Jim Keenan: Justice in our own time

2013-03-17T00:00:00Z 2013-03-17T20:45:58Z Jim Keenan: Justice in our own timeBy JIM KEENAN Savage, Minn. Winona Daily News
March 17, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Current law says child sexual abuse victims immediately know they are injured and have until age 24 to file a lawsuit. Considering it can take decades for victims to confront the abuse, statutes of limitation are woefully short and act as an arbitrary barrier to justice.

I know because I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.

I was sexually abused by our parish priest at age 13. I suppressed my pain so deep that I didn’t recognize I had been abused until well into adulthood. Even as a well-educated, full-grown man, the abuse continues to challenge and haunt me.

At age 39, I was able to find the courage to seek justice against my abuser and those who helped facilitate the abuse. After five years and publicly reopening those wounds, my case was dismissed by the Minnesota State Supreme Court because the statute of limitations had expired. I was re-victimized by the system designed to protect me because I couldn’t seek justice on my own time frame.

The Minnesota Child Victims Act being considered at the state Capitol would eliminate the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases, allowing victims to seek justice at any time against the abuser or institution that facilitated the abuse. This legislation respects and acknowledges the healing process, while encouraging victims of child sex abuse to come forward and potentially identify abusers who may still be abusing children.

Child sexual abuse is a public health epidemic. Support the Minnesota Child Victims Act.

Copyright 2015 Winona Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. Hive
    Report Abuse
    Hive - March 19, 2013 6:19 am
    +1...there are many forms of child abuse.

    Most of them we deny because it is a "family matter" and exposure (of uncle's or auntie's habits) would bring shame and shunning...

    But, when an corporate organization - religious, state or public - uses its power and develops policy to cover up and, therefore, enable it, something must change, particularly the politics of it.

    Citizens would not believe the abuse that really goes on in families and organizations.

    It is really shameful, and, as noted above, there are many forms of child abuse.
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