Utah HB 279, passed in 2016, may prove pivotal in the recent accusations and probable civil trial of Washington D.C. Judge Richard W. Roberts. The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse helped lay the groundwork of the bill to extend the statute of limitations for a victim to file a civil case against his or her perpetrator to 35 years beyond the victim’s 18th birthday. The legislation opened a window for victim Terry Elrod Mitchell to file a recent lawsuit against the former federal prosecutor and federal judge, alleging that he sexually abused her during the 1981 Utah trial of serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin.
“The ability for the Judge Richard W. Roberts case to progress is a victory for over 60 million survivors of sexual abuse across this country,” said Deondra Brown, president of the Foundation for Survivors of Abuse and member of musical group The 5 Browns.
“As the nation deals with sexual abuse allegations against one of its most respected judges, this law is a representation of the good that can come from protecting victims and allowing them the opportunity to heal and prosecute when they are ready,” said Brown.
Currently, The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse is collaborating on national legislation sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid to potentially assist all states in extending the statute of limitations for crimes of sexual abuse.
“The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse applauds Senator Reid’s bill S.2397,” said Brown. “The bi-partisan passage of this bill is essential in protecting the 1:4 girls and 1:6 boys who are statistically projected to be victims of sex abuse before their 18th birthday, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The foundation is working on similar legislation in the House, and looks forward to continuing to represent victims across the country.”
The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse is a 501(c)(3) organization created to raise awareness about sexual abuse and the need for statute of limitations reform for victims. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 percent of the U.S. population who are victims of sexual abuse. The Foundation for Survivors of Abuse advocates on behalf of those victims. More information is available at survivingabuse.org.