I am writing to put to rest the distorted untruths being advanced by the opponents of SB 131. My bill seeks to give the adult survivors of childhood molestation their day in court against the organizations that enabled their molesters – nothing more, nothing less.
The facts are Senate Bill 131 is supported by law enforcement agencies such as the Peace Officers Research Association, the California Association of Chiefs of Police, and prosecutors including the district attorneys of Santa Clara and San Diego counties.
“This bill,’’ San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis wrote in support of SB 131, “will allow those who have suffered for years in private the public support they need to come forward to seek and seek compensation. . . . This bill gives a voice to those who have suffered in silence way too long.’’
The facts are this bill corrects a void in the law that stopped a small group of victims from seeking restitution under SB 1779 which became law in 2003 and expanded the statute of limitations for victims to file claims for childhood sexual abuse.
But a California Supreme Court decision — Quarry v. Doe – determined a narrow group of victims were not able to avail themselves to the expansion in SB 1779. These victims are people who were 26 prior to 2003 and made the discovery that their adult injuries stem from their childhood sexual abuse after 2004.
The facts are California Supreme Court Judge Liu’s dissenting opinion invited the Legislature to fix the problem and allow these victims to file a claim.
The facts are SB 131 will do exactly that by allowing these victims their first and only chance at justice that was afforded to so many others similar to them.
The facts are neither the 2003 law nor the Quarry v. Doe decision involved public entities and neither does SB 131 because that is all it seeks to fix.
The facts are public entities are already under the same statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse as private entities and so SB 131 does nothing to promulgate a so-called “two track’’ justice system.
The facts are well-documented studies show adult survivors of child sexual abuse are more likely to exhibit adverse psychopathologies in adulthood.
The national cost of child sexual abuse is estimated to be at least $23 billion annually, which includes medical care as well as longer-term costs related to poor quality of life in adulthood. I believe the perpetrators of this harm should help pay for these costs.
The facts are the people who run institutions that were culpable in the molestation of children have spent more than $200,000 on lobbyists to stop SB 131 because they understand this legislation will hold them responsible for their failures to protect children.
The fact is SB 131 is good law because it helps victims.
Sen. Jim Beall, San Jose