NBC

Sex Misconduct Cases Spur Rethinking of Statutes of Limitations

Legislatures are heading in the direction of expanding or removing statutes of limitations for lawsuits or criminal prosecutions arising from sexual misconduct

Forcibly touching another person without consent for sexual gratification is usually both a crime and a civil wrong, but many of the recent sexual misconduct allegations against prominent men will never see a civil or criminal courtroom, NBC News reported.

This is because they happened a long time ago and are outside legal statutes of limitations, a period of time for which a crime can be prosecuted that varies drastically depending on the nature of the offense and the state in which it occurred.

With the passage of time, memories fade and witnesses may move, vanish or die. Scientific studies confirm that the passage of time erodes or even rewrites witness memory. But statutes of limitations exact a toll on justice, making no distinction between just and unjust claims.

Legislatures are heading in the direction of expanding or removing statutes of limitations for lawsuits or criminal prosecutions arising from sexual misconduct.

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