In the spring of 2023, Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed The Child Victims Act of 2023 into law. With this key legislation, state lawmakers approved providing additional protections for adults who endured sexual abuse as children in Maryland. This includes giving them unlimited time to identify their abusers and pursue civil cases against them. The law went into effect on October 1, 2023.
If you believe you may have a clergy sexual abuse case based on your experiences as a minor in Maryland, you should discuss your options with an attorney handling these cases as soon as possible. Our team provides free consultations on Baltimore clergy sexual abuse, therapist abuse, and other childhood sexual abuse by authority figures.
What Changes Occurred Under The Child Victims Act of 2023?
The Child Victims Act of 2023 significantly changes how courts in Maryland handle child sexual abuse cases. It gives survivors more time to act and raises damages caps to allow them to recover more compensation. It also empowers them to hold organizations or institutions that failed to protect them from abuse accountable.
Many believe this new law will allow many more survivors to seek justice and help prevent abuse for current children and teens involved in the same organizations and activities.
The Child Victims Act of 2023 includes the following changes:
Survivors Can Pursue Cases Against Additional Parties
Under criminal law and civil cases, holding a third party accountable for injuries has always been difficult. For example, imagine abuse occurred at a Catholic high school in Baltimore. Survivors might have a problem holding the high school or archdiocese legally responsible unless there was evidence to show they knew about the abuse.
Under The Child Victims Act of 2023, organizations and institutions are responsible for their failure to protect the children in their care. Survivors do not need to show who was aware of the abuse and when.
Survivors Can File Civil Lawsuits at Any Time
The Child Victims Act of 2023 eliminates the statute of limitations for adults who wish to sue based on the sexual abuse they experienced as children in Maryland. Previously, there was a deadline for these cases. If they missed the deadline, they could not proceed with a civil case against the perpetrator or organization that allowed the abuse.
Survivors Can Sue, Even If Their Opportunity Previously Expired
Under The Child Victims Act of 2023, removing the statute of limitations applies retroactively. This means any adult who experienced childhood sexual abuse could bring a civil case even if they were previously told the time had run out for them to take legal action.
This part of the law could allow hundreds of survivors who were barred by the previous statute of limitations to sue.
Survivors May Be Able to Recover More Money
The Child Victims Act of 2023 raises the caps on how much compensation survivors can recover in a civil case. Like many states, Maryland limits the size of these monetary awards, especially on non-economic damages.
Under the new law, the following apply:
- There are no limits on documented economic damages—medical bills and income losses—in cases plaintiffs file against private institutions.
- The cap on non-economic damages, often called pain and suffering, is increased to $1.5 million per case from private institutions.
- The cap in claims against government entities, such as school systems, was increased to $890,000 per case for various damages.
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Why Did The Child Victims Act of 2023 Receive Bipartisan Support?
The Maryland Office of the Attorney General concluded a four-year investigation into child sex abuse allegations against the Archdiocese of Baltimore, involving dozens of clergy members, nuns, Catholic School teachers, and others associated with the church. When the office released its report on this investigation, it showed more than 150 credibly accused clergy members and 600-plus child victims.
The report also states there are likely many more unidentified victims who have not reported the abuse they endured.
This report and others likely played a role in the widespread support for The Child Victims Act of 2023. Survivors often take years to recognize what occurred and feel ready to tell their story. Thanks to the passage of this law, survivors of child sexual abuse can now pursue justice regardless of how much time has passed.
What Should I Do If I Believe I Have a Maryland Sexual Abuse Case?
If you believe you have a childhood sexual abuse case based on your experiences, contact our team as soon as possible. You may need to act quickly under some circumstances. We can review your legal options with you for free today.
Holding the perpetrator and/or an organization or institution accountable for the abuse, pain, and suffering you endured may be possible. We build compelling cases and hold the liable parties accountable, recovering compensation for:
- Past and present medical bills to pay for therapy and mental health care
- Past and present income losses and diminished earning ability
- Past and present pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other non-economic losses
When you hire our attorneys to lead your Maryland sexual abuse case, we will take care of everything. We are here to answer all your questions and ensure you understand what to expect.
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Call the Jenner Law Team Today for Your Free Consultation
Jenner Law’s clergy abuse attorneys represent survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Maryland. We can review your case and answer your questions about your rights now.
We can also explain how The Child Victims Act of 2023 could affect your potential case. Our compassionate team is here for you and ready to advocate for your full recovery. Contact us today for your free consultation.