Oklahoma statute of limitations keeps justice system from prosecuting certain child sex abuse cases

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa County prosecutors say they’ve had some cases they couldn’t prosecute because of the way the statute of limitations was written into a law regarding child sex abuse victims.

Oklahoma legislators decided in 2017 the original statute of limitations wasn’t long enough and changed both the criminal and civil statutes to say a child victim could report an assault up until they were 45 years old.

The law used to give children who were abused 12 years from when the assault happened, or from when they turned 18, to come forward to police.

The change also made the law retroactive for civil cases but not criminal cases.

That means only children abused after that law took effect Nov. 1, 2017, have until they’re 45 years old to report and see their abuser prosecuted criminally.

The district attorney’s office said that recently, a man walked into the Tulsa Police Department and announced he wanted to clear his conscience. They said he confessed to sexually abusing children for decades, but because the 2017 law isn’t retroactive for all cases, police and prosecutors can’t do anything about it.

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