Childhood sex abuse survivors rail against Utah Supreme Court for overturning recent law

Jun 22, 2020, 7:47 PM
Childhood sex abuse survivors rail against Utah Supreme Court for overturning recent law...
(Sex abuse survivors speaking at the Utah State Capitol complex. Credit: Paul Nelson)
(Sex abuse survivors speaking at the Utah State Capitol complex. Credit: Paul Nelson)

UTAH STATE CAPITOL – Childhood sex abuse survivors are calling out the Utah Supreme Court for overturning a law that makes it easier for victims to sue their attackers.  They believe the ruling will prevent more victims from coming forward. 

In 2016, Utah lawmakers made major changes in how childhood abuse victims could sue the people who preyed upon them.  Lawmakers say, previously, victims only had four years after their 18th birthday to bring a civil complaint against their abuser.  The 2016 law made it possible for victims to have a window of 35 years to file a complaint.  However, the court tossed out that law.

Terry Mitchell sued a federal judge, Richard Roberts, claiming he raped her in 1981 when she was the star witness in a double homicide.  Roberts’ attorneys argued the allegation was too old.  Mitchell’s suit was unsuccessful but says she refuses to stay silent.

“My hope was that by coming forward I would help other victims to feel safe to come forward, but, clearly, it isn’t safe,” she says.

Other sex abuse survivors say they’ve been dealing with the trauma from their abuse their entire lives.  Laura vonGermecen says she feels she was silenced when she was a child, and now that she better understands what happened, she feels silenced again.

“We should be allowing adults to go through their healing processes and seek justice,” she says.

She says she has never really been able to maintain a healthy relationship with anyone, adding that she doesn’t feel worthy of anyone’s love.  Other survivors like Alissa Page are going through similar problems.  She says she turned to alcohol and promiscuity to deal with the pain she was feeling.  However, at the age of 38, something else triggered her trauma.

Page says, “I don’t know what happened, but, I was unable to have any intimate relationships for almost two years, now.  I’m unable to date.  I’m unable to shower comfortably or change comfortably.”

Advocates say four years after someone’s 18th birthday isn’t nearly enough time for a victim to feel confident enough to come forward and face their attacker.  Representative Angela Romero says most victims are preyed upon by someone they know and trust.

“Because of that, it’s a lot harder to share what happened to them,” Romero says.

Romero says she’s looking for a way to restore the 2016 law to what it once was.  That may mean a voter referendum or a new constitutional amendment.


Related articles:

Pope abolishes ‘pontifical secret’ in clergy sex abuse cases

State officials believe child abuse is on the rise despite falling numbers, hope awareness campaign can change that

Today’s Top Stories


An 18-year-old man has turned himself into police in connection with a shooting in Orem at the Axis...
Allie Litzinger and Samantha Herrera

18-year-old connected to Orem shooting turns himself in

The man is accused of attempted murder after a shooting in Orem in November. He turned himself in with the help of his lawyer.
1 day ago
A former American Fork soccer coach is under arrest and facing six felony counts of child sexual ab...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Former American Fork soccer coach arrested on charges of child sexual abuse

The suspect arrested on charges of child sexual abuse was reportedly a soccer coach for the UC Strikers and Utah FC junior teams, between 2000 and 2014, according to American Fork Police.
2 days ago
Eli Mitchell, victim of fatal hit and run...
Mark Jones

Utah County man pleads guilty to death of West Jordan teenager

A Saratoga Springs man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Third District Court of automobile homicide in connection to the death of a 13-year-old West Jordan teenager last April.
3 days ago
FILE: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes appears on a video screen above members of the Select Com...

Oath Keepers boss guilty of seditious conspiracy in 1/6 case

A Washington, D.C., jury found Rhodes guilty of sedition after three days of deliberations in the the nearly two-month-long trial
3 days ago
homeless shelters and Homelessness in Utah...
Alejandro Lucero

Utah official says better coordination could help with homelessness

Homelessness continues to grow in big cities across the U.S., and Salt Lake City is not an enigma. Could focusing on mental health help curb the trend?
3 days ago
Hand-written messages cover the heart attached to the cross to honor a victim of the mass shooting ...

Colorado gay club shooting suspect held without bail

The alleged shooter facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub was ordered held without bail in an initial court appearance Wednesday.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Childhood sex abuse survivors rail against Utah Supreme Court for overturning recent law