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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

WA Supreme Court Clears Roadblock for Hearing Some Childhood Sexual Abuse Cases

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Friday, September 15, 2023   

A recent ruling from the Washington state Supreme Court lowers the barriers for bringing some childhood sexual abuse cases to court.

Justices unanimously ruled that the three-year statute of limitation for these cases applies from the date of discovery of each element of the case. Seattle-based attorney Nate Roberts of the Connelly Law Offices said that, for instance, if someone in their mid-twenties suffers psychologically because of childhood abuse, they have three years to file a claim against their alleged abuser. He added that there are more situations where the Wolf decision applies.

"If they find out in their thirties, for example, that they were a ward of the state at the time of the abuse and the state knew they were being abused and didn't intervene," he said, "then they would have three years from the date they acquire that knowledge in which to file a lawsuit against the state."

Roberts said this makes more sense than applying the three-year statute of limitation to the date of the abuse.

Washington state lawmakers are considering eliminating the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases completely. Roberts said other states have already done this.

"The insidious thing about sexual abuse and physical abuse of children is that the kids don't necessarily understand the scope or degree of harm sometimes ever, but often until much later in life," he said, "and I think a simpler, more equitable rule would be to say that if you're the victim of childhood abuse, you can bring the lawsuit whenever you're ready to do so."

House Bill 1618 was introduced in the Legislature this year and passed in the House but died in the Senate. It will be up for consideration again in 2024.

Disclosure: Washington State Association for Justice contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Consumer Issues, Housing/Homelessness, Human Rights/Racial Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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