the effective date of this Subsection (7), whichever is longer.
97 (8) A civil action may not be brought as provided in Subsection (7) for:
98 (a) any claim that has been litigated to finality on the merits in a court of competent
99 jurisdiction prior to July 1, 2016, however termination of a prior civil action on the basis of the
100 expiration of the statute of limitations does not constitute a claim that has been litigated to
101 finality on the merits; and
102 (b) any claim where a written settlement agreement was entered into between a victim
103 and a defendant or perpetrator, unless the settlement agreement was the result of fraud, duress,
104 or unconscionability. There is a rebuttable presumption that a settlement agreement signed by
105 the victim when the victim was not represented by an attorney admitted to practice law in this
106 state at the time of the settlement was the result of fraud, duress, or unconscionability.