Gov. Bob McDonnell signed a bill to give victims of childhood sexual assault more time to sue their abusers.
The bill would allow victims to file a lawsuit up to 20 years after the incident, after the victim turns 18 years old, or after the abuse has come to light, such as through a recovered memory. The current statute of limitations sets a two-year limit.
The law goes into effect July 1.
Several adult victims traveled to Richmond to lobby for the bill during the legislative session, sharing stories about abuse inflicted decades ago by clergy, police officers and other adults whom they had trusted.
But some organizations, including the Catholic Church, expressed reservations about extending the deadline, saying it would be difficult and unfair for organizations to defend against allegations that happened long in the past. They also expressed concern that tangled memories about a distant event and an absence of witnesses or other evidence could make it easier for an innocent person to be wrongly accused.