SOUTH DAKOTA

CHILD SEX ABUSE SOLs

CURRENT CIVIL SOL

In South Dakota, the civil SOL for child sex abuse claims is capped at age 21 (age of majority, 18, plus 3 years). There is also a 3-year discovery rule that allows victims to file a claim once they’ve discovered an injury caused by the abuse. The discovery rule has an upper limit of age 40 for claims against non-perpetrators only. 

CIVIL SOL SNAPSHOT

AGE CAP

AGE 21

DISCOVERY TOLLING

3 YEARS AGAINST PERPETRATOR

3 YEARS UP TO AGE 40 AGAINST OTHER DEFENDANTS

REVIVAL LAW

NONE

Changes Since 2002:

Age Cap:  Since 1991, the civil SOL in South Dakota has been age 21 (age of majority, 18, plus 3 years). 

Discovery:  South Dakota has not recognized a common law discovery rule. Since 1991, South Dakota has had a narrow statutory discovery rule of 3-years after the victim discovers the connection between injury and abuse. The discovery statute revives expired claims against individual perpetrators, but does not revive claims against others. In 2010, the state put an upper limit on the discovery rule of age 40 for claims against all but the perpetrators, which immunized institutions. There is also disagreement among courts about whether the discovery rule applies to both perpetrators and institutional defendants.

Revival Law:  South Dakota has not passed a window or other SOL revival legislation since 2002.

CURRENT SOUTH DAKOTA CIVIL LAW

S.D. Codified Laws § 26-10-25 - Time for commencing civil action for damages resulting from childhood sexual abuse

Any civil action based on intentional conduct brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within three years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or three years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act, whichever period expires later. However, no person who has reached the age of forty years may recover damages from any person or entity other than the person who perpetrated the actual act of sexual abuse.

Case law

One Star v. Sisters of St. Francis, 2008 SD 55, P13, 752 N.W.2d 668, 675 (S.D. 2008): “SDCL 26-10-25, however, may delay the accrual until a plaintiff reasonably should have discovered the causal connection between the alleged abuse and the plaintiff’s injury. Therefore, we agree with One Star and Sorace that, under this statute, discovery of the injuries alone is not sufficient to start the running of the statute. Rather, there must also be discovery of some tie linking the acts of abuse to an injury; i.e., ‘that the injury or condition was caused by the act.’ SDCL 26-10-25.”

CURRENT CRIMINAL SOL

In South Dakota, there is no criminal SOL for Class A, Class B, and Class C felonies. For all other child sex abuse crimes and misdemeanors, the criminal SOL is capped at age 25 (age of majority, 18, plus seven years).

CRIMINAL SOL SNAPSHOT

OTHER FELNOIES

CLASS A FELONIES

NO SOL S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-42-1

CLASS B FELONIES

NO SOL S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-42-1

CLASS C FELONIES

NO SOL S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-42-1

OTHER FELONIES

AGE 25 S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-42-2

MISDEMEANORS

AGE 25 S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-42-2

DNA SNAPSHOT

 

NO DNA STATUTE

   

Changes Since 2002:

South Dakota eliminated the criminal SOL for Class A, B, and C felonies in 1978, over 40 years ago.  All other crimes and misdemeanors are subject to an SOL of age 25 (age of majority, 18, plus 7 years).

CURRENT SOUTH DAKOTA CRIMINAL LAW

S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-42-1 - No limitation on prosecution for Class A, Class B, or Class C felonies

There is no limitation on the time within which a prosecution for Class A, Class B, or Class C felony must be commenced.

S.D. Codified Laws § 23A-42-2 - Seven-year limitation on other prosecutions

In all other prosecutions for a public offense and all proceedings of a quasi-criminal or penal nature, including the forfeiture of existing rights, the proceedings shall be commenced within seven years after the commission of the offense or crime which is the basis of the prosecution or proceedings, except as provided in § 23A-42-3.

Case Law

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

Last Updated: April 21, 2021

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