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Ohio Childhood Sex Abuse Statute Applies to State and Private Persons

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled on the applicability of R.C. 2305.111(C), which was adopted in 2006 and set “a firm accrual date as the date on which the victim attains the age of majority for claims based on childhood sexual abuse.” The court held the statute’s 12-year limitations period applies to claims against both public and private tortfeasors.

Uranus Watkins, who was born August 1, 1986, alleged that two state employees sexually abused her while at the Scioto Juvenile Correctional Facility between April 2, 2000 and April 2, 2001. The Ohio Court of Claims dismissed the claims against the two employees because only state agencies may be sued in that court. It further held the claim against the state was barred by the two year limitation in R.C. 2743.02 (E). The appellate court affirmed, and the Ohio Supreme Court allowed a discretionary appeal.

That court recognized the General Assembly increased the limitation period for claims of childhood sexual abuse from one to 12 years upon enacting R.C. 2305. 111 (c). That statute further provides it applies to “any claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse as statutorily defined,” the court wrote, “without exception and without regard to whether the tortfeasor was a private or state action”

R.C. 2305.111(c) was found to be a more recent and more specific enactment than R.C. 2743.16 (A), which applies broadly to “civil actions against the state.” As R.C. 2305.111(c) is a more recent, specific statute, it controls over the conflict between the two statutes.

The Appellate Court’s decision was reversed and the matter remanded to the trial court. See: Watkins v. Department of Youth Services, 143 Ohio St. 3d 477, 39 N.E.3d 1207 (Ohio 2015).

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Related legal case

Watkins v. Department of Youth Services