Gov. Brown's Veto Discourages Sexual Abuse Victims, Advocates

Legal process

California’s large and understandably impassioned community of child sex abuse victims and their advocates might well designate this past Monday as a day of remembrance and profound mourning.

With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Jerry Brown crushed hope for legions of people fervently hoping that he would transform would-be legislation into law providing increased protections for victims. Rather than endorsing a bill that sought to expand the time for victims to file civil abuse claims, the state’s chief executive vetoed it.

As disappointing as Brown’s thumbs-down response was to victims and advocates, it was not particularly surprising. A Los Angeles Times article spotlighting the bill and its demise duly noted that the governor vetoed a similar measure in the past. He wrote back in 2013 that there needs to be a firm cut-off period at which “past acts are indeed in the past and not subject to further lawsuits.” Brown and other supporters of a non-expanded statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse stress that accuracy can be eroded over time as evidence grows progressively cloudier.

That is manifestly not a winning argument for individuals who have suffered at the hands of predators and molesters. As the Times notes in citing SOL time-expansion advocates, horrific memories from the past “can be repressed for decades.” Some perpetrators rely upon that and obviously support any measure that cuts off their liability.

The prospective law would have enabled victims to file legal claims up to the age of 40 and additionally allowed individuals eventually able to unearth buried memories a five-year filing window to commence a lawsuit.

Questions or concerns regarding filing requirements or any other matter relevant to childhood sexual assault can be directed to an experienced and empathetic attorney who aggressively promotes the rights of sex abuse victims.

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