In summary

Starting Jan. 1, adults have until at least their 40th birthday to file claims against people and institutions they seek to hold responsible for sexual molestation or sexual assault they experienced as children. It’s the second to be featured in our CalMatters #CALaws2020 video playlist of laws that take effect next year.

On the heels of the #MeToo movement, California has approved a new law extending the statute of limitations on cases of alleged childhood sexual abuse. Starting Jan. 1, adults have until at least their 40th birthday to file claims against people and institutions they seek to hold responsible for sexual molestation or sexual assault they experienced as children. Before this new law, victims had until their 26th birthday to file suit.

It’s the second to be featured in our CalMatters #CALaws2020 video playlist of laws that take effect next year.

Keep tabs on the latest California policy and politics news

Authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, the new law also opens a opens a three-year window for victims who are now over age 40 to file such suits.

Lawmakers tried twice before to pass similar laws, but former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed both — noting that statutes of limitations exist because the passage of time makes it harder to reach a fair conclusion in a case. Opponents also warned that extending the deadline for lawsuits could bankrupt schools and other institutions forced to reckon with alleged incidents years or even decades ago.

But Gov. Gavin Newsom sided with groups of childhood sexual abuse survivors, and signed it into law.

CalMatters reporter Elizabeth Castillo explains what it means.

Between now and the end of the year, watch as CalMatters video producer Byrhonda Lyons and the CalMatters reporting team explain how various new laws will influence the lives of Californians. You can subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Support in-depth reporting that matters

As a nonprofit newsroom, we rely on the generosity of Californians like you to cover the issues that matter. If you value our reporting, support our journalism with a donation.

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

We want to hear from you

Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Gary Reed with any commentary questions: gary@calmatters.org, (916) 234-3081.

Byrhonda Lyons is a national award-winning video journalist for CalMatters. She creates compelling multimedia stories about how California policy affects people’s everyday lives. From the state’s mental...