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New Child Sexual Abuse Law

Posted in Criminal Defense,Sex Crimes on January 23, 2020

A new law that extends the timeframe that victims of childhood sexual abuse has taken effect in California. Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) was signed in October by Gov. Gavin Newsom and took effect on January 1 of this year. The bill changes existing laws in the following ways:

  • Victims of childhood sexual abuse have until they are 40 years old or five years from the discovery of their abuse to file civil lawsuits against their alleged abusers. The law previously set the age limit at 26 years old or three years from the discovery of the abuse.
  • Victims of any age now have three years to bring claims that were otherwise barred due to the existing laws. Any cases that were not litigated to finality due to the three-year timeframe will now be revived.
  • This law now allows for “treble” damages against any defendant who is found to have covered up the sexual abuse of a minor.

AB 218 also changes the terminology from “childhood sexual abuse” to “childhood sexual assault,” broadening the definition of what types of sexual interactions a person can file an abuse claim for.

How Can this affect me?

Assembly Bill 218 is a major change to California law, and it will have repercussions throughout the criminal justice system. This bill is the result of what many have seen as the continual discovery that sexual abuse of minors has been covered up by powerful people and organizations. You have likely seen the cases involving the Catholic Church, USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, Boy Scouts of America, and more. These cases have unearthed years of alleged coverups of minors being abused by employees and volunteers.

However, this law is not limited to civil lawsuits involving major organizations and their employees. AB 218 extends to anyone who might face allegations of sexual abuse, and for the next three years, there is an open “lookback window.”

This bill could affect you if:

  • You think that someone may bring a sexual abuse of a minor claim against you.
  • You have faced allegations of sexual assault of a minor in the past, but the lawsuit was filed after the statute of limitations expired.
  • You were in the middle of a sexual abuse of a minor case that was not fully litigated due to time limits.
  • You were part of an organization that has been alleged to have covered up allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

Contact an attorney if you have been accused of child sexual assault

If you suspect that you may end up facing a civil lawsuit due to allegations that you sexually assaulted a minor, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. You should not wait until you receive notice that you are facing a lawsuit before talking to a child abuse attorney. At the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath, APC, we want to be able to defend you against these serious allegations, and the earlier we can get started, the better. You can speak to your attorney confidentially, so you do not have to worry about what you say to us leaving the office. When you need a Riverside sex crime defense attorney, you can contact us for a consultation of your case by clicking here or calling 714-758-5293.