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Opening Statement of Councilmember Grosso

Member, Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety
Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety
Markup of B22-0021, the "Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Amendment Act of 2018
October 4, 2018

Thank you, Chairperson Allen and thank you to your staff for the time and effort
that has been dedicated to advancing this measure to mark-up.
I also want to thank Councilmember Cheh and her staff for their work to remove
the criminal statute of limitations for certain sex offenses.
As you've noted, the committee print includes pieces of my Childhood Protection
Against Sexual Abuse Amendment Act, a measure that I introduced in 2015 and
2017.
Today is particularly noteworthy because the Council has considered some
iteration of the Childhood Protection Against Sexual Abuse Act for more than a
decade, though no meaningful steps were ever taken to advance the bill beyond
a hearing.
While the committee print does not entirely eliminate the civil statute of
limitations, it does preserve the 2-year reviver statute, while significantly
extending the time period in which individuals are able to bring their claims.
Further, the committee print is more expansive than my introduced bill, in that it
allows an individual to file a civil suit to recover damages for any sexual abuse –
not just acts of sexual abuse that occurred while the victim was a minor.
The recent spate of high-profile cases involving allegations of and convictions for
sexual abuse underscore the pervasiveness of sexual assault in America.
The prevalence of these incidences, across every sector and as far reaching as the
Office of the President of the United States, defies the word "problem." This is an
epidemic, and what we've come to realize is that American culture has and
continues to reinforce the normalization of sexual violence.
The experience of sexual abuse frequently results in insidious and long-term
trauma and far too often survivors of sexual violence are let down by the justice
system.

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While this bill is not a panacea, it will go a long way to encourage and empower
victims to come forward and know that a fair and just system is in place to help
them right wrongs and begin to heal.
As policymakers, we have to ensure that every available option is afforded to
those who have been harmed and this legislation will allow the many courageous
survivors across the city to seek justice under the law.
Chairperson Allen, I want to thank you and your staff once again for your work on
this legislation and I am incredibly excited to support this measure today.

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