PIERRE, S.D. — A state Senate panel has rejected a bill aimed at allowing victims of childhood sexual abuse at Native American boarding schools to file lawsuits against organizations like schools and churches.
The Judiciary Committee voted 4-3 Tuesday against the bill.
An amendment to the measure would have created a three-year period for victims to file claims that otherwise would have been barred and repealed a provision banning victims 40 and older from recovering damages from people or entities other than the abuser.
Barbara Charbonneau Dahlen is among nine sisters who unsuccessfully sued over alleged sexual abuse at a boarding school. She says they “will not be silenced.”
Sen. Arthur Rusch voted against the bill. Rusch says he was troubled because it wasn’t an effort to punish abusers, most of whom are dead, but collect money from non-perpetrators.