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End to statute of limitations for child sex offender cases advances

by Dara Kam | April 19th, 2010

An effort to do away with the statute of limitations on child sex molestation cases for crimes against children between the ages of 12 and 16 is headed to the Senate floor after some tense negotiations this morning.

The Catholic Church and criminal defense lawyers oppose the measure and tried at the last minute to extend the time limits, now three years after the child reaches age 21.

Michael Dolce, a Royal Palm Beach lawyer who was sexually abused by a neighbor in his home state of Maryland when he was seven years old, has tried for six years to get the measure passed.

This year Dolce has powerful lobbyist Ron Book on his side. Book’s daughter Lauren was sexually molested by her nanny. Lauren Book-Lim is walking across the state to raise awareness and support for the issue and is expected to reach the Capitol tomorrow.

Sen. Alex Villalobos, a former prosecutor and Catholic, asked a series of questions showing his opposition to the measure because of the difficulty those accused of the crimes would have defending themselves after decades pass.

Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Committee Chairman Victor Crist recessed the committee to allow both sides to negotiate on setting a number of years instead of doing away with the time limits completely, sensing bill (SB 870) sponsor Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, may not have had the votes to pass it.

A heated discussion took place in the anteroom outside the committee.

“I don’t want a number. We’re past the time for numbers,” an irate Book told the bill’s opponents, saying he reached out to them two weeks ago but has had no response. “Two weeks have now passed. Nobody’s called me. No smoke signals. No carrier pigeons. No e-mails. Nothing.”

Dolce gave a hurried testimony as the clock ticked down on the meeting’s end.

“I simply ask for your support today. No child should have to walk in these shoes,” he concluded.

With less than two minutes left before the meeting’s end, the committee passed the bill 3-1, with Villalobos, R-Miami, voting against it.

The House version is also ready to be voted on by the full chamber.

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20 Responses to “End to statute of limitations for child sex offender cases advances”

  1. Bravo Michael Dolce Says:

    Thank goodness for the clear heads who realized the need for this legislation to pass. Shame on Sen. Villalobos! How many more children need to become victims of repeat offenders who aren’t held responsible for their crimes. This bill will help prevent that. We also need a one strike law, and hopefully that will be next. Congratulation to Michael Dolce for having the courage to fight for this bill. If those accused have difficulty defending themselves, perhaps that in itself will act as a deterrent. But it’s time to care more about the victims than we do about the perpetrators.

  2. Susan Says:

    There should be no statute of limitations on any crime committed against a child or the elderly-the most defenseless people in our society. Thank you Mr. Dolce for your perservearence.

  3. Mike M Says:

    While something more certainly needs to be done about the problem with pedophiles, I don’t know that this is the right answer. Studies have proven that memory of a traumatic event changes over time. How accurate is the victim’s memory going to be 40 years after the fact? It seems that this would possibly lead to false accusations and false convictions. Also, if someone doesn’t come forward by the time that they are 24 years old, then I don’t know that there should be a prosecution since the law shouldn’t reward people for sitting on their rights. If the legislature wants to do something about this problem, then deal with the punishment and rehabilitation side of the equation. Castration should not be off the table.

  4. Susan Says:

    Mike: Castration is the ONLY “rehabilitation” for these people. No mercy, no therapy, permanent jail time.

  5. fedup Says:

    What a really bad headline. A triple negative at least.

  6. Just Facts Says:

    Recently local news channels released media reports of the abuse of five boys between the ages of 12 and 16 years old at the Green Isle Childrens (Boys) Ranch in Clermont, Lake County, Florida. Stories said the boys had been raped by an older fellow student at the ranch. Insiders say the Lake County Sheriff Borders has been on the board of directors of this facility over 20 plus years. Over the years this this facility has had dozens of child abuse and sexual abuse allegations brought forward only to be covered up. Everyone says no one has ever been prosecuted from this facility. News media outlets say they have been ordered by superiors not to follow up on these stories. For all of you who care about the millions of sexually abused children, there are untold numbers who have been abused at this school (now temporarily closed again) right here in Lake County, Florida
    Please take the time to contact officials who will do something for these abused children. Check out these
    links for the original news releases.
    http://www.clickorlando.com/video/22461474/index.html

  7. Just Facts Says:

    More on the Green Isle story

    KEN MOTON CHANNEL 9 STORY: http://www.wftv.com/news/22458549/detail.html

  8. Robert Rodriguez Says:

    I want to thank Michael Dolce for the fine job he’s been doing on behalf of the Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, and it is sad for me to see that Senator Alex Villalobos voted against this legislation and in favor of the present one that only protects the pedophiles.
    When will the Church STOP lobbying in favor of laws to protect them, instead of prosecuting the pedophiles within Our Church.

