CARSON CITY — Victims of child sexual abuse lined up to testify before Nevada lawmakers Wednesday, recounting crimes they endured decades ago.
Many would gain nothing from Assembly Bill 145, but it would empower future victims, they said.
“Give us a fighting chance, because we, the victims, have a life sentence of the crime perpetrated against us,” testified Linda Kirkpatrick, who said she was sexually abused as a child. “Where are our rights?”
AB145 would extend the Nevada statute of limitations for victims to sue by another decade, from 10 years to 20 years. Time starts applying toward the statute of limitations after a victim turns 18 or discovers an injury was caused by the abuse, whichever comes later.
The bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner, R-Reno, and Speaker Pro Tempore Irene Bustamante Adams, D-Las Vegas.
They were joined at an Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who has represented victims in civil cases involving alleged sexual misconduct by figures such as comedian Bill Cosby. She said the bill would empower victims, who often need years to realize what happened.
“This means, instead of having the courthouse door slammed in their face because it is too late to file a lawsuit, the door to justice will remain open,” Allred told lawmakers.
Kimberly Mull, with the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, told lawmakers: “I’m a survivor of child pornography.”
Victims’ suffering doesn’t expire, said Mull, 31. “There is no statute of limitations on when trauma can come to the surface.”
The bill also would extend to 20 years the statute of limitations for victims to sue if they appeared in pornographic material while younger than 16.
Victims recounted wide-reaching damages after the abuse: broken relationships and marriages; drug and alcohol abuse; therapy and medication costs.
Kirkpatrick, 60, an Allred client, also has alleged that Cosby drugged and assaulted her at the Las Vegas Hilton when she was 24. Cosby, who has faced allegations from dozens of women and has a pending criminal case in Pennsylvania, has denied wrongdoing.
“I have had four failed marriages,” Kirkpatrick said. “My mother told me I was bad at picking men.”
The bill would extend the statute of limitations only for cases in which the former 10-year statute of limitations has not expired.
No one spoke in opposition to the bill.