RALEIGH, N.C. — Child sexual abuse victims would have until they are nearly 40 years old to sue for civil damages in North Carolina in legislation advancing in the state House.

While felony child abuse crimes have no statute of limitations, young adults currently have until they are 21 to sue alleged perpetrators. 

The measure approved overwhelmingly on Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee would extend the deadline until age 38.

Sponsor Rep. Dennis Riddell of Alamance County says limitations now don't take into account that victims often are well into adulthood before they come to terms with their abuse. 

Civil cases require lower levels of proof than criminal matters.

The measure advanced to another committee after members rejected an amendment to lower the proposed age limit to 28.

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