Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits

California political independent lawsuit theme image

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

Assembly Bill 218 would extend the time people have to file lawsuits over sexual abuse they suffered as children. Current law allows victims to sue until age 26; under this bill they would have until age 40. 

WHO SUPPORTS IT?

Associations representing abuse victims, police chiefs, social workers and trial lawyers back the measure by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a San Diego Democrat. 

WHO’S OPPOSED?

Schools that could face more lawsuits alleging abuse by their employees oppose the measure, along with insurance companies that could be required to pay out damages. Registered opponents of the bill include associations representing school boards, school business officials, private schools, community colleges and school insurance providers. 

WHY IT MATTERS

The bill marks the third time that the Legislature has tried to extend the statute of limitations for child sex abuse. Former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed similar bills last year and in 2013, writing an unusually long veto message that traced the origins of such limits to ancient Roman law. But a powerful cultural shift is underway, as Americans respond to allegations of sexual abuse in vaunted institutions. The national gymnastics team doctor, a gynecologist at the University of Southern California and numerous Catholic priests are among those who have faced recent criminal charges. That may prompt a different decision by Newsom. 

GOVERNOR’S CALL

Newsom, who as lieutenant governor was said to support the version Gonzalez carried last year, signed it Oct. 13, 2019.