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From this article https://www.businessinsider.com/former-biden-staffer-tara-reade-files-sexual-assault-complaint-2020-4

A woman who accused Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her when she worked for him in 1993 has filed a formal criminal complaint with the Washington, DC, police about the alleged incident, Business Insider has learned. [...] The statute of limitations for the alleged assault has passed.

Is that really the case? As I understand it, the DC Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Amendment Act (passed January 23, 2019) removed the statute of limitations on sexual assault in Washington, D.C. and added a revival period. The most concise explanation I could find was here https://www.chaikinandsherman.com/blog/2019/january/dc-lawmakers-sign-sexual-abuse-amendment-act-to-/

2-year revival period – In addition to extending the SOL for civil sex abuse claims, the Act also creates a 2-year “revival period” for claims that have already expired under the old statute of limitations. That means there is now a 2-year window in which victims can bring previously barred claims now allowed under the new statute of limitations.

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No part of the D.C. Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Amendment Act of 2018 applies in the case of Tara Reade. The statue of limitations for criminal prosecution had already expired under the existing law and was not revived by the amendment.

You are correct that there is a difference between the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution and civil suits. Phoog's answer cites information that is specifically about civil suits, and as it says, the statue of limitations for civil action has also expired. (I have not seen any reports of Reade filing a civil suit.)

  • Tara Reade filed a criminal complaint with the Washington Metropolitan Police Department

  • Reade also confirmed that the statute of limitations around the claims against Biden have passed.

    "I filed a police report for safety reasons only. All crim [sic] stats beyond limitations. Gratitude for all who have stood by me," Reade tweeted.

("JOE BIDEN SEXUAL ASSAULT ACCUSER TARA READE FILES CRIMINAL COMPLAINT", by Ewan Palmer, 4/11/20, newsweek.com)

The web page Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Amendment Act of 2018 - Two Year Window Guide, on http://www.davidgrosso.org/, has a link to fact sheet summarizing the changes.

There is no statute of limitations for criminal cases regarding sexual abuse committed after May 3, 2019. But sexual abuse crimes committed earlier whose statute of limitations had already expired by that date under the old law cannot be prosecuted.

Section 4(a) shall apply to an offense committed before, on, or, after the effective date of this act, unless the statute of limitations for the offense expired before the effective date of this act.

D.C. Law 22-311. Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations Amendment Act of 2018., Sec. 5. (b)

The previous statute of limitations seems to have been 15 or in some cases 10 years, so for a crime committed in 1993, the statue of limitations would have expired by 2019.

The 2-year revival period only applies to civil suits:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a claim for the recovery of damages that would be time-barred under D.C. Official Code § 12-301 before the effective date of this act, but that would not be time-barred under section 3, is revived and, in that case, a cause of action may be commenced within 2 years after the effective date of this act.

(Sec. 5. (a)(2))

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    Indeed, a revival period for criminal prosecutions would be unconstitutional under Stogner v. California. – Nate Eldredge Apr 11 at 23:52
  • Thank you for clearing it up. – user1475412 Apr 12 at 0:47
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    This answer is of course correct. (I'm going to leave my answer concerning the civil statute of limitations, which I wrote for reasons explained there in a comment, and because it will address incidental curiosity about why the victim does not file a civil suit.) The relevant statute of limitations here is the criminal one, as noted in this answer, which is not extended for cases where the prior limitation had already expired (because this would violate the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws, and, as noted by @NateEldredge, the supreme court has ruled as much). – phoog Apr 12 at 16:44
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The two year period applies to cases that were barred under the old statute of limitations but are "now allowed under the new statute of limitations." If the claim is so old that would be barred under the new statute, it cannot be brought during the two-year window.

For civil claims, the new statute basically says that the claim must be brought within five years or before the victim's 40th birthday, whichever is later. Unless the victim was working on Capitol Hill as a 13-year-old, she is over 40 and the claim is barred even under the new statute.

From the article you cite:

  • Victims under 35 – In cases where sexual abuse occurred when the victim was less than 35 years old, they can bring civil claims for compensation any time up to the age of 40, OR 5 years from when they knew or reasonably should have known of a sexually abusive act, whichever is later.

  • Victims 35 or older – In cases where victims were 35 years of age or older, they may bring civil claims within 5 years from when they knew or should have known of the abusive act.

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  • Does the distinction between criminal and civil matter? I'm trying to reconcile this information with other things saying the criminal statute of limitations is gone. – user1475412 Apr 11 at 16:40
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    @user1475412 no, the other answer is correct. A report to the police is a criminal matter. The law removes the criminal statute of limitations altogether, but criminal statutes of limitations that have already expired can't be reopened because of the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws. I intended initially to write an answer about that, and then I got distracted by the bit you quoted, which of course concerns the statute of limitations on civil claims, and then I wrote an answer that applies to civil claims. – phoog Apr 12 at 4:27
  • I understand now, thank you. – user1475412 Apr 12 at 13:43

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