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SOL vs. perp: +6 years from liberal discovery or Majority
SOL vs. employer: Same

Majority Tolling: √ – Age 18
Discovery Tolling: √ – Type

SOL: + 6 years from Majority or liberal (causal) discovery.

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 522(a) (“A civil action brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within six years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or six years of the time the victim discovered that the injury or condition was caused by that act, whichever period expires later. The victim need not establish which act in a series of continuing sexual abuse or exploitation incidents caused the injury.”)
RETROACTIVE APPLICABILITY.1989, No. 292 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(b) provided that section 2 of the act, which added this section, shall apply to all causes of action commenced on or after July 1, 1990, as long as either the act of sexual abuse or the discovery that the injury or condition was caused by the act of sexual abuse occurred on or after July 1, 1984, to which extent section 2 applies retroactively. (Current 12 V.S.A. § 522 applicability)

Sabia v. State , 164 Vt. 293, 669 A.2d 1187 (Vt. 1995).  (Nothing in statutory language of section suggests that Legislature intended to exclude non-perpetrators from the reach of statute. This section applies to civil actions brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse.)

Earle v. State,  170 Vt. 183, 743 A.2d 1101 (Vt. 1999) (Plaintiff’s claim against state agency, for failing to prevent foster child from sexually abusing him, fell within category of cases intended to be covered by statute of limitations governing actions based on childhood sexual abuse.)

TOLLING:

Majority, yes 18.
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 551 (a) “When a person entitled to bring an action specified in this chapter is a minor, lacks capacity to protect his or her interests due to a mental condition or psychiatric disability, or is imprisoned at the time the cause of action accrues, such person may bring such action within the times in this chapter respectively limited, after the disability is removed.”

Discovery, yes, liberal.
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 522(a) (“A civil action brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within six years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or six years of the time the victim discovered that the injury or condition was caused by that act, whichever period expires later. The victim need not establish which act in a series of continuing sexual abuse or exploitation incidents caused the injury.”)
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 522 (b)  If a complaint is filed alleging an act of childhood sexual abuse which occurred more than six years prior to the date the action is commenced, the complaint shall immediately be sealed by the clerk of the court. The complaint shall remain sealed until the answer is served or, if the defendant files a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, until the court rules on that motion. If the complaint is dismissed, the complaint and any related papers or pleadings shall remain sealed. Any hearing held in connection with the motion to dismiss shall be in camera.
Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 12, § 522 (c)  As used in this section, “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against a complainant who was less than 18 years of age at the time of the act and which act would have constituted a violation of a statute prohibiting lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault in effect at the time the act was committed.
Clarke v. Abate, 2013 VT 52, P9, 194 Vt. 294, 299, 80 A.3d 578, 580-581, 2013 Vt. LEXIS 69, 6-7, 2013 WL 4034238 (Vt. 2013) (“Our discovery-rule case law construing the statute has established that “a cause does not accrue for physical injuries [“or condition” 12 V.S.A. § 522(a)] until those injuries reasonably should be discovered.” Earle, 170 Vt. at 192, 743 A.2d at 1108. Thus, “[t]he date of accrual under the statute of limitations seeks to identify the point at which a plaintiff should have discovered the basic elements of a cause of action: an injury caused by the negligence or breach of duty of a particular defendant.” Id. at 193, 743 A.2d at 1108; see Lillicrap v. Martin, 156 Vt. 165, 175, 591 A.2d 41, 46 (1989) (noting “clear trend” among courts holding that limitations period does not begin to run “until the plaintiff has discovered his ‘legal injury,’ such that the statute begins to run only when the plaintiff has or should have discovered both the injury and the fact that it may have been caused by the defendant’s negligence or other breach of duty”).
Knowledge of “act” required for discovery:  Turner v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, 186 Vt. 396, 987 A.2d 960. (OVERVIEW: Court declines to follow decisions holding that a plaintiff alleging sexual abuse is, as a matter of law, on inquiry notice of the potential liability of a defendant based on the knowledge that the perpetrator was a priest in the employ of a church.)


None for aggravated sexual assault of a child, human trafficking, aggravated human trafficking.
+40 years from commission of offense for other crimes.

None for aggravated sexual assault of a child, human trafficking, aggravated human trafficking. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4501(a). +40 years from commission of offense for other crimes. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4501(c)(1)-(4).

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4501(a) (“§ 4501. Limitation of prosecutions for certain crimes (a)  Prosecutions for aggravated sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault of a child, human trafficking, aggravated human trafficking, murder, arson causing death, and kidnapping may be commenced at any time after the commission of the offense.”)

