Iowa eliminates statute of limitations for child sex crimes

May 13, 2021 GMT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa has joined more than a dozen other states in eliminating the statute of limitations for several child sex abuse crimes.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the measure into law on Wednesday. It eliminates the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children under 18, including sexual abuse, incest, sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

The change does not eliminate the state’s statute of limitations for bringing a civil claim, which gives Iowans up to a year after they turn 18 to sue over abuse. If the abuse was by a counselor, therapist or school employee, victims can file claims up to five years after they are no longer enrolled at the school or receiving treatment from the therapist or counselor.

In addition to eliminating the criminal statute of limitations, the law also creates a new criminal offense of sexual exploitation by an adult providing training or instruction, which it defines as a non-school adult employee providing paid training or instruction to a minor outside of a school setting. The charge could be a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the severity.

The Iowa Legislature passed the measure this year, where it received unanimous support in the Iowa Senate and passed in the House 84-2.