GEORGIA

CHILD SEX ABUSE SOLs

CURRENT CIVIL SOL

The current civil SOL in Georgia is age 23, with a 2-year discovery rule against all defendants.

CIVIL SOL SNAPSHOT

AGE CAP

AGE 23

DISCOVERY TOLLING

2 YEARS

REVIVAL LAW

2-YEAR WINDOW (CLOSED 2017)

 

Changes Since 2002:

Age Cap: In 2002, the Georgia civil SOL was age 23 for claims against perpetrators and age 20 against other defendants, which made it one of the worst in the United States. In 2015, the state extended the SOL to age 23 for other defendants.

Discovery: Prior to 2015, Georgia did not recognize a common law or statutory discovery rule for child sex abuse. In 2015, Georgia added a 2-year statutory discovery rule for abuse committed on or after July 1, 2015. Pursuant to the discovery rule, claims can be filed within 2 years from when a victim “knew or had reason to know of such abuse and that such abuse resulted in injury” that is “established by competent medical or psychological evidence”. While the discovery provision has yet to be interpreted by Georgia courts, the statute is clear that it does apply to actions against perpetrators, institutions, and the government.  

Revival Law:  In 2015, Georgia passed the Hidden Predator Act, which opened a 2-year revival window for previously expired child sex abuse claims against perpetrators only. Georgia’s was the first window that was limited to claims against perpetrators and did not include institutions.  Very few cases were brought, and, therefore, it is not looked upon as a model. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, Georgia considered a window that would encompass institutions, but the measures failed.

CURRENT GEORGIA CIVIL LAW

Ga. Code Ann. § 9-3-33.1 - Childhood sexual abuse

(a)(1) As used in this subsection, the term “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against the plaintiff which occurred when the plaintiff was under 18 years of age and which would be in violation of:

(A) Rape, as prohibited in Code Section 16-1-1; 

(B) Sodomy or aggravated sodomy, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-2;

(C) Statutory rape, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-3; 

(D) Child molestation or aggravated child molestation, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-4; 

(E) Enticing a child for indecent purposes, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-5;

(F) Pandering, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-12; 

(G) Reserved;

(H) Solicitation of sodomy, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-15; 

(I) Incest, as prohibited in Code section 16-6-22; 

(J) Sexual battery, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22.1; or  

(K) Aggravated sexual battery, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22.2. 

(2) Notwithstanding Code Section 9-3-33 and except as provided in subsection (d) of this Code section as it existed on June 30, 2017, any civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse committed before July 1, 2015, shall be commenced on or before the date the plaintiff attains the age of 23 years.

(b)(1) As used in this subsection, the term “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against the plaintiff which occurred when the plaintiff was under 18 years of age and which would be in violation of:

(A) Trafficking a person for sexual servitude, as prohibited in Code Section 16-4-46;

(B) Rape, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-1; 

(C) Statutory rape, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-3, if the defendant was 21 years of age or older at the time of the act;

(D) Aggravated sodomy, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-2; 

(E) Child molestation or aggravated child molestation, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-4, unless the violation would be subject to punishment as provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-6-4 or paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-6-4;

(F) Enticing a child for indecent purposes, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-5, unless the violation would be subject to punishment as provided in subsection (c) of Code Section 16-6-5; 

(G) Incest, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22; 

(H) Aggravated sexual battery, as prohibited in Code Section 16-6-22.2; or

(I) Part 2 of Article 3 of Chapter 12 of Title 16.

(2)(A) Notwithstanding Code Section 9-3-33, any civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse committed on or after July 1, 2015, shall be commenced:

(i) On or before the date the plaintiff attains the age of 23 years; or

(ii) Within two years from the date that the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of such abuse and that such abuse resulted in injury to the plaintiff as established by competent medical or psychological evidence.

(B) When a plaintiff’s civil action is filed after the plaintiff attains the age of 23 years but within two years from the date that the plaintiff knew or had reason to know of such abuse and that such abuse resulted in injury to the plaintiff, the court shall determine from admissible evidence in a pretrial finding when the discovery of the alleged childhood sexual abuse occurred. The pretrial finding required under this subparagraph shall be made within six months of the filing of the civil action.

(c)(1) As used in this subsection, the term:

(A) “Entity” means an institution, agency, firm, business, corporation, or other public or private legal entity.

(B) “Person” means the individual alleged to have committed the act of childhood sexual abuse.

(2) If a civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse is commenced pursuant to division (b)(2)(A)(i) of this Code section and if the person was a volunteer or employee of an entity that owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, or the person and the plaintiff were engaged in some activity over which such entity had control, damages against such entity shall be awarded under this Code section only if by a preponderance of the evidence there is a finding of negligence on the part of such entity.

(3) If a civil action for recovery of damages suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse is commenced pursuant to division (b)(2)(A)(ii) of this Code section and if the person was a volunteer or employee of an entity that owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, or the person and the plaintiff were engaged in some activity over which such entity had control, damages against such entity shall be awarded under this Code section only if by a preponderance of the evidence there is a finding that there was gross negligence on the part of such entity, that the entity knew or should have known of the alleged conduct giving rise to the civil action and such entity failed to take remedial action.

Case law

CURRENT CRIMINAL SOL

There is currently no SOL in Georgia for many felony child sex abuse crimes, and the SOL is age 31 or 32 for some rape offenses. For the remaining felonies the SOL is 7-years from the offense and for misdemeanors it is 2-years from the offense. 

