The phrase “statute of limitations” refers to state statutes that stipulate how long a plaintiff has to bring a civil action or how long a prosecution has to file a criminal charge against a defendant.
The statute of limitations limits the plaintiff’s ability to sue by creating a deadline for initiating a lawsuit; once enough time has gone, the plaintiff or criminal prosecution is prevented from pressing their case against the defendant. Your case will be dismissed if you bring a lawsuit after the SOL ends.
Maryland has separate statutes of limitations for criminal and civil sexual abuse, and different statutes of limitations may apply depending on when your abuse occurred.
Adult and child sexual assault cases in Maryland have separate filing deadlines. Furthermore, the statute of limitations that applies is the one that was in effect at the time of your mistreatment.
This implies that even if Maryland’s sexual assault statute of limitations has been extended after the occurrence, it will usually not revive time-barred cases.
Civil Lawsuits for Sexual Abuse in Maryland
In a civil case, a victim of sexual abuse seeks restitution and damages from the perpetrator. You may be entitled to monetary and non-monetary damages, as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.
A civil sexual assault complaint must be filed within the following under Maryland sexual abuse laws:
- In situations of childhood sexual abuse, seven years after the victim’s 18th birthday, up to 20 years after the victim turns 18, and three years after the occurrence in adult cases. Thus, the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims was lengthened from age 25 to 38. This includes cases against someone or some entity other than the perpetrator.
- If you are sexually abused at work, you may be able to file a sexual harassment case under federal law. Within 300 days of the sexual assault or harassment, you must file a complaint (or charge) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if your work has more than 20 employees.
The EEOC will investigate your complaint and decide whether to file a lawsuit on your behalf. If it chooses not to fight your claim, it will send you a letter stating that you have the right to sue. You must file a lawsuit within 90 days of receiving the EEOC’s letter granting you the right to sue.
Criminal Cases for Sexual Abuse in Maryland
The State of Maryland files criminal charges on behalf of victims.
You must alert law enforcement of sexual abuse to press criminal charges.
Authorities will look at your allegations, and a prosecutor may press charges against your abuser.
If a suspect is found guilty of criminal activity, they may be sentenced to considerable prison time and sex offender registration.
The criminal statute of limitations in Maryland varies based on the gravity of the act.
Felony sexual crimes have no statute of limitations, whereas misdemeanor offenses have a one-year statute of limitations.
Contact law enforcement or an experienced attorney immediately if you need assistance identifying the right statute of limitations for Maryland sexual abuse laws in your case.
Other Compensation for Sex Abuse Victims in Maryland
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board of Maryland compensates crime victims for up to $45,000 in medical costs, lost earnings, and other expenditures.
However, you must fulfill the Board’s reporting and filing dates unless you have a good reason. You must report the offense to law enforcement within 72 hours of the act. Adults must apply for benefits within three years, while minors must apply before age 25.
How a Maryland Sexual Crimes Attorney Can Help
As can be seen above, the statute of limitations for sexual crimes is a strict and sometimes quick deadline that may prohibit you from being able to pursue your claims against a defendant.
If you are considering launching a lawsuit, or if one has been filed against you, you should seek the advice of a Maryland sexual crime attorney.
An attorney who works in the field of sex crimes can assist in establishing the viability and timeliness of your claim and help you decide whether the statute of limitations has run on your claim.
An experienced sex crime attorney can also help you pursue your claims, defend yourself from allegations against you, and navigate your local court system.
Who is Responsible for Reporting Child Abuse in Maryland?
In Maryland, a health practitioner, educator, police officer, or human service worker operating professionally is responsible for reporting child abuse.
Individuals who are not health practitioners, police officers, educators, or human service workers are not required to report suspected abuse or neglect if doing so would violate the attorney-client privilege, require disclosure of “matter communicated in confidence by a client to the client’s attorney or other information relating to the client’s representation,” or violate any constitutional right to assistance of counsel.
When Is a Report Necessary, and Where Should it Be Filed?
A report is necessary when there is reason to suspect that a kid has been abused or neglected.
An individual can notify child services if they have reason to think that a parent, guardian, or caregiver of a child allows the child to live with or be in the recurring presence of a person other than the child’s parent or guardian, who poses a serious risk of sexual abuse to the child.
Where Does a Child Abuse Report Go?
Oral reports must be made by phone or direct contact with the local department of social services or the relevant law enforcement agency by health practitioners, police officers, educators, and human service professionals operating in a professional capacity.
Written reports must be sent to the local social services department, with a copy sent to the State’s Attorney.
Suppose the alleged abuse or neglect occurs outside the state and the alleged victim resides outside the state.
In that case, the reporter must contact any department of social services in Maryland, which must transmit the complaint to the relevant agency outside of Maryland.
If the health practitioner, police officer, educator, or human service worker is acting as a staff member of a public health agency, child care institution, hospital, juvenile detention center, school, or similar institution, the person shall also make a report to the head of the institution.
What Information Should a Report Include?
A report must contain, to the greatest extent practicable, the following info:
- The child’s name, home address, and age;
- The name and address of the child’s parent or other people in charge of the child’s care;
- The location of the child;
- The nature and extent of the child’s sexual abuse, abuse, or neglect, including any proof or information available to the reporter regarding potential previous instances of abuse or neglect; and
- Any other info that would assist in determining the cause of the suspected abuse or neglect, as well as the identity of any person responsible for the abuse or neglect.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Sexual assault and abuse allegations are emotionally draining. They also need extensive legal analysis and adherence to tight procedural requirements.
A Maryland criminal lawyer can assist you through the lawsuit process, educate you about your rights, and give emotional support.
You should also pursue criminal accusations with a law enforcement agency.
If you are facing sexual assault accusations and prosecution, a Maryland criminal lawyer can assist you in understanding your rights. Because time is important, consult with an attorney as soon as possible.