Vermont Statutes Title 12. Court Procedure, § 522. Actions based on childhood sexual abuse

(a) A civil action brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse may be commenced at any time after the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition.  The victim need not establish which act in a series of continuing sexual abuse or exploitation incidents caused the injury.

(b) If a complaint is filed alleging an act of childhood sexual abuse, the complaint shall immediately be sealed by the clerk of the court.  The complaint shall remain sealed until the answer is served or, if the defendant files a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b) of the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure , until the court rules on that motion.  If the complaint is dismissed, the complaint and any related papers or pleadings shall remain sealed.  Any hearing held in connection with the motion to dismiss shall be in camera.

(c) As used in this section, “childhood sexual abuse” means any act committed by the defendant against a complainant who was less than 18 years of age at the time of the act and which act would have constituted a violation of a statute prohibiting lewd and lascivious conduct, lewd or lascivious conduct with a child, felony sexual exploitation of a minor in violation of 13 V.S.A. § 3258(c) , sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault in effect at the time the act was committed.

(d) Notwithstanding 1 V.S.A. § 214 , this section shall apply retroactively to childhood sexual abuse that occurred prior to the July 1, 2019, irrespective of any statute of limitations in effect at the time the abuse occurred.  In an action based on childhood sexual abuse that would have been barred by any statute of limitations in effect on June 30, 2019, damages may be awarded against an entity that employed, supervised, or had responsibility for the person allegedly committing the sexual abuse only if there is a finding of gross negligence on the part of the entity.


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