Waltham Native Pushes for New Sex Abuse Law

Advocates to Hold Rally on March 14
in The Waltham Patch: view here
by Ryan Grannan-Doll

A Waltham native who alleges her uncle sexually abused her when she was a child is pushing for the repeal of the criminal statue of limitaitions on sexual abuse crimes.

Rosanne Sliney, a Burlington resident who hails from Waltham, joined others on Friday, March 2, to call for the passage of a bill that would eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for sex abuse crimes.

“Hopefully … people will feel more accepting to come forward,” Sliney told Waltham Patch shortly before the rally event held at the American Legion on Waverly Oaks Road. “The people of Waltham have just been so supportive. It's been really incredibly wonderful."

Passage of the bill would encourage more alleged victims to report their abuse, Sliney said.

Sliney, who recently filed a civil lawsuit allgeging her uncle sexually abused her when she was a child, is just one of the people pushing for the passage of the bill, which she she said hopefully will gain additional support. Sliney and others are scheduled to hold a rally at the State House on Wednesday, March 14.

Despite their recent efforts, the bill has stalled in the legislature even though a majority of lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee support it, according to Jetta Bernier, the executive director of Massachusetts Citizens For Children. She made the comments during a press conference Sliney held to announce her lawsuit.

Currently, the statute of limitations expires 27 years after the alleged victim's 16th birthday, according to Bernier.

Supporters of the bill raised awareness of the issue during last week's Legion party. A survey of 151 participants indicated 77 percent had been sexually abused, according to Dee Vanaria, a friend of Sliney's helping to pass the bill. Also, participants traced the outline of their hands and plan to deliver that to lawmakers as a show of support, Vanaria said. Around $1,760 was rasied ofr the ENOUGH campaign which calls for the end of sexual abuse, according to Vanaria.

Looking ahead to the March 14 rally, Vanaria hopes passage of the bill would greatly assist victims.

“It allows that person time process it,” she said, referring to the impact eliminating the statue of limitations would have.

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