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Michelle, Paralegal
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4136
Experience:  31 years of experience in criminal, real estate, juvenile and family law
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Can someone sue you 27 years later for what they

Resolved Question:

Can someone sue you 27 years later for what they believe (not true) to have been unlawful sexual contact when the people involved were children? The ages of the accuser was 10 and the accused 14, with a 3 year and 8 month age difference?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Michelle replied 9 years ago.


The statute of limitations on a criminal case have expired; however, there is nothing stopping anyone from filing a civil lawsuit seeking punitive damages for such things as emotional and mental distress in such a matter. The age difference does not matter in this case. If they pursue a civil case it would open a huge can of worms that they might not be aware of - but for some to proceed in this manner is a way of closure.

If this has helped, please ACCEPT answer. If you need more information, I will continue to try to help. Thanks ~ M

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
What are you referring to as the "can of worms", because a civil suit is exactly what they are talking about. They are seeking monetary damages. How can you sue someone 27 years later for something they did (but didn't) do when they were 13-14 years old? A child that age is not developmentally capable of inflicting "Intentional emotional distress"?
Expert:  Michelle replied 9 years ago.

Ok - well, first anyone can sue another person for anything as long as the have the money for an attorney and the time to put into it. Proving the allegations is another matter. Proof in this case could come in the way of years of emotional distress resulting in not being able to conduct a normal and heathy relationship with someone else, not being able to sleep - bad dreams or nightmares. Yes, a situation like that could be very distressful. Perhaps, the alledged victim has gone through hypnosis to find why they had a certain behavior or was distressed and perhaps this came out during that or maybe during psychriatric treatment for something else. If that is the case, all this can and will be used in a civil case to establish their claim.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Yes, but how can a 13-14 year old child be found to be responsible for inflicting that kind of emotional distress. This is a child not an adult. A 13-14 year old is not sexually mature enough to know the ramifications of those actions, also, how would one prove that this sudden memory of this person doing something to them is true? Anyone could have caused the emotional distress.
Expert:  Michelle replied 9 years ago.

Of course a 13 or 14 year old is sexually mature enough and should know what they intend, especially if the alledged victim is saying no they do not want to participate in something that might seem as innocent as "playing doctor". As state before, proving it is the key. Might not be able to prove it. In my mind, they probably can't. But as said before they can sue. There are cases like this. Take all the little boys who were molested by priests and other clergy as an example. Those cases have been in the news a lot, so I take it you are familiar with those? The boys are now adults who are bringing the charges - sometimes, they hide that it happened or try to overlook it with denial. But something inside nags and nags them. So you think that just because they were 7, 8, 9, 10 or 13 or 14 when it happened that they don't know it did? I know you are talking about Intent. But that will have no bearing on the outcome of this case. Sexual abuse is not about intent - if a victim does not want to participate it is abuse. And, of course, if you have a young victim and an older person and the victim seems to consent that is not permissible because there they are not of sound mind to know they did not have to consent. Got it? Or are you more confused? I know this is stressful fo you.

If you feel that you did not do this and you are being wrongly accused and your reputation will be raked through the coals, you will have recourse. And, if this person is going around, at this time, making these accusations and ruining your character you should seek an attornery who is versed in libel/slander (defamation) law as well as someone who will evauluate the merits of this matter for you. These kind of accusations are nothing to play with.

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