  • SOLs for TRAFFICKING were removed in 2011.

o   AMENDMENTS–2011. Catchline: Act No. 6 substituted “crimes” for “felonies”. Subsection (a): Act No. 55 inserted “human trafficking, aggravated human trafficking,” preceding “murder”.

  • SOL for aggravated sexual assault of a child was removed in 2009.

o   AMENDMENTS–2009. Added “aggravated sexual assault of a child” after “sexual assault” in subsection (a); and in the first sentence of subsection (c), added “, sexual exploitation of a minor as defined in subsection 3258(b) of this title,” after the first reference of “lascivious conduct”, substituted “under 18” for “16”, deleted “or under,” and substituted “ten” for “six.”

  • SOL for aggravated sexual assault was removed in 1989.

o   AMENDMENTS–1989 (ADJ. SESS.). Subsection (a): Inserted “aggravated sexual assault” preceding “murder”.

Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 13, § 4501(c)  Prosecutions for any of the following offenses alleged to have been committed against a child under 18 years of age shall be commenced within 40 years after the commission of the offense, and not after:

  • (1)  sexual assault;
  • (2)  lewd and lascivious conduct;
  • (3)  sexual exploitation of a minor as defined in subsection 3258(c) of this title;
  • (4)  lewd or lascivious conduct with a child; and

SOL FOR Sub C (1)-(4) was changed to +40 yrs from commission in 2013. Previous SOL was Victim’s Age 24 or +10 from reporting.

  • AMENDMENTS—-2013. Added “under chapter 64 of this title” in subsec. (b); added “any of the following offenses alleged to have been committed against a child under 18 years of age shall be commenced within 40 years after the commission of the offense, and not after” in subsec. (c); added subdivs. (c)(1) through (c)(4); substituted “3258(c)” for “3258(b)” in subdiv. (c)(3); and deleted “alleged to have been committed against a child under 18 years of age shall be commenced within the earlier of the date the victim attains the age of 24 or 10 years from the date the offense is reported, and not after. For purposes of this subsection, an offense is reported when a report of the conduct constituting the offense is made to a law enforcement officer by the victim” following “child” in subdiv. (c)(4).
  • PRIOR TO 2009: age at which CSA SOL applied victims under16, not under 18.

o   AMENDMENTS–2009. Added “aggravated sexual assault of a child” after “sexual assault” in subsection (a); and in the first sentence of subsection (c), added “, sexual exploitation of a minor as defined in subsection 3258(b) of this title,” after the first reference of “lascivious conduct”, substituted “under 18” for “16”, deleted “or under,” and substituted “ten” for “six.

  • SOL from 1989-2013 SOL was earlier of Victim’s age 24 or 6 yrs from reporting.

o   AMENDMENTS–1989 (ADJ. SESS.). Subsection (b): Deleted “aggravated” preceding “sexual assault” and inserted “lewd and lascivious conduct, sexual exploitation of children” thereafter.

o   Subsection (c): Substituted “lewd and lascivious conduct” for “incest” following “assault” and “the earlier of the date the victim attains the age of 24 or six years from the date the offense is reported” for “six years after the commission of the offense” following “commenced within” in the first sentence and added the second sentence.

  • From 1985-1989 changes, SOL would have been 6 years from commission for most offenses.
  • Prior to 1985 the SOLwas +3 years. (“In 1985, the statute of limitations was amended, extending the limitation period to six years. 13 V.S.A. § 4501(c). Thus, at the time the limitation period was extended, the original three-year limitation had not yet run out on defendant’s alleged offenses.”) State v. Petrucelli (Vt. 1991) 156 Vt. 382, 592 A.2d 365.
  • APPLICABILITY: Unless otherwise stated SOL extension in Vermont applies to all crimes not yet time barred at time of extension.

o   Six-year statute of limitations for lewd and lascivious conduct cases applied retroactively to defendant’s conduct for which the prior statute of limitations had not run at time of amendment, so that statute governed offenses charged, even though they occurred before amendment date. State v. Johnson (1992) 158 Vt. 344, 612 A.2d 1114.

o   Where three-year statute of limitation for crime of sexual assault had not run at time legislature extended limitation period from three to six years, defendant did not acquire at time of alleged offense a right to original limitation period, and six-year statute of limitation was retroactively applicable. State v. Petrucelli Vt. (1991) 156 Vt. 382, 592 A.2d 365.

  • (“In 1985, the statute of limitations was amended, extending the limitation period to six years. 13 V.S.A. § 4501(c). Thus, at the time the limitation period was extended, the original three-year limitation had not yet run out on defendant’s alleged offenses.”) State v. Petrucelli (1991) 156 Vt. 382, 592 A.2d 365.

2015 Pending Legislation

No pending bills at this time.  View SOL Snapshot

Previously Introduced Legislation

Professor Marci A. Hamilton Testimony

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