On October 13, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218, to protect the rights of survivors of childhood sexual assault. The bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez.
The bill is a critical step forward for survivors of child sexual abuse and its instrumental in the effort to protect California’s children. AB 218 opens a three-year “lookback window” for previously time-barred claims. This will enable adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse in California to file claims regardless of their current age. It is anticipated that more than 1,000 claims will come forward in this lookback window. The last time a “lookback window” in California allowed for time-barred claims was in 2004. For almost 16 years, the courthouse doors have been closed to California’s adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts did not start to meaningfully address their child sexual abuse problem until the early 1990s. As such, there are several decades worth of potential claimants involving the two most notorious organizations who have spent decades covering up these crimes. The three-year lookback window created by AB 218 opened on January 1st 2020. During this time, survivors of childhood sexual abuse can bring civil suits against their predators and the institutions that covered for them, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred.
The bill additionally extends the civil statute of limitation to age 40 or anytime thereafter within five years of discovering related psychological injury. This statute of limitations was previously set up at age 26, or within three years of discovery. Data suggests that survivors of childhood sexual abuse typically do not tell anyone about the abuse until they are well into their adulthoods. Survivors can finally help protect today’s children by ensuring that what happened to them does not happen to another child.
Raymond Boucher, a trial attorney and advocate for sexual abuse victims, provides insight about AB-218 and how it could help sexual abuse victims.
Are you or a love one or your child a survivor of sexual abuse? It’s time for sexual abusers and their protectors to pay the price for their actions. The civil court can help victims achieve justice and closure by holding these perpetrators liable for monetary damages. Time to file your case may be running out. Call attorney Ray Boucher today for a free confidential consultation.
Host: We are little more than a week from a new year, which means new laws will go into effect soon. One of those laws is expected to create major changes for sex abuse victims. Now, the law is known as Assembly Bill 218. It extends statute of limitations, allowing victims of sexual abuse to file a lawsuit regardless of age and provides a three-year period to file a lawsuit and seek damages for the injuries that the victim sustained.
Ray Boucher: One of the most important aspects of this law, the bill, is that it gives people who up to this point in time had no recourse and no ability at the bar of justice to seek compensation for the injuries they suffered and, just as importantly, to get the information out there to the public. This now gives us the vehicle to do that.
Host: The new law also provides for added penalties against institutions that covered up childhood sexual abuse.