States Changing Laws To Address Past Abuse In Detention Facilities

Maryland eliminated its statute of limitations for child sexual abuse complaints to facilitate lawsuits by alleged child victims against the Catholic Church, but in addition, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed in response to the lifting of the statute of limitations by people who were detained as minors in state youth detention facilities. Two hundred alleged victims have made allegations of abuse by staff and corrections officers of the detention facilities.

Victims, as young as seven at the time, allege the coercion of sexual favors for protection by staff, and offers of extra food and privileges under the threat of violence if victims reported the abuse. Other victims described vicious beatings in their cells by guards. Lea Skene, "200 victims allege child sex abuse in Maryland youth detention facilities" (Feb. 08, 2024).


Commentary and Checklist


In addition to Maryland, there are similar lawsuits filed in Illinois, New Jersey, and New York – more than 200 more alleged victims of juvenile detention abuse.

More than a dozen states have changed their laws recently to allow child survivors of abuse to sue as adults. Child USA, a nonprofit, tracks child victim laws nationwide.

Organizations that provide services and/or house children must have policies and procedures in place to protect those children from all types of abuse.

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