Great news! The California Legislature has passed Senate bill 131, a significant piece of legislation that will lift the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse. The bill now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.
The bill allows victims to sue the organizations or businesses that allowed the abuse to happen – entities that employed the abuser, such as child care facilities, or where the perpetrator worked as a volunteer, like the Boy Scouts or a church.
Religious institutions and community organizations such as the California Catholic Conference, the Church of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and the Boy Scouts of America vigorously lobbied against the bill.
Governor Brown (who spent three years preparing for the Catholic priesthood as a Jesuit) has until October 13 to sign the bill or simply do nothing and allow the bill to become law without his signature. In all likelihood, Governor Brown will face intense lobbying from the Catholic bishops and others to veto the legislation. We hope he has the strength of character to do the right thing so that victims of child sexual abuse may finally get justice and hold institutions accountable for their own wrongdoing.