Advocates for victims of sex abuse call on Senate to close what they consider to be a 'big loophole'

Three gymnasts who competed on the World Stage were at the State Capitol, Monday.

They were there to push for new legislation to help hold sex abusers and, those who cover up the abuse- accountable for the crimes they commit.

Tasha Schwikert, her sister Jordan and fellow national gymnastics team member Alyssa Bauman testified before the Senate State Affairs Committee.

They spoke about being sexually abused while competing for the USA.

"And winning, sponsorship and medals were more important to them than to protect us,” said Tasha. 
They're here to support House Bill 3809.

The bill extends the statute of limitations from 15 to 30 years in civil cases giving survivors of sexual abuse more time to file claims.

"It took a long time to face what happened and it will take even longer for me to overcome,” said Baumann.  "We hope that by talking about it we are changing the way that others look at survivors and we hope that we are opening a path for other survivors that may want to speak out, ... and hopefully this is making a change going forward for other children."

All three are identified as survivors of abuse by former gym doctor Larry Nassar.

Last year Nassar was sentenced to 125 years in prison. 

For abusing 10 girls but there may be hundreds more.

"I decided to testify today because I want to make sure that what happened to me and my sister never happens again,” said Jordan. "To know that I am going out on stage and making a change for the future means a whole lot more to me than being out there on the balance beam or on the floor. Because Im trying to make a change for the world."

Michelle Simpson Tuegel is part of the legal team representing some of Nassar’s victims in a civil suit. 

"We cannot give them a loophole so they dont face the same liability when they turned a blind eye and failed to act,"  said Tuegel.

Tuegel argues if the current 15-year statute remains for organizations then all they have to do to beat the case is drag out court proceedings.

"Texas law just cannot allow that sort of cover for these sort of institutions," said Simpson Tuegel.

As a condition of co-sponsoring the House Bill State Senator Kirk Watson said he has added organizations to the 30-year time limit.

"For me this Bill is about 3 things. Survivor Empowerment. Justice. And Prevention,” said Watson. 

If Watson's modified HB 3809 clears the Senate, it will have to be accepted by the House or go to a Conference Committee.