California Legislature Passed Assembly Bill 218

Statement by California attorney Dr. Joseph C. George

Just past midnight on September 14, 2019, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 218, which, if signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, would give thousands of suffering Californians a new chance for justice, healing, compensation, and closure, despite decades of hopelessness.

Assembly Bill 218 gives victims of childhood sexual assault who were once barred by the statute of limitations a three-year window to use civil courts to expose predators, warn others, end cover-ups and get sorely-needed funds to help make up for years of depression, unemployment, and other debilitating effects of trauma. In addition, survivors of childhood sexual assault will have up to their 40th birthday to file a civil suit (currently, survivors have until their 26th birthday) and delayed discovery claims will be extended from three years to five years.

Assembly Bill 218 is among the most sensitive and far-reaching laws to help victims of childhood sexual assault in the United States. It will also make our state safer by identifying potentially dangerous child molesters and institutions that are hiding or enabling their crimes.

With this measure, California lawmakers acknowledge a reality that few legislatures acknowledge: that it almost inevitably takes decades for people violated as kids to realize they were severely harmed and find the strength and courage to stand up for themselves and safeguard others.

Thanks to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s efforts in sponsoring AB 218 and for her commitment to protecting children and obtaining justice for survivors for childhood sexual assault. We hope that Governor Newsom signs Assembly Bill 218 into law, making California a national leader in the protection of kids.

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