On October 13th, 2019 Governor Gavin Newsom signed California State Assembly Bill 218 into law. The bill, which was first introduced by California State Assemblywoman, Lorena S. Gonzalez, will open a three-year window starting in 2020 during which claims of child sexual assault that had elapsed under the previous statute of limitations can be revived.
This is a tremendous opportunity for survivors of childhood sexual assault to file suit against the individuals, and institutions that harmed them. Conversely, this new bill will almost assuredly concern institutions like the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts and many public and private schools, that have a long history of harboring sexual predators. Not only does the law create a three-year window for victims who were previously denied access to justice to file a lawsuit, but as well under the new law, a plaintiff can be awarded up to three times the normally allotted damages for crimes of sexual assault in cases where there is evidence that an institution covered-up the allegations of the victim.
Boy Scouts and Catholic Church Face Tremendous Financial Costs for Long History of Child Sex Abuse
For organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America, this new law will likely have very serious consequences. While already openly contemplating bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts now may face hundreds of new allegations of child sexual abuse in the state of California alone.
Time is truly of the essence for survivors of childhood sexual assault in California. Those that had been previously prevented from suing and seeking financial damages from institutions such as the Boy Scouts, sports’ programs, schools, recreation programs and the like, can now revive their claims and file suit. The various California dioceses from San Diego to San Francisco will certainly face numerous lawsuits as well under the new law. Attempting to mitigate new lawsuits filed against them in state courts, the church announced the forming of an independent compensation program for survivors of child abuse at 6 of the state’s dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, just last month.
“The Catholic Church’s stranglehold on justice is no more. The doors of the courthouse are now open to victims of sexual abuse.” – Attorney Paul Mones
Selecting an experienced sexual abuse attorney is crucial when deciding to move forward with civil litigation against those responsible for your trauma or even when seeking compensation via the independent compensation programs established by the various Catholic dioceses. Paul Mones has been a tireless advocate for survivors of childhood sexual abuse for decades. As an attorney, Paul has seen a litany of changes to the laws for child sex crimes in almost every state and knows first-hand the tremendous opportunity this new law in California presents for survivors.