LOUISIANA

CHILD SEX ABUSE SOLs

CURRENT CIVIL SOL

Louisiana has no civil SOL for child sex abuse claims against all defendants. A 3-year revival window will open on August 1, 2021 for all previously expired claims against any type of defendant.

CIVIL SOL SNAPSHOT

AGE CAP

NONE

DISCOVERY TOLLING

YES, NO TIME LIMIT

REVIVAL LAW

3-YEAR WINDOW

Changes Since 2002:

Age Cap: In 1993, Louisiana’s civil SOL was capped at age 28 (age of majority, 18, plus 10 years).  The SOL in Louisiana was 1 year until 1988 when it was extended to 3 years in actions against parents or caretakers. In 1993 the SOL for child sex abuse claims against all types of defendants was extended to 10 years. In 2021, Louisiana eliminated its civil SOL. 

Discovery:  In 1995, Louisiana recognized a common law discovery rule which tolls the SOL for child sex abuse claims. The discovery rule provides that the SOL “commences to run not necessarily on the date the injury occurs or the damage is sustained, but from the date the affected individual knows or should have known of the injury or damage sustained.” The applicable discovery rule tolling for a specific case will be the length of the SOL that was in effect at the time of abuse.  Louisiana’s common law discovery rule is applicable to claims against all types of defendants, including institutions.

Revival Law:  In 2021, Louisiana opened a 3-year revival window for previously expired child sex abuse claims against perpetrators, other individuals, private organizations and the government. The window opens on August 1, 2021 and closes on July 31, 2024. For a guide to help survivors understand their rights during the legal process of filing a civil lawsuit under Louisiana’s revival window, click the survivor tool kit below. 

CURRENT LOUISIANA CIVIL LAW

LA. STAT. ANN. § 9:2800.9 - Action against a person for abuse of a minor

UPDATED LAW COMING SOON

A. An action against a person for sexual abuse of a minor, or for physical abuse of a minor resulting in permanent impairment or permanent physical injury or scarring, is subject to a liberative prescriptive period of ten years. This prescription commences to run from the day the minor attains majority, and this prescription shall be suspended for all purposes until the minor reaches the age of majority. Abuse has the same meaning as provided in Louisiana Children’s Code Article 603. This prescriptive period shall be subject to any exception of peremption provided by law.

B. Every plaintiff twenty-one years of age or older at the time the action is filed shall file certificates of merit executed by the attorney for the plaintiff and by a licensed mental health practitioner selected by the plaintiff declaring, respectively, as follows:

(1) That the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case, that the attorney has consulted with at least one licensed mental health practitioner who is licensed to practice and practices in this state and whom the attorney reasonably believes is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the particular action, and that the attorney has concluded on the basis of that review and consultation that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the petition. The person consulted may not be a party to the litigation.

(2) That the mental health practitioner consulted is licensed to practice and practices in this state and is not a party to the action, has interviewed the plaintiff and is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the particular action, and has concluded, on the basis of his knowledge of the facts and issues, that in his professional opinion there is a reasonable basis to believe that the plaintiff has been subject to criminal sexual activity or physical abuse during his childhood as defined in this Section.

(3) That the attorney was unable to obtain the consultation required by Paragraph (1) because a statute of limitations would impair the action and that the certificates required by Paragraphs (1) and (2) could not be obtained before the impairment of the action. If a certificate is executed pursuant to this Paragraph, the certificates required by Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be filed within sixty days after filing the petition.

C. Where certificates are required pursuant to Subsection B of this Section, separate certificates shall be filed for each defendant named in the complaint.

D. A petition filed pursuant to Subsection B of this Section may not name the defendant or defendants until the court has reviewed the certificates of merit filed and has determined, in camera, based solely on those certificates of merit, that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for filing of the action. At that time, the petition may be amended to name the defendant or defendants. The duty to give notice to the defendant or defendants shall not attach until that time.

E. A violation of Subsection B of this Section may constitute unprofessional conduct and may be the grounds for discipline against the attorney.

Case law
Doe v. Roman Catholic Church, 656 So.2d 5, 7 (La. Ct. App. 1995). See also Chenevert v. Redemptorists/Denver Province, CIV.A. 09-473-JJB, 2010 WL 1609971, at *4 (M.D. La. Apr. 20, 2010).

CURRENT CRIMINAL SOL

There is currently no criminal SOL in Louisiana for aggravated and forcible rape, an SOL of age 48 for other felonies, and an SOL of 2 years from commission for certain misdemeanors with a limited DNA rule. 

