Loading
Calif. advances abuse bill that could bankrupt Catholic dioceses
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California. Credit: Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A California sex abuse bill that has been described as discriminatory against the Catholic Church has passed the legislature and is advancing to the governor’s desk.

Last Friday, the bill passed the State Senate by a vote of 21-8 at the close of the legislative session, and opponents are now asking for a veto from California Governor Jerry Brