(Baltimore, MD) – Today, the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate officially passed the Senate Bill 686, also known as the Child Victims Act of 2023. The bill is now headed to Governor Wes Moore’s office for signing into law. Governor Moore also has publicly expressed his support for the bill, telling The Baltimore Sun that he looks forward to signing the bill into law. If passed into law, the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits would be lifted and survivors could file lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred.
“Until there is real consequence for cover-up, they will continue unabated,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “We demand the Archbishop release the undisclosed names of offenders and the identities of the officials who concealed the crimes. It’s time to come clean.”
The House and Senate’s approval of the bill follows the recent release of Maryland Attorney General’s report on clergy sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The 463-page report revealed over 150 clergy associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore sexually abused over 600 children.
The bill also puts a cap on liability for public entities at $890,000. It would increase the liability limit to $1.5 million for claims against private institutions for non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering). Additionally, it removes the limit for economic damages for costs of services such as seeing a therapist or medical treatment. Under Maryland’s current law, there is no statute of limitations on criminal charges of child sex abuse but, since 2017, survivors of child sex abuse have been barred from bringing civil lawsuits if they are older than 38.
“It’s time for the law to protect kids instead of offenders and those that enable them,” said Anderson.