Survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Hawaii now have an unprecedented opportunity to seek justice and hold those responsible for their abusers accountable. On April 24, 2012, the State of Hawaii changed the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse occurring years, or even decades ago. Beginning last April, and continuing through April 24, 2014, any survivor of childhood sexual abuse can file a lawsuit, even if their claim had been barred by the statute of limitations in the past. Actions must be filed prior to April 24, 2014, or become forever time-barred.
Under this law both the abuser and institutions responsible for the abuse can be brought to justice. For decades, a perfect storm of sexual abuse has arisen out of the Jehovah's Witness' policies of encouraging victims of sexual abuse to go to elders rather than law enforcement, demanding that elders keep knowledge of such accusations away from members of the congregation who were at risk, and requiring two eyewitnesses to the abuse before judicial action could be taken. These policies shielded sexual predators and created a pedophile paradise in which abusers had little concern of being arrested, exposed to the congregation, or removed from the faith.
To make matters worse, for many raised in "The Truth," the idea of disobeying elders by speaking out against an abuser or seeking outside psychological help carried with it the probability of disfellowshipping and being shunned by everyone they knew and loved. As a result, sexual abusers flourished within the religion. By the time many survivors of abuse broke away from the Jehovah's Witnesses or found the strength to stand up to their abusers, the doors of the civil courthouse had closed to them. In Hawaii, those doors are now wide open again.
If you or someone you know was a victim of sexual abuse within the Jehovah's Witness religion in Hawaii, do not hesitate to get a hold of an experienced attorney at The Zalkin Law Firm who will help you determine whether a civil lawsuit on your behalf is possible.