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Hawaii may extend time to sue for child sex abuse

April 23, 2014 - 2:31pm

HONOLULU — Victims of child sexual abuse in Hawaii may have more time to file lawsuits if lawmakers pass one of two bills pending in the Legislature.

Victims have been given a two-year window to file suit in cases that have passed the statute of limitations. But that window is set to close Thursday.

Rep. Mele Carroll says it’s important to empower victims of sexual assault no matter how much time has passed.

But State Attorney General David Louie says that with no time limit, a victim could file suit decades after an assault. He says memories fade over time and witnesses move or pass away.

Lawmakers are also debating whether the state should be exempt from those lawsuits. Hawaii Catholic Conference leader Walter Yoshimitsu says it’s unfair to exempt the state.

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