Advocates argue #MeToo bill should include Institutions
The original "Me Too" bill would have allowed victims of child sexual abuse until the age of 48 to sue an abuser and an institution that tried covering it up. It has since be revised and survivors say it is not enough.
Three former USA Gymnastics members testified Monday, urging the Senate to allow victims to take legal action against organizations that failed to protect them.
"I want to protect the young kids I coached, because USA Gymnastics did not protect me," Jordan Schwikert said.
Jordan and Tasha Schwikert both claimed Larry Nassar convinced them "vaginal treatments" would help their injuries. Both of the were not even 16, before being sexually assaulted by the now convicted predator. These sisters, along with Alyssa Baumann shared their experiences so lawmakers understand why organizations like USA Gymnastics should be held accountable.
"Once the statute of limitation has run, there's really nothing you can do in terms of the lawsuit," Attorney Fernando Bustos said.
Bustos said there is not statute of limitations for criminal charges, but if you wanted to sue an abuser or institution, you would have to file by age 33. The "Me Too" bill would add 15 more years to that limitation, but as amended, it only refers to abusers.
"There's been some testimony in the legislature that that's about the time many victims come forward," Bustos said.
Leslie Timmons with the Voice of Hope, a rape crisis organization, believes this bill is just too watered down.
"That's where the systematic injustice begins," Timmons said.
Even if this bill does not get the revision many believe it needs, Timmons said it is important victims take any legal action they can. That could help deter predators.
"Anytime we can provide any kind of consequence for perpetrators of sexual assault is going to be a win in the right direction," Timmons said.
The Senate's State Affairs Committee has left the proposal pending and is supposed to vote on it later this week. If it passes the Senate, any changes will have to be approved by the Houston. Lawmakers have until May 27 to pass legislation.
Lubbock State Senator Charles Perry appears to support the proposal in this statement below.
"Sexual assault victims, especially children, often have a difficult time coming forward to report abuse because of the deep trauma they have endured. Giving victims more time to report abuse and put sexual predators behind bars will provide closure to victims and pursue justice."