Proposal Would Discriminate Against Sexual Abuse Victims

on . Protecting Our Children

capitol-greenThe following is reprinted from a fact sheet provided by the California Council of Nonprofit Organizations.  To express your opposition to this bill use our Action Alert page.

(En Español) SB 131 (Beall) is proposed legislation currently being considered in the California Legislature that would suspend the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse against private and non-profit employers during the 2014 calendar year.

Although introduced as a measure to help victims, protect children and prevent incidents of child sexual abuse, in reality it does no such thing. Instead, it is a trial-lawyer sponsored measure that discriminates against victims, discriminates against private employers and actually gives civil immunity from prosecution to the actual perpetrators of child sex abuse.

Discriminates against victims

  • SB 131 only revives claims against private or non-profit employers, not public schools or local governments. Furthermore, schools and local governments have complete immunity—i.e. they cannot be sued—for any incidents of child sex abuse that took place before 2009.
  • The overwhelming majority of victims, most of whom were abused in public school, will never get their day in court under SB 131.

Discriminates against private employers

  • SB 131 only revives claims against private and non-profit employers, not against public schools, government agencies or even the perpetrators themselves. This puts private schools and other non-profits in the position of defending against claims that may be 30, 40 or even 50 years old.
  • This discriminates against public sector victims and hurts private employers by forcing them to deal with an unworkable legal and business climate where they face unlimited liability of unlimited duration under conditions where the passage of time makes it impossible to mount an effective defense.

Gives civil immunity to actual perpetrators

  • In cases where the civil statute of limitations has lapsed, SB 131 gives civil immunity to the actual perpetrator of the abuse, but allows their employers to be sued.
  • Even if the actual perpetrator was convicted of a crime, SB 131 gives them complete immunity from civil prosecution.

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  • SB 131 does nothing to change prison terms for child sex abusers or extend the criminal statute of limitations

SB 131 is also opposed by the CA Association of Private School Organizations, the CA State Alliance of YMCA’s, the CA Council of Non-Profit Organizations, the CA Catholic Conference and dozens of private schools throughout the state.