NC lawmaker catches criticism for proposed amendment

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A North Carolina lawmaker is accused of crafting an amendment to a proposed bill that could have challenged the legal rights of child abuse victims.

Representative Chuck McGrady, a Republican from Henderson County, said his proposal was misunderstood and he's drafting a new version.

McGrady came under fire after a support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) put their concerns online.

SNAP called his legislation the worst they had seen in decades because it capped civil damages and greatly reduced the statute of limitations.

David Clohessy, director of SNAP in St. Louis, said the amendment would bar any child who was molested before turning eight years old by a health care provider or at a child care facility (which includes camps) from filing any civil action once the child turns ten.

McGrady said the issue will soon be moot.

"I'm going to strike that portion of the proposed amendment having to deal with child care providers," he said. The amendment was part of a larger bill dealing with medical malpractice.

"There was no intention to move into the whole issue of child molestation, and I'm going to introduce a revised amendment which just focuses on the medical malpractice issue," said McGrady.

The current statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims starts ticking when they turn 18 years old, or possibly later in some cases.

A 2005 study from SMU, Johns Hopkins University, and Cornell University found that a majority of children often fail to report their abuse until adulthood. Advocates for victims of child sexual abuse say they were concerned McGrady's amendment could have provided a loophole.

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