What are the legal implications to child abuse that was never reported andceased more than 8 years ago?

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What are the legal implications to child abuse that was never reported andceased more than 8 years ago?

Husband was on drugs and alcohol 1991-1999; began abusing kids 1998 to 2003. Confronted and sought counseling with local minister. Became a Christian and never touched the kids again. In 2007 kids had behavior and school issues so we placed them in a Christian youth home for counseling and guidance. Their counselor reported the past issues to child services. Do we answer questions if child services calls or do we need to consult with a criminal law attorney first? In Callaway County, MO.

Asked on April 14, 2011 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should have reported your husband back when the kids were being abused; to do otherwise could conceivably place you in a position to also be criminally liable as not only an accessory to the crime but also a principal to the acts based on your knowledge. If the kids are having behavior issues, they very well could be latent memories coming back causing the trauma now and there may not be a statute of limitations. You should each consult with separate criminal law attorneys and consider placing your children with a children's advocacy center for counseling.  The fact he stopped abusing is helpful but it may not completely absolve him of his liability. 


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