CRIMINAL SOL SNAPSHOT

OTHER FELNOIES

TRAFFICKING OF VICTIM UNDER AGE 16

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-2.1(b)(1)

CRUELTY TO CHILDREN IN THE 1ST DEGREE OF VICTIM UNDER AGE 16

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-2.1(b)(2)

RAPE OF VICTIM UNDER AGE 16

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-2.1(b)(3)

AGGRAVATED SODOMY OF VICTIM UNDER AGE 16

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-2.1(b)(4)

CHILD MOLESTATION OF VICTIM UNDER AGE 16

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-2.1(b)(5)

ENTICING A CHILD OF VICTIM UNDER AGE 16

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-2.1(b)(6)

INCEST OF VICTIM UNDER AGE 16

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1(b)(7)

FORCIBLE RAPE OF VICTIM AGE 16-17

15 YEARS AFTER OFFENSE Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1(b)

FELONIES

7 YEARS AFTER OFFENSE Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1(b) and (c)

MISDEMEANORS 

2 YEARS AFTER OFFENSE Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1(e)

 

 

 

DNA SNAPSHOT

 

RAPE

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1(d)

AGGRAVATED CHILD MOLESTATION

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1(d)

AGGRAVATED SODOMY

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1(d)

AGGRAVATED SEXUAL BATTERY

NO SOL Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1(d)

 

Changes Since 2002:

As of 2002, the criminal SOL for some felony and misdemeanor sex abuse crimes of children under age 16 was age 23 (age 16, plus 7 years) or when reported to law enforcement, whichever was earlier. The SOL for forcible rape was the earlier of 31 years-old (age 16, plus 15 years) or when reported to law enforcement for victims under age 16, or 32 years-old (age 17, plus 15 years) for victims age 17. Also, there has not been an SOL for certain sex offenses when DNA evidence is used to establish the perpetrator’s identity. The SOL for other felonies was 7 years from the offense and 2 years for misdemeanors. In 2012, the state eliminated the SOL for some felony offenses against children under 16 years-old, including rape, trafficking, molestation, and incest and extended the SOL for forcible rape to 15 years after the offense when there is no DNA evidence.

CURRENT GEORGIA CRIMINAL LAW

Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-1 - Limitation of prosecutions

(a) A prosecution for murder may be commenced at any time.

(b) Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 17-3-2.1, prosecution for other crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment shall be commenced within seven years after the commission of the crime except as provided by subsection (d) of this Code section; provided, however, that prosecution for the crime of forcible rape shall be commenced within 15 years after the commission of the crime.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 17-3-2.1, prosecution for felonies other than those specified in subsections (a), (b), and (d) of this Code section shall be commenced within four years after the commission of the crime, provided that prosecution for felonies committed against victims who are at the time of the commission of the offense under the age of 18 years shall be commenced within seven years after the commission of the crime.

(d) A prosecution for the following offenses may be commenced at any time when deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) evidence is used to establish the identity of the accused:

(1) Armed robbery, as defined in Code Section 16-8-41;

(2) Kidnapping, as defined in Code Section 16-5-40;

(3) Rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-1;

(4) Aggravated child molestation, as defined in Code Section 16-6-4;

(5) Aggravated sodomy, as defined in Code Section 16-6-2; or

(6) Aggravated sexual battery, as defined in Code Section 16-6-22.2;

provided, however, that a sufficient portion of the physical evidence tested for DNA is preserved and available for testing by the accused and provided, further, that if the DNA evidence does not establish the identity of the accused, the limitation on prosecution shall be as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section.

(e) Prosecution for misdemeanors shall be commenced within two years after the commission of the crime.

Ga. Code Ann. § 17-3-2.1 - Periods excluded from limitation of prosecution for certain offenses

(a) For crimes committed during the period beginning on July 1, 1992, and ending on June 30, 2012, if the victim of a violation of:

(1) Cruelty to children, as defined in Code Section 16-5-70;

(2) Rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-1;

(3) Sodomy or aggravated sodomy, as defined in Code Section 16-6-2;

(4) Statutory rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-3;

(5) Child molestation or aggravated child molestation, as defined in Code Section 16-6-4;

(6) Enticing a child for indecent purposes, as defined in Code Section 16-6-5; or

(7) Incest, as defined in Code Section 16-6-22,

is under 16 years of age on the date of the violation, the applicable period within which a prosecution shall be commenced under Code Section 17-3-1 or other applicable statute shall not begin to run until the victim has reached the age of 16 or the violation is reported to a law enforcement agency, prosecuting attorney, or other governmental agency, whichever occurs earlier. Such law enforcement agency or other governmental agency shall promptly report such allegation to the appropriate prosecuting attorney.

(b) For crimes committed on and after July 1, 2012, if the victim of a violation of:

(1) Trafficking a person for sexual servitude, as defined in Code Section 16-5-46;

(2) Cruelty to children in the first degree, as defined in Code Section 16-5-70;

(3) Rape, as defined in Code Section 16-6-1;

(4) Aggravated sodomy, as defined in Code Section 16-6-2;

(5) Child molestation or aggravated child molestation, as defined in Code Section 16-6-4;

(6) Enticing a child for indecent purposes, as defined in Code Section 16-6-5; or

(7) Incest, as defined in Code Section 16-6-22,

is under 16 years of age on the date of the violation and the violation is not subject to punishment as provided in paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Code Section 16-6-4, paragraph (2) of subsection (d) of Code Section 16-6-4, or subsection (c) of Code Section 16-6-5, a prosecution may be commenced at any time.

Case Law

The information provided is solely for informational purposes and is not legal advice. To determine the Georgia SOL in a particular case, contact a lawyer in the state.

Last Updated: April 21, 2021

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