Congressman Steve Cohen

Representing the 9th District of Tennessee

Cohen and Poe Introduce Extending Justice for Sex Crime Victims Act of 2017

February 14, 2017
Press Release

[WASHINGTON, D.C.]— Today, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), co-founder of the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus, introduced H.R. 1035, Extending Justice for Sex Crime Victims Act of 2016. The bi-partisan bill harmonizes the statute of limitations for sex abuse victims and sex trafficking victim minors to 28, rather than the current age of 21.

Under current law, victims of both trafficking and other federal sex offenses are able to obtain justice by bringing civil claims against their perpetrators. While both sections allow claims for 10 years after the underlying offense, Section 1595 (trafficking) also allows claims until the minor is 28, but Section 2255 (other sex crimes) only permits the claim until age 21. The legislation also clarifies that the statute of limitations does not begin until the victim actually discovers the violation or the injury.

“Sexual abuse of children is a horrific crime that too often goes unreported,” said Congressman Cohen. “Our bill increases the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse to ensure that they have the time and resources they need to seek justice.  Sex crimes often happen to young children who may not become fully aware of these crimes until later in their life. This is a common-sense, bipartisan bill, and I hope Congress will pass it.”  

“The harsh reality is that one in four women in the United States is sexually abused as a child,” said Congressman Ted Poe. “Unfortunately, the vast majority of sexual abuse often goes unreported. Children are often victimized before their memories form, sometimes as young as three-years-old. The primary avenue to seek justice is the ability to file civil claims against perpetrators who harm women and children. This legislation takes the necessary steps to extend the statute of limitations consistent for reporting sexual abuse and trafficking. It is time Congress stands up and advocates for children and victims.”