Should Statutes of Limitations Apply to Child Sex Offenses?

Friday, December 09, 2011

Assistant coach Bernie Fine of the Syracuse Orange. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Across the United States, statutes of limitations with regard to sex crimes vary from state to state. The cases of former sports coaches Jerry Sandusky and Bernie Fine highlight how variations in the law can create very different outcomes. On Wednesday, prosecutors said that despite credible allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, charges against Fine could not be brought because the statute of limitations has expired. Meanwhile, Sandusky has posted bail after spending a night in jail. 

Dr. Chrysanthi Leon teaches criminal justice at the University of Delaware. She explains how states come to decisions about determining length of statutes. Dr. Joan Kinlin is a child psychiatrist based in Washington, DC. She believes that legal reform is needed and that no statutes of limitations should be imposed on charges related to child sex crimes.


Joan Kinlan and Dr Chrysanthi Leon

Produced by:

Alex Collins

Comments [2]

John Deckert from California

How long does it take for a child to recover from the trauma? How long does it take for a person to regain the personal confidence it must take to put forth a complaint? How long does it take for a child to understand that a person in a position of authority can be held accountable for wrong-doing?

Dec. 09 2011 09:10 AM
Ed from Larchmont

I don't know if they should have a statue of limitations or not, but I don't think it's fair to retroactively remove a statute of limitations, what was in force at the time of the crime should apply, it seems.

Dec. 09 2011 08:14 AM

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