McDonnell Signs Sex Abuse Lawsuit Extension Bill

Monday, Mar 28, 2011  |  Updated 9:45 PM EDT
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McDonnell Signs Sex Abuse Lawsuit Extension Bill

Victims of sexual abuse now have 10 times longer to file a lawsuit in Virginia.

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Victims of sexual abuse now have 10 times longer to file a lawsuit in Virginia.

Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation Saturday extending the deadline to file a civil lawsuit against an attacker or an organization responsible for the assault from two years to 20 years.

The Catholic Church, which faced a priest sex scandal that triggered lawsuits nationwide, lobbied hard against the extension. Advocates had worried McDonnell, a Catholic, would change the bill.

There is no time limit to file criminal charges against an attacker.

In emotional testimony, victims of child sexual abuse persuaded lawmakers that two years often wasn't enough time to file civil lawsuits. The time begins either when the victim turns 18 or, in the case of repressed memories, when he or she recalls the abuse.

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