Lawmaker Says Statute of Limitation Should Not Start Running Upon Notification
White middle aged man with crew cut and big bags under his eyes wearing a suit looking off to the side with a very worried expression on his face

Lt. Gardner who stated under oath in a court of law that he is sending violent child abuse reports to his “junk mail.”

State Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent (D-Central Ohio) introduces legislation that would extend the period of limitations for any criminal offense involving a minor as the victim.  


Current law dictates the period of limitation for a violation that involves or indicates abuse or neglect of a child under eighteen years of age or of a child with a developmental disability or physical impairment under twenty-one years of age shall not begin to run until either of the following occurs: (1) The victim of the offense reaches the age of majority, or (2) A public children services agency, or a municipal or county peace officer that is not the parent or guardian of the child, in the county in which the child resides or in which the abuse or neglect is occurring or has occurred has been notified that abuse or neglect is known, suspected, or believed to have occurred.

 

“I have spent years advocating for child victims of rape and abuse, and in specific cases, some children services and law enforcement officials are notified, but justice gets delayed for various reasons- victims considered less credible based on such criteria as economic level, race, gender, sexual orientation or based on the age of the child or on an official’s own personal biases; often to the child victims’ permanent detriment.”

 

There is no better evidence to prove the need for the statute of limitation to be extended than the exposed video deposition of a lieutenant, without what appears to be an ounce of humanity and for no other reason than he just felt like it, stating under oath in a court of law that he is sending violent child abuse reports to his “junk mail”; instead of following the child abuse law, which definitively states under ORC 2151.421(E)(1):

 

“When a municipal or county peace officer receives a report concerning the possible abuse or neglect of a child or the possible threat of abuse or neglect of a child, upon receipt of the report, the municipal or county peace officer who receives the report shall refer the report to the appropriate public children services agency.”

 

Regarding her ideology about the legislation, Kent explains, “Since Ohio’s criminal statute of limitation laws only allow six years for most crimes, under the current law, if a child’s alleged abuse and/or neglect in the home happens at the age of twelve, and there is the possibility that nothing is done at the time of the reporting to children services and/or law enforcement as evidenced from the aforementioned video deposition of the lieutenant sending child abuse reports to his ‘junk mail’, the statute of limitation for seeking justice will run out for these child victims by the time they turn eighteen.”

 

Science and observers have found child victims often do not come to terms with traumatic events until adulthood. Kent says, “It must be noted when considering this new bill that abuse of children by their parents remained a hidden problem until 1962, when C. Henry Kempe published The Battered Child Syndrome, and an avalanche of publicity led to the enactment of child abuse reporting laws.”

 

The new bill would take out both of the aforementioned provisions and the statute of limitations would not begin to run until the victim of the offense reaches the age of 18, at which time child victims may be better prepared to address and challenge their childhood abuses resulting from growing up in a toxic, turbulent and violent home.

 

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