Sex Abuse and Repressed Memories

The Ohio Supreme Court recently made still another pronoucement that Ohio Courts will not invade the intent of the Ohio General Assembly when it passess legislation. The Ohio Supreme Court has made it clear in a number of its decisions in the last 5 years that it will strictly enforce statutes enacted by the Ohio Generally Asembly - and refuse to apply any interpretation not specfically set forth in those statutes - what some folks call "activists judges." Effective Aug. 3, 2006, the General Assembly enacted R.C. 2305.111(C), which created a 12-year statute of limitation for persons who had been molested while they were under the age of 18. Essentially, once a person reached the age of 18, they had to remember any repressed memories of being molested, and then sue the legally liable person(s), before they reached the age of 30 (i.e. 18 years plus the 12 years). In Pratte v. Stewart, the Ohio Supreme Court made it clear that even a person who legitimately had repressed memories beyond their 30th birthday could not sue their attacker because that person had not rembered and sued before their 30th birthday. The Court said that since the new statute did not provide for any exceptions, they would not create one. Although this case invovled the statute of limintations on child molestation cases, it appears for the time being that the Ohio Supreme Court has taken a very strict "separation-of-powers" position - saying that if the Ohio General Assembly has not enacted a specific law, then that law essentially does not exist. This judicial philosphy is something we will be monitorings in the future.