Beall Introduces Bill to Bring Justice for Victims of Child Sex Abuse

January 25, 2013

SACRAMENTO – A proposal to eliminate the statute of limitations for victims of child molestation to file lawsuits against their abusers has been introduced by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose.

Senate Bill 131 addresses the inability of victims to seek damages because of repressed memories that do not surface until after the deadline to file a lawsuit has passed. Currently, the law states that an action must be filed by the plaintiff’s 26th birthday or within three years of the date that the adult plaintiff reasonably discovers that the psychological trauma he or she is suffering from is linked to sexual abuse.

Beall said the law needs to be updated to reflect recent medical findings.

“Well documented medical literature has been developed since the last time the statute of limitations for civil claims was last extended,’’ he said. “The medical evidence shows psychological injuries stemming from sexual abuse emerge later in life and well past the age of 26.

“There is a real need to have the law match the very real medical needs of victims to recover the costs of their treatment and therapy as well as their on-going costs for continuing treatment.’’

If SB 131 is approved and signed into law, it would eliminate the statute of limitations for actions that occur after Jan. 1, 2014. The bill contains a retroactivity clause for certain cases prior to Jan. 1.

During the past few years, several other state legislatures have considered statute of limitation reforms, including Florida which eliminated its statute of limitations for civil and criminal actions against perpetrators of sexual abuse in 2010.

Contact: Rodney Foo, 408.286.8318