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U.S. Supreme Court denies California bishops’ motion to strike down child victim law


The US Supreme Court leaves the door open for victims of clergy sex abuse to file claims in California. On June 21, the High Court rejected an attempt by Catholic bishops and archbishops to strike down a California law allowing people to sue for childhood sexual abuse, regardless of when it first appeared.

At issue was California’s Child Victims Act, also known as Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218), which opened a three-year “rollback” window, from 2020 to 2022. for claims of sexual abuse previously barred by the statute of limitations. brought against an abuser and the institution that employed them, regardless of when the abuse took place.

Nine bishops, including Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, filed a petition April 15 asking the Supreme Court to reconsider a case challenging the constitutionality of the Children’s Act victims of the state. In their petition, the bishops cited the “ruinous” cost of defending the claims. They also argued that a prior year in 2003, which resulted in massive settlements, was supposed to be the final word on the sex abuse scandal.

The victims were relieved that their chance of accountability had not been taken away from them. The Catholic Church has openly scorned the Child Victims Act and three-year look-back window since its passage, but with the Supreme Court’s rejection of the challenge, victims of clergy abuse can continue to seek justice. By leaving the three-year look-back window in place, more victims can pursue civil lawsuits. The cost of abuse – through lost wages, addiction, health consequences – is passed on to those who caused it.

Equally important, the notoriously secretive Catholic Church will need to continue to expose its practices, open abuse registries, and potentially identify hidden predators within its ranks who may still be capable of abusing children.

As experienced clergy abuse attorneys, Saunders & Walker have helped many survivors find closure, settlements and compensation for their injuries. Our team of knowledgeable and compassionate legal professionals are available to help you get started on the path to a more complete recovery.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of clergy abuse in Los Angeles or anywhere in California, no matter how long, please contact us today. Even if you have been told in the past that it is too late to make a claim, the situation may have changed recently. Saunders & Walker PA is ready to help you move forward with appropriate legal action, so call today for a consultation at 1-800-748-7115.

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