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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

A Surprisingly Small Number Of States Have Lookback Laws For Sexual Crimes

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Per Top Class Actions, a lookback window temporarily eliminates the statute of limitations. Simply put, it allows a victim of sexual assault to file a civil suit against their perpetrators regardless of when the crime transpired. However, there are some stipulations; the lookback window is usually one to three years long. Furthermore, a 2019 article from AP News reported that only eight states and the District of Columbia have enacted lookback windows. This includes New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, Montana, Hawaii, Vermont, and North Carolina. However, in 2021, both Colorado (via Abuse Lawsuit) and Louisiana (via New Orleans Injury Law News) established lookback windows.

AP News adds that various other states such as Alabama, Connecticut, and Texas raised their statute of limitations. As these laws were enacted in 2019, Shubin Law writes that a majority of these lookback windows are now closed. In California, the lookback window will close on December 31, 2022 (per Patch). The Los Angeles Injury Law News notes that Vermont is the only state to decide to keep its lookback window open forever. According to WBUR, lookback windows increased allegations of sexual abuse and the number of lawsuits against the Catholic Church. Victim Nancy Holling-Lonnecker told the publication that this was her time to get justice. “It’s like a whole new beginning for me,” she said.



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