The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is playing an important part in a recent case against a child abuser in Lompoc, California.
One of the lesser known parts of the SCRA is that it puts a hold on the statute of limitations in any case that a servicemember is involved in, according to The American Bar Association. This includes cases brought by or against a servicemember. Under 50 U.S. Code App. § 526, the period during which a servicemember is on active military status cannot be included when calculating any limitation period for filing suit. This element of the law played an essential part in helping a child abuse victim to bring a suit against his abuser.
Eleven years later
One of the problems in litigating child abuse cases is that the victim rarely comes forward early on. Often, it isn’t until years later that he or she is able to face the difficulties involved with bringing his or her abuser to court. As a result, there are some abuse cases that cannot be prosecuted, despite a longer statute of limitations on this type of crime than on many others.
A suit filed Oct. 30 in Los Angeles Superior Court demonstrated just this principle, according to The Lompoc Record. The suit alleges that national and Region 122 officials of the American Youth Soccer Association – the largest youth soccer organization in the United States – allowed Terence Paul Stevens to retain his position as coach after he was arrested and admitted to the abuse. It states that he used his position to gain access to and “groom” youths for sexual abuse.
The plaintiff, who is not named in the suit, is now an adult living in Florida, according to the news source. However, he alleges that the abuse started in 1985. Normally, a case couldn’t be brought after so much time, but the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is enabling him because of its provisions for holding the statute of limitations.
Stevens was arrested for abusing the plaintiff in 1988, according to the Record. He also admitted to some of the behavior mentioned. However, when AYSO officials learned about the arrest, they didn’t warn the parents or seek out more victims. They also failed to reprimand or expel Stevens, allowing him to remain a volunteer with the organization. He continued to work and volunteer in the area until his arrest in 2008 on charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act is helping a victim to fight for justice in this case. Compliance with this important law is important, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act Centralized Verification Service can help.