ILLINOIS

CHILD SEX ABUSE SOLs

CURRENT CIVIL SOL

There is currently no civil SOL in Illinois for child sex abuse civil claims against any defendants. 

CIVIL SOL SNAPSHOT

AGE CAP

NONE

DISCOVERY TOLLING

NONE

REVIVAL LAW

NONE

 

Changes Since 2002:

Age Cap: In 2002, the civil SOL was age 20 in Illinois.  In 2003, the state changed it by adding 8 years so that the SOL was age 28.  In 2010, it added another ten years, bringing the civil SOL to age 38 (age of majority, 18, plus 20 years).  Finally, in 2014, it eliminated the civil SOL completely. 

Discovery: Illinois has a common law discovery rule and in 1998 recognized it could toll the 2-year SOL for a victim of child sex abuse who repressed memories of his abuse and later remembered them. In 1991, the Illinois legislature codified the 2-year common law discovery rule with a statute, but added an upper limit of age 30. The statute provides that the SOL runs from “the date the person abused discovers or through the use of reasonable diligence should discover that the act of childhood sexual abuse occurred and that the injury was caused by the childhood sexual abuse.” In 1994, the discovery statute’s upper limit was removed, and the only discovery claims that were blocked were those by survivors who turned 30 before 1994. In 2003, the state extended the statutory discovery rule to 5 years, and again in 2010 to 20 years. It also added that discovery of the abuse alone does not start the discovery SOL from running. The discovery rule is applicable to claims against any type of defendant – including individuals, institutions and the government. In 2014 when Illinois eliminated its civil SOL, it also did away with its statutory discovery rule.

Revival Law: Illinois has not passed a window; previous SOL revival legislation was found unconstitutional.

CURRENT ILLINOIS CIVIL LAW

735 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/13-202.2 - Childhood sexual abuse

(a) In this Section:

“Childhood sexual abuse” means an act of sexual abuse that occurs when the person abused is under 18 years of age.

“Sexual abuse” includes but is not limited to sexual conduct and sexual penetration as defined in Section 11-0.1 of the Criminal Code of 2012.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an action for damages for personal injury based on childhood sexual abuse must be commenced within 20 years of the date the limitation period begins to run under subsection (d) or within 20 years of the date the person abused discovers or through the use of reasonable diligence should discover both (i) that the act of childhood sexual abuse occurred and (ii) that the injury was caused by the childhood sexual abuse. The fact that the person abused discovers or through the use of reasonable diligence should discover that the act of childhood sexual abuse occurred is not, by itself, sufficient to start the discovery period under this subsection (b). Knowledge of the abuse does not constitute discovery of the injury or the causal relationship between any later-discovered injury and the abuse.

(c) If the injury is caused by 2 or more acts of childhood sexual abuse that are part of a continuing series of acts of childhood sexual abuse by the same abuser, then the discovery period under subsection (b) shall be computed from the date the person abused discovers or through the use of reasonable diligence should discover both (i) that the last act of childhood sexual abuse in the continuing series occurred and (ii) that the injury was caused by any act of childhood sexual abuse in the continuing series. The fact that the person abused discovers or through the use of reasonable diligence should discover that the last act of childhood sexual abuse in the continuing series occurred is not, by itself, sufficient to start the discovery period under subsection (b). Knowledge of the abuse does not constitute discovery of the injury or the causal relationship between any later-discovered injury and the abuse.

(d) The limitation periods under subsection (b) do not begin to run before the person abused attains the age of 18 years; and, if at the time the person abused attains the age of 18 years he or she is under other legal disability, the limitation periods under subsection (b) do not begin to run until the removal of the disability.

(d-1) The limitation periods in subsection (b) do not run during a time period when the person abused is subject to threats, intimidation, manipulation, fraudulent concealment, or fraud perpetrated by the abuser or by any person acting in the interest of the abuser.