  9. Who Knows Says:

    7:55 – You bring up a good point here. Maybe this Sheriff Borders and the Brown family that runs the Green Isle thing they are talking about above are Catholic. If so thats why they continue to cover up everything. One thing for sure, they will all pay when they go before the big judge in the sky. They won’t fool him or cover up their cickness anymore.

  10. Valerie Parkhurst Says:

    Good for you Michael, its been a long painful fight and who would imagine we would have so much opposition when it comes to the protection, safety and punishment of those who feed off our children. This is a win that we desperately need and deserve. All the public has to do is read their daily papers decribing the horror stories of what is done against our society and its a no brainer that harsher and more stringent legislation is needed to combat these crimes..Lets have a beer to celebrate sometime..

  11. Mary Hurst Says:

    Valerie, it is obvious you have nothing between your ears except air. Like you, we are so glad this has been brought to everone’s attention and hopefully someone sometime will step forward and do something about all the sexually abused children. What you do not have sense enough to understand is it is happening right under your freaking nose and you are to dumb to address that issue. Go ahead spin your bullshit, but what I want to know is when are you and people like Dolce really going to do anything to help the victims? All Dolce wants to do is acquire victims who will allow him to sue on their behalf. One victim taking other victim’s for yet another ride. He wants to turn this into money in his pocket!

  12. Robert Rodriguez Says:

    If anyone has taken us for a ride is the Catholic Church, and the paid lobbyst who protect them against any harm, by those who they abused and threaten. In any language, any country they are pedophiles, and as such should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
    I guess Mary you do not have children or have been lucky that they have not been abused, if that had happen you would be thanking Michael Dolce, for having the guts to fight this for over 5 years, would you fight for Survivors rights, it is obvious that you would not. Do 2 Our Fathers and 6 Hail Mary’s

  13. Mary Hurst Says:

    Robert, I have had victims and recently. Some people contacted Dolce because they though he would be able to help us. In our cases the victims are being denied even an honest investigation by law enforcement. Dolce just wanted clients he would not help us get these crimes investigated by honest authorities. All he wants is to abolish the statute of limitations so he can represent victims of old cases, period. He has not interest in helping stop the presently ongoing sexual abuse of children. And, Robert, do you really understand what all this is supposed to be about? I should be to protect sexually abused victims right to pursue justice. Should these victims have to wait 20-30 years for justice when law enforcement is covering up these crimes right under our noses?

  14. Robert Rodriguez Says:

    Mary, I do not know what your particular case is, with the present law neither Michael nor anyone else can do anything to bring Justice, this happened in California and it worked very well, and it should happen in all 50 States, enough of the Church getting away without being prosecuted, just as any criminal they have to have their day in Court, this law will do just that.And I commend Michael for being there as long as he has, anybody else would have thrown the towel a long time ago, Our problem is that whenever someone tries to do something different, we go after them to destroy them, instead of helping to make a safer, and better world.

  15. Valerie Parkhurst Says:

    Obviously Mary got on the wrong side of someone and is running into opposition in her pursuit. It also sounds like Mary is trying to put the cart before the horse. The legislation has to be enacted before LE can act on it. Mary doesnt explain herself very well, so one cannot respond to her. If her quest for justice is prefaced by her attitude here, then its no wonder she isnt a sympathatic character in her efforts. Perhaps she isnt the right person to be the “voice of victims”..

  16. Mary Hurst Says:

    Valerie, What part of recent rapes of boys 12-16 years old being covered up
    by law enforcement becasue the victims
    were in group home do you not understand? You are the one with the problem! Why don you click on the links in blogs 6 and 7 and you can get a clear picture of these crimes.

  17. Valerie Parkhurst Says:

    Well first off Mary the links on blogs #6 and Number #7 indicated they were posted by a blogger called “just the facts” ..now I would say thats a far cry from a blogger named “Mary Hurst” wouldnt you? Now that fact I didnt connect one with the other must be that air between my ears or my “failure to understand” sentiment. Sweetie if your gonna get outraged and want people’s cooperation you should read the blog first..no one knows better than me what “police cover-up” means..but I like a few others might find it damaging to align ourselves with someone as hostile as you are to other child advocates…just a thought..but good luck anyway..

  18. Valerie Parkhurst Says:

    PS Mary …many child advocates who have been in the game long enough dont blindly open links…sex offenders, their advocates and those who might be the topic of unfavorable discussion have a nasty little habit of embedding nasty little virus’s in them, just for sport. But I give you a high five for outrage though…keep it up..

  19. swathdiver Says:

    Sad to see the Catholic church side with Satan via the Communists/Statists.

  20. Robert Rodriguez Says:

    At last this Bill is going to the Governor’s Desk for his signature,
    Thank God we did not need Sen. Villalobos for the Final Vote in the Senate, Come election time the voter’s of Miami will show him who comes first, and it will not be him.
    The Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse come first, maybe then he will realize that he took the wrong side, it’ not a matter of being Catholic or not, is a matter of Right and Wrong……….

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