FILE - Wisconsin State Capitol

The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin.

A handful of lawmakers in Madison are looking to give the young victims assaulted by priests and others more time to come forward. 

State Senator Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, state Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison, and state Rep. Melissa Sargent, D-Madison on Wednesday re-introduced a plan to end the statute of limitations for sex crimes involving clergy members and other adults. 

The three are calling LRB 1718 the "Child Victims Act."

The proposal would give victims of childhood sexual assault an unlimited amount of time to come forward with accusations. Current Wisconsin law gives victims until the age of 35 to report what happened to them. 

“There should never be an expiration date on justice," Taylor said. "There are numerous reasons why victims find it difficult to come forward, especially in instances of childhood sex abuse, but our laws should never be one of them."

The "Child Victims Act" was introduced last session, but went nowhere at the Wisconsin Capitol. 

The three lawmakers say they are hoping for more support in the fall or next year. 

“I’m proud to add my voice to the growing number of legislators across the country demanding justice for survivors," Sen. Taylor added. "There’s nothing partisan about this legislation. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

The move comes after a series of reports from Catholic schools and Catholic dioceses in Wisconsin that have identified more priests accused of sexual abuse.  Many of the cases happened decades ago, and the priests were never prosecuted.  

"This bill will make it possible for victims of sexual abuse to seek justice, no matter how long they wait to speak out," Taylor said. 

 

Staff Writer

An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.