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Va. Lawmakers Consider Extending Time Frame To Sue For Sex Abuse

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Virginia law currently says victims of sexual abuse can file a civil lawsuit for up to two years after they turn 18. For victims who've repressed the experience, the time frame is two years after the abuse is discovered. But lawmakers are looking to extend that.

Delegate Dave Albo, a Republican from Fairfax, is behind a bill that originally proposed extending the limit to 25 years, but has been scaled back to eight. The Senate version of the bill would set the limit at 20 years.

Camille Cooper, with the National Association to Protect Children, says ideally there wouldn't be any restriction for victims of sexual abuse.

"The perpetrator's greatest weapon is intimidating the victim into silence, and any statute of limitations at all is an extension of that same perpetrator's power over the victim to silence them," Cooper says.

Virginia's attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, says that would be going too far.

"I don't mind extending it, but no limitation whatsoever strikes me as very bad policy," Cuccinelli says.

Cuccinelli says the more time that passes, the harder it is to try a case. He says it's overly optimistic to think cases decades old can be resolved effectively in the judicial system.

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