(e) This Section applies to actions pending on the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1990 as well as to actions commenced on or after that date. The changes made by this amendatory Act of 1993 shall apply only to actions commenced on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of 1993. The changes made by this amendatory Act of the 93rd General Assembly apply to actions pending on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 93rd General Assembly as well as actions commenced on or after that date. The changes made by this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly apply to actions commenced on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly if the action would not have been time barred under any statute of limitations or statute of repose prior to the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 96th General Assembly.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an action for damages based on childhood sexual abuse may be commenced at any time; provided, however, that the changes made by this amendatory Act of the 98th General Assembly apply to actions commenced on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 98th General Assembly if the action would not have been time barred under any statute of limitations or statute of repose prior to the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 98th General Assembly.

Case law

CURRENT CRIMINAL SOL

There is currently no criminal SOL in Illinois for felony and misdemeanor sex offenses committed against children.

CRIMINAL SOL SNAPSHOT

OTHER FELNOIES

FELONY SEX OFFENSES AGAINST CHILDREN

NO SOL 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(a)

MISDEMEANOR SEX OFFENSES AGAINST CHILDREN

NO SOL 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5(a)

 

DNA SNAPSHOT

 

ANY OFFENSE INVOLVING SEXUAL CONDUCT OR SEXUAL PENETRATION (WHEN REPORTED WITHIN 3 YEARS AFTER CRIME)

NO SOL 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/3-5(a)

CONCEALMENT OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OR AGGRAVATED CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

NO SOL 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. Ann. 5/3-5(a)

 

Changes Since 2002:

By 2002, the criminal SOL was age 28 with an exception that felony and misdemeanor sexual offenses can be prosecuted at any time if there is DNA evidence and it was reported to law enforcement within 2 years. In 2003, the state increased the SOL to age 38 for child sex abuse felonies. In 2008, it extended the time for reporting to 3 years for the DNA statute. In 2009, it eliminated the SOL for child pornography and added an SOL of age 28 for child sex abuse misdemeanor crimes. In 2014, it eliminated the criminal SOL for felony sex offenses against children, but only if there was corroborating evidence or an individual with responsibility to report the abuse failed to do so. In 2017, following the Dennis Hastert sex abuse scandal, Illinois eliminated the evidentiary limitations. It also increased the SOL for sex trafficking to age 43, but the SOL for soliciting a child for sex remains at age 19 or 3 years from the offense, whichever is later. In 2019, the SOL was eliminated for many sex abuse crimes that involve sexual conduct or sexual penetration, including misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse.

CURRENT ILLINOIS CRIMINAL LAW

720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/3-5 - General limitations

(a) A prosecution for: (1) first degree murder, attempt to commit first degree murder, second degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, a violation of subparagraph (F) of paragraph (1) of subsection (d) of Section 11-501 of the Illinois Vehicle Code for the offense of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, other drug or drugs, or intoxicating compound or compounds, or any combination thereof when the violation was a proximate cause of a death, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving death or personal injuries under Section 11-401 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, failing to give information and render aid under Section 11-403 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, concealment of homicidal death, treason, arson, residential arson, aggravated arson, forgery, child pornography under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Section 11-20.1, or aggravated child pornography under paragraph (1) of subsection (a) of Section 11-20.1B, or (2) any offense involving sexual conduct or sexual penetration, as defined by Section 11-0.1 of this Code in which the DNA profile of the offender is obtained and entered into a DNA database within 10 years after the commission of the offense, may be commenced at any time. Clause (2) of this subsection (a) applies if either: (i) the victim reported the offense to law enforcement authorities within 3 years after the commission of the offense unless a longer period for reporting the offense to law enforcement authorities is provided in Section 3-6 or (ii) the victim is murdered during the course of the offense or within 2 years after the commission of the offense.

(a-5) A prosecution for theft of property exceeding $100,000 in value under Section 16-1, identity theft under subsection (a) of Section 16-30, aggravated identity theft under subsection (b) of Section 16-30, financial exploitation of an elderly person or a person with a disability under Section 17-56; or any offense set forth in Article 16H or Section 17-10.6 may be commenced within 7 years of the last act committed in furtherance of the crime.

(b) Unless the statute describing the offense provides otherwise, or the period of limitation is extended by Section 3-6, a prosecution for any offense not designated in subsection (a) or (a-5) must be commenced within 3 years after the commission of the offense if it is a felony, or within one year and 6 months after its commission if it is a misdemeanor.

Case Law

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

Last Updated: April 21, 2021

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