Three bills dealing with the state’s statute of limitations on childhood sex abuse were put to vote today.

One of the bills would suspend the state’s current 10-year statute of limitations, allowing people to file claims against alleged abusers or institutions, no matter the amount of time passed.

Rep. Austen Schauer, who’s been sponsoring the bill, says victims deserve justice, and this is a way to let people know the state cares.

“The average victim does not disclose well into adulthood.
It helps to identify unknown sexual predators. It’s because the judicial system pits a child against an adult and most often times a family member.
It’s because powerful individuals or organizations or individuals can cover up the crime, hoping to avoid a loss of finances,” said Schauer.

According to Child USA, the average age a victim comes forward with abuse claims is 52, and the Department of Justice says 86% of child abuse goes unreported.

While many voted in support of the bill, some had a few concerns.

“So this is really an unlimited statute of limitations.
In fact, it’s no statute of limitations at all, the way it reads.
And one other problem that I really see with this, is that it’s an attorney shopping bill.
You don’t like the opinion you get from one attorney, go to the next one,” said Rep. Lawrence Klemin, Bismarck.

Though it was a very close count, all three bills failed to pass.