LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas legislators are reminding you of a new law passed last session, in light of a child sexual abuse case you saw on FOX16 just last week.
Senate Bill 676 was signed into law last session in 2021 and changes the statute of limitations to give child sexual abuse victims more time to file civil lawsuits.
Last week, we reported that Barry Walker pled guilty to raping more than 30 children in Pike and Clark Counties. After the hearings wrapped up, Clark County Prosecutor Dan Turner stressed the importance of any victim of sexual abuse seeking justice.
“I do hope that one thing that comes out of this is victims tell their stories,” Turner said.
One legislator is reminding Arkansans of a new law that gives Arkansans more flexibility to do so.
State Senator Trent Garner (R- District 27) co-sponsored Senate Bill 676 in 2021- which was a bipartisan piece of legislation. It is now called the Justice for Vulnerable Victims Act.
“This was a wrong could be righted through our civil system and to give people the opportunity to have their day in court and be compensated for having such a horrendous act done against them,” Garner said.
Up until this bill was signed into law, the statute of limitations for a minor to report sexual abuse and be compensated in civil court ended at 21. The new law changes that age to 55.
“I think it’s a bipartisan issue that child abusers, child molesters deserve to be held to justice,” Garner said.
Garner said the bill also gives victims a two-year window right now if they’re over that age 55 age limit, that way they have time to come forward now for a civil case since this bill was just passed last year.
To see the full text of the law, click here.