President Biden Signs New Law to Eliminate Prescription for Federal Child Sex Abuse Claims

President Biden just signed a law which eliminates federal civil statutes of limitations for child sex abuse victims. The law will not revive any previously time-barred claims but it will apply retroactively to claims which were not already barred by the prior statute of limitation (which gave child sex abuse victims until they were 28 years old to file a lawsuit).

It will apply to the following statutes:

• 18 U.S. Code § 1589 – Forced labor;

• 18 U.S. Code § 1590 – Trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor;

• 18 U.S. Code § 1591 – Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion;

• 18 U.S. Code § 2241(c) – Aggravated sexual abuse (crossing a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person under 12 years old, or knowingly engaging in a sexual act with a child under 12 years “in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency”);

• 18 U.S. Code § 2242 – Sexual abuse;

• 18 U.S. Code § 2243 – Sexual abuse of a minor, a ward, or an individual in Federal custody;

• 18 U.S. Code § 2251 – Sexual exploitation of children;

• 18 U.S. Code § 2252 – Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors (mainly dealing with child sexual abuse images);

• 18 U.S. Code § 2260 – Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States;

• 18 U.S. Code § 2421 – Transportation generally (crossing state lines to engage in criminal sexual activity);

• 18 U.S. Code § 2422 – Coercion and enticement (coercing or enticing someone “to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, to engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so”);

• 18 U.S. Code § 2423 – Transportation of minors (transporting person under 18 years old “in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any commonwealth, territory or possession of the United States, with intent that the individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense”).

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