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Iowa removes statute of limitations for child sex abuse, becoming 14th state to do so

Senate File 562 also clarifies that any adult providing training or instruction can be charged with sexual exploitation.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa is now the 14th state to eliminate the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse against a child.

Senate File 562 amends the Iowa Code to criminalize sexual exploitation by an adult providing training or instruction, according to an April 30 fiscal note

The law also provides a clearer definition of when an adult providing training or instruction commits sexual exploitation. When any of the below occurs, sexual exploitation has been committed: 

  • When a person engages in a pattern, practice, or scheme of conduct to engage in any sexual conduct with a minor for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desire of the adult providing training or instruction. 
  • When a person engages in sexual conduct with a minor for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desire of the adult providing training or instruction.

Amendment H-1429, which was included in the bill on April 28, relates to the statute of limitations for certain criminal sex offenses against minors.

"An information or indictment in a criminal case for certain criminal offenses against a minor may be commenced at any time " after the offense occurs, the amendment reads.

The amendment also says "an information or indictment for any sexual abuse in the first, second, or third-degree must be commenced within 10 years after commission, or identification by DNA profile, whichever is later." 

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law Wednesday. The provisions related to the statute of limitations are effective immediately. 

“Today Iowa stands in support of survivors of sexual violence as we become the 14th state to eliminate the statute of limitations for these heinous crimes,” Reynolds said in a statement. “I also want to thank Kimberly Gleason, a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, who tirelessly advocated for this bill. Without her bravery and the willingness of so many other survivors to come forward, we wouldn’t be able to hold more abusers accountable for their crimes.”  

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Gleason issued the following statement: 

“Starting today, the trauma that victims of child sex abuse endure will no longer outlive their ability to pursue criminal charges against their offenders.  I am so honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to work with both our Iowa Senate and Iowa House, Republicans and Democrats alike, to make this happen. Even if a victim does not choose to pursue criminal charges, I pray this will help to restore their power, and may it lead them to find their voice.  The number of professionals I have been blessed to have met in this field is incredible, and exemplifies the power of showing up and being willing to walk alongside someone. You never know what one act of kindness will lead to, or the ripple effects it may have.”