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Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

Representing New Haven, Hamden & North Haven

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Senate Leaders Applaud House Passage of the Democratic “Time’s Up” Sexual Harassment Bill

CT will increase penalties and statute of limitations for sexual assault

HARTFORD, CT (June 1, 2019) - Today, leaders in the Connecticut State Senate applauded passage of the Democratic “Time’s Up” sexual harassment bill in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 3, “An Act Combatting Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment,” also referred to as the “Time’s Up” bill, will 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.

“Our country is in the midst of a long overdue reckoning regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “With the passage of The Time’s Up Act in the House, Connecticut will overhaul our laws and provide necessary protections for our residents. I want to thank the House Democratic leadership for making this bill a priority and ensuring its passage today.”

“The clock has run out on inappropriate behavior and harassment in the workplace here in Connecticut,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “The Time’s Up Act will finally modernize our state’s laws on sexual assault and harassment. I want to thank House Judiciary Chairman Steve Stafstrom, Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, and Majority Leader Matt Ritter for getting this important measure passed in the House."

“I appreciate the leadership of Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, Majority Leader Matt Ritter, and Representative Steve Stafstrom for getting the Time’s Up Act passed through the House of Representatives today,” said Senator Mae Flexer, the lead proponent of the bill. “Connecticut will no longer lag behind other states around the country in protecting victims of sexual assault. Our state will now be the national leader in preventing and addressing workplace harassment. This bill has been a long time coming and finally we can say to victims in our state that we see you, we believe you, and you matter.”

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.

 

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