STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

By Bob Katzen

The Judiciary Committee held a virtual hearing on a bill that would eliminate the current 43-year statute of limitations for criminal claims by a victim of child indecent assault and battery or rape. Current law requires victims to report the crime within 27 years of turning 16.

Sponsor Rep. Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) said the measure would ensure that victims have a longer time to seek justice for the crimes committed against them. “Oftentimes, victims of child sexual assault and battery or rape do not realize that the assault took place or choose not to report their assaults until later in life,” said Gordon.

DOMESTIC ABUSE IN FRONT OF A CHILD (H 1685) – Also heard by the Judiciary Committee was a measure that would create a new crime of assault and battery if it takes place in a domestic violence setting in the presence of a child under the age of 16. The measure imposes up to a five-year prison sentence and/or $5,000 fine on violators. Current law for assault and battery is up to a 2.5-year prison sentence and/or $1,000 fine.

“Children who grow up in an environment where they are continuously exposed to incidents of adult domestic violence are more likely to display heightened levels of depression, anxiety and aggression,” said House Republican Minority Leader Rep. Brad Jones (R-North Reading). “This age group represents some of the most vulnerable members of our society and we need to do everything we can to protect them.”

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