Luke, and the dozens of women who have accused Bill Cosby of rapestories of sexual assault have been dominating the news cycle. And most of them, like the many incidences experienced by regular women every day, are legally complicated, and controlled by varying statutes of limitations and burdens of proof. The laws surrounding sexual assault change state to state in some cases, and many of the cases never make it to criminal court, even when the victim has physical evidence against her attacker.
A bill to extend the amount of time victims of sexual abuse have to file lawsuits against their attackers and others who may have covered up the abuse cleared a major hurdle in Virginia this week. The House Courts Committee voted unanimously on Monday to increase the time from two years to 20 years after about two hours of sometimes heated debate that lasted into the evening. The time limit begins either when the victim turns 18 or, in the case of repressed memories, from when he or she realizes the abuse.
A video recently went viral when a victim of child sexual abuse confronted her alleged molestervideotaped the telephone conversation, and posted the video on YouTube. In the video, the obviously distraught former student asked a series of heart wrenching questions to her former teacher, seeking to understand why the teacher had sexually abused her. The former student stated that she felt the need to post the video because, among other things, there was nothing that could be done as the statute of limitations for sexual assault had run against the former teacher.
West Virginia laws are very specific about sexual abuse and sexual assault. Sexual abuse occurs when a person subjects another person to sexual contact without their consent, and that lack of consent is due to physical force, threat or intimidation. In West Virginia, sexual assault includes sexual intercourse and sexual intrusion. Note: The laws cited below were current as of July
Statutes of Limitations SOL is the time in which a lawsuit is initiated by an injured person or victim. In most cases, unless there is a special circumstance, the SOL begins to run from the date of the occurrence that caused the injury. Statutes of limitations are enacted by the legislature, which might extend or reduce time limits, based on certain restrictions.
Sex offenses are treated very seriously in the state of Virginia and convicted sex offenders typically receive harsh penalties including long jail terms. Sex offenses also have life-long consequences, including registering on the sex offender registry and publication of their name, picture and address online. To avoid or minimize these serious consequences, it is essential to contact a Virginia criminal lawyer who specializes in sex offenses as soon as you are accused of a sex crime.
State laws regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking are too numerous and are revised with such frequency that listing them would not be prudent. However, the following are brief summaries of what can be found in Article 7 of the Virginia Criminal Laws and Codes. Local resources can be contacted to obtain the written state code in more depth:.
Victims of sexual assault far too often rely on the criminal justice system to hold offenders accountable for their actions. Sexual assault victims can gain a measure of solace in knowing that they have the power to pursue their own types of legal claims through civil actions. A civil case is much different from a criminal one. Civil trials, however, require plaintiffs to prove their cases by a preponderance of the evidence, a much lower standard that essentially translates to more than 50 percent of the evidence.
Zug has prosecuted numerous violent crimes. Rape "involves a total loss of control of one's body" and can haunt the victim, usually a woman, making her feel ashamed and humiliated, Zug said. Zug said that if he asked victims about the effect rape has had on them, some would say "'I'm just never going to get over this.