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State Senator

Mae Flexer

Representing Brooklyn, Canterbury, Killingly, Mansfield, Putnam, Scotland, Thompson & Windham

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Senator Flexer Leads Passage Of Democrats “Time’s Up” Sexual Harassment Bill

HARTFORD, CT – Today, Senator Mae Flexer (D-Danielson) led the passage of Senate Bill 3, “An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment.” Also referred to as the “Time’s Up” bill, this legislation would increase certain sexual harassment penalties, extend the time limits people have to file lawsuits for sexual assault, allow more time for criminal prosecution of sexual assault, and require more employer-sponsored sexual harassment training. The legislation passed unanimously by a 35-0 vote.

“I’m thrilled that the Senate passed this critical legislation,” said Senator Mae Flexer. “For far too long, Connecticut has had antiquated laws surrounding sexual assault and workplace harassment. Today, we took a concrete step to change those outdated laws as well as the status quo around what is considered acceptable behavior. In the era of ‘Time’s Up’ and ‘Me Too,’ society’s view on the issue of sexual assault and harassment is finally changing. Passing this bill sends a message to victims that we believe you and we hear you, and I’m hopeful that the House will do the same.”

Statutes of Limitations for Criminal Cases of Sexual Assault

Compared to other states and the District of Columbia, Connecticut’s statute of limitations for rape of an adult -- five years -- is one of the shortest in the country. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have no statute of limitations for rape or a limit longer than Connecticut’s.

Senate Bill 3 would extend our existing statute of limitations for sexual assault crimes from five years to 20 years for Class B, C, and D felony sexual assault (e.g., forced rape, rape by drugs, forced sexual contact). For a non-felony (e.g. unwanted sexual contact, and other class A misdemeanors), the statute of limitations would extend from one year to 10 years. In each of these cases, if the victim is 18, 19, or 20, the statute of limitations is 30 years following the victim’s 21st birthday, effectively the victim’s 51st birthday.

Under current law, the most serious sexual assault crimes committed against minors are class A felonies and there is no statute of limitations for these crimes. But, for all other felonies and misdemeanor sexual assault committed against a minor, the current statute of limitations is 5 years from when the crime is reported, but no later than the victim’s 48th birthday. This bill would eliminate the statute of limitations for all sexual assault crimes committed against a minor.

Statutes of Limitations for Civil Cases of Sexual Assault

In addition, Senate Bill 3 makes changes to the statute of limitations for civil cases of sexual assault. Currently the statute of limitations for a victim under 18 is the victim’s 48th birthday. Under the bill, the statute of limitations for a victim under 21 is the victim’s 51st birthday. This is a significant change for those victims aged 18, 19, and 20 who currently must bring claims within the default statute of limitations for torts, which is 3 years.

Workplace Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

Currently, employers with only 50 or more employees are required to provide at least two hours of training on sexual harassment to supervisory employees within six months of their employment. Senate Bill 3 requires employers with three or more employees to provide training to all employees, not just supervisors. The bill requires the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to make training materials available online. Employers may then use these resources to comply with the training requirement.

The bill now awaits a vote by the House of Representatives.

 

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