Minnesota Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

August 22, 2022

In a previously published blog post, we explained that statutes of limitations are deadlines that require a lawsuit to be filed within a certain period of time after an injury occurs. While that post focused on personal injury cases, statutes of limitations apply to every type of lawsuit. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the statute of limitations as it applies to civil cases for sexual abuse.

Civil Cases for Sexual Abuse

You may not be aware that in addition to being charged with a crime, sexual abusers can be held liable for damages in civil court. That means that even after a person is convicted of sexual assault, the victim can sue the abuser for damages that they suffered due to the abuse. These cases are somewhat uncommon, as many sexual abusers don’t have substantial assets to collect, but in some cases, a sexual abuse victim may be able to sue an insurance company.

More specifically, these types of cases arise when a person is sexually abused on a property that may have had a duty to protect them, such as a school, a business, or a public area.

Minnesota Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Civil Cases

Minnesota’s statute of limitations for sexual abuse civil cases, codified at MN Stat. § 541.073 and otherwise known as the Child Victims Act, utilizes varying deadlines depending on the age of the victim.

Claims against a person (or entity) who was a cause of plaintiff’s damages, either by (a) committing the sexual abuse, or (b) negligence are subject to the following limitations periods:

  • Where, at time of abuse, victim is 18 years or older, claim must be commenced within 6 years of the abuse.
  • Where, at time of abuse, victim is under the age of 18 at time of abuse, and perpetrator is 14 or older, claim may be commenced at any time.
  • Where, at time of abuse, victim is under the age of 18, and perpetrator is a natural person under age 14, claim must be commenced before Plaintiff is 24 years of age.

Claims for vicarious liability or respondeat superior are subject to the following timelines.

  • Where, at time of abuse, victim is under the age of 18, claim must be commenced before Plaintiff is 24 years of age.
  • Where, at the time of abuse, victim is over the age of 18, claim must be commenced within six years of the abuse.

Importantly, the above deadlines apply only to claims that were not already time barred on May 25, 2013.

Minnesota Crime Reparations Board

Lastly, in Minnesota, the state government’s Crime Reparations Board provides financial assistance to victims of violent crime. The Board can be a valuable resource for obtaining compensation in cases where the abuser might not have assets to access in a civil case. However, the Board only pays expenses which are not covered by another source (such as insurance), and does not cover pain and suffering or stolen property.

To access the resources provided by the Minnesota Crime Reparations Board, a sexual abuse must have been reported to police within 30 days of it occurring, and a claim must be field with the Board within three years of the abuse. Victims are required to cooperate with police, and cannot have a criminal record.

In conclusion, Minnesota law provides many avenues of recourse for sexual abuse victims in the non-criminal realm, and each type of recourse has its own statute of limitations and deadline for filing. Navigating these types of issues, especially in the aftermath of a violent assault, can be challenging. Contact our office today to set up an appointment for assistance.