California Law Allows Victims of Childhood Sex Assault to Sue Decades Later

When news breaks of a decades-old child sexual assault case coming to light, odds are it’s because of California’s Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in 2019 following the passage of Assembly Bill 218.

The law gave victims of childhood abuse until Dec. 31 of this year to file lawsuits, regardless of how old their claims might be, and leaves open a window after that for some suits.

“You need this law because there should never be a limitation on justice for a survivor of childhood assault,” said attorney Mike Reck of the Los Angeles law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, which helped write the law. “The courthouse door should never be closed to a person who was victimized as a child.”

Reck says his firm has represented hundreds of survivors of abuse by Catholic Church clerics or others associated with the church since passage of the law, and that there are an untold number of survivors filing claims statewide.

“We don’t even know how many child victims have been helped by this law and will be helped while the window is still open,” he said. “It’s probably impossible to track how many survivors have brought cases in California.”

Reck and Costa Mesa attorney Brian Williams of Greenberg Gross LLP together brought one of the latest such cases in Sacramento Superior Court, where they are suing Capital Christian Center and a former teacher at its school on behalf of five former students who say they were abused in the early 1980s.

Williams said his firm handles cases involving private schools, daycare facilities and other entities and that the law allows for lawsuits where “if the institution knew or should have known of the abuse you can sue the institution that exposed you to the perpetrator.”

The law says victims under age 40 can sue over childhood abuse, and that older individuals also can sue if they find later in life they suffered harm.

Click here to read the full article at the Sacramento Bee

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