There is a silent epidemic of childhood sexual abuse in the United States and a legal system that is not effectively protecting children from predators. Recent coverage of widespread abuse in the public schools and in churches has brought the once-taboo subject of childhood sexual abuse to the forefront. The problem extends well beyond schools and churches, though: the vast majority of survivors are sexually abused by family or family acquaintances with 90 percent of abuse never reported to the authorities. Marci A. Hamilton proposes a comprehensive yet simple solution: eliminate the arbitrary statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse so that survivors past and present can get into court. In Justice Denied, Hamilton predicts a coming civil rights movement for children and explains why it is in the interest of all Americans to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse this chance to seek justice when they are ready.
Marci A. Hamilton is one of the United States' leading church state scholars, as well as an expert on federalism and representation. Hamilton is Visiting Professor of Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School and the Kathleen and Martin Crane Senior Research Fellow in the Law and Public Affairs Program, Princeton University and holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. She is the author of the award-winning God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Hamilton is a former clerk to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and is also columnist on constitutional issues for www.FindLaw.com.
1. We have failed our children; 2. What is wrong with the system; 3. The solution is clear and simple: abolish the statutes of limitation for childhood sexual abuse; 4. What it will take to act on the lessons learned; 5. Barrier no. 1: the insurance industry; 6. Barrier no. 2: the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church; 7. The other barriers: the teachers, the defense attorneys, and an uninformed public; Conclusion.