CRIMINAL SOL SNAPSHOT

OTHER FELNOIES

AGGRAVATED RAPE (1ST DEGREE)

NO SOL La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571

FORCIBLE RAPE (2ND DEGREE)

NO SOL La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571

ATTEMPTED 1ST OR 2ND DEGREE RAPE

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

SEXUAL BATTERY

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

ORAL SEXUAL BATTERY

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

FELONY CARNAL KNOWLEDGE OF A JUVENILE

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH JUVENILES

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

PORNOGRAPHY INVOLVING JUVENILES

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

MOLESTATION OF A JUVENILE

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

CHILD PROSTITUTION

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

ENTICING PERSONS INTO PROSTITUTION

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

CRIMES AGAINST NATURE

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

MISDEMEANORS

2 YEARS FROM OFFENSE La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 572

DNA SNAPSHOT

 

FELONIES

3 Years La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 572

MISDEMEANORS

3 years La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 572

Changes Since 2002:

In 2002, Louisiana had no SOL for crimes punishable by death or life imprisonment, which included aggravated rape (first degree rape), and forcible rape (second degree rape). For most felony sex offenses against minors under age 17, though, the SOL was age 28 (age of majority, 18, plus 10 years). For any remaining felonies, including sex offenses committed against 17 year-olds, the SOL was either 4 years from the offense or 6 years from the offense if the crime was punishable by hard labor. Misdemeanors have an SOL of 2 years from the offense where the crime is punishable by imprisonment and six months if punishable by only a fine. In 2003, Louisiana added a DNA evidence rule, allowing felony and misdemeanor sex offenses to be prosecuted 3 years after the offender is identified by DNA. In 2005, it expanded the SOL for most felony sex offenses against minors under age 17 from age 28 to age 48 (age of majority, 18, plus 30 years). It added felony trafficking, prostitution of, and pornography of minors under age 17 to its age 48 SOL in 2012.

CURRENT LOUISIANA CRIMINAL LAW

La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571 - Crimes for which there is no time limitation

There is no time limitation upon the institution of prosecution for any crime for which the punishment may be death or life imprisonment or for the crime of forcible or second degree rape (R.S. 14:42.1).

La. Code. Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 571.1 - Time limitation for certain sex offenses

Except as provided by Article 572 of this Chapter, the time within which to institute prosecution of the following sex offenses, regardless of whether the crime involves force, serious physical injury, death, or is punishable by imprisonment at hard labor shall be thirty years: sexual battery (R.S. § 14:43.1), second degree sexual battery (R.S. § 14:43.2), oral sexual battery (R.S. § 14:43.3), human trafficking (R.S. § 14:46.2(B)(2) or (3)), trafficking of children for sexual purposes (R.S. § 14:46.3), felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile (R.S. § 14:80), indecent behavior with juveniles (R.S. § 14:81), pornography involving juveniles (R.S. § 14:81.1), molestation of a juvenile (R.S. § 14:81.2), prostitution of persons under eighteen (R.S. § 14:82.1), enticing persons into prostitution (R.S. § 14:86), crime against nature (R.S. § 14:89), aggravated crime against nature (R.S. § 14:89.1), crime against nature by solicitation (R.S. § 14:89.2(B)(3)), incest (R.S. § 14:78), or aggravated incest (R.S. § 14:78.1) which involves a victim under seventeen (17) years of age. This thirty-year period begins to run when the victim attains the age of eighteen.

La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 572 - Limitation of prosecution of non-capital offenses
  1. Except as provided in Articles 571 and 571.1, no person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for an offense not punishable by death or life imprisonment, unless the prosecution is instituted within the following periods of time after the offense has been committed:

(1) Six years, for a felony necessarily punishable by imprisonment at hard labor.

(2) Four years, for a felony not necessarily punishable by imprisonment at hard labor.

(3) Two years, for a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, or imprisonment, or both.

(4) Six months, for a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine or forfeiture.

  1. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 571.1 and Paragraph A of this Article, prosecutions for any sex offense may be commenced beyond the time limitations set forth in this Title if the identity of the offender is established after the expiration of such time limitation through the use of a DNA profile.

(2) A prosecution under the exception provided by this Paragraph shall be commenced within three years from the date on which the identity of the suspect is established by DNA testing.

(3) For purposes of this Article, “DNA” means deoxyribonucleic acid, which is located in cells and provides an individual’s personal genetic blue print and which encodes genetic information that is the basis of human heredity and forensic identification.

(4) This Paragraph shall have retroactive application to crimes committed prior to June 20, 2003.

  1. Upon expiration of the time period in which a prosecution may be instituted, any bail bond applicable to that prosecution which bond has not been forfeited shall also expire, and all obligations of that bail undertaking shall be extinguished as a matter of law.
Case Law

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

Last Updated: April 21, 2021

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