After this month, victims of pedophile priests in the Catholic church will no longer be able to find justice – at least, not in Hawaii or Minnesota, two states that extended the statute of limitations (SOL) after a renewed wave of allegations came to light in 2013. This is yet another perfect example of our country’s willful ignorance about rape and sexual abuse.

Why are there SOLs in these cases at all? There shouldn’t be.

It’s already impossible in most other states for victims of rape and sexual assault within or beyond the bounds of the church to gain justice, since SOLs vary wildly from state to state but are often impossibly short. Alabama, to offer just one example, gives victims above aged 16 three years to file a criminal complaint in the case of felony sexual abuse. (Civil SOLs are comparatively longer and easier to pursue; criminal cases must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, while civil suits hinge on the lower bar of providing a preponderance of evidence.)

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