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AttorneyTom, Lawyer
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the abuse occured from the childs first memory until she was

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the abuse occured from the child's first memory until she was 14 yrs old. she is 38 yrs old now. she did not tell anyone about this until last year because she didn't want to break her mother's heart and she did not want her grandpa (whom she considered her father figure) to take matters into his own hands and punish her father. her grandpa has passed away since without ever knowing this. last summer her father tried to cause trouble between her and her brother, and she decided it was time to tell. (the father never did like her brother - his own son - who is a wonderful person. her father is now spreading lies about her, and we would like him to be punished. what is our first step? none of us have any money for attorneys. we need help. (i am her grandmother).
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 4 years ago.
Hello. Thank you for coming to JustAnswer. I am Thoreau and I am sending this answer to you only a few minutes after you asked your question.
I'm very sorry to hear about the situation. I can only imagine how traumatic that must be for your family. Tennessee has no criminal statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse and a victim can report the matter to law enforcement at any time. Sooner is usually better because evidence tends to dry up with the passage of time, but there's no harm in reporting a matter to the police so that it can be investigated. The civil statute of limitations is much shorter and, to file a lawsuit, an individual must take action within a year of her 18th birthday or within a year of discovering the injury (for instance, if the memory was suppressed), whichever comes later.
I'm sorry that your family is going through this and I hope that closure can be achieved so that everyone affected can start to emotionally heal. Please remember that my job here is to provide accurate information about the law. Providing bad news is the hardest part of doing my job but it's a big part of doing my job well. If you feel that the law is wrong or unfair, I'd strongly encourage you to contact your legislators, as they are the only ones who can change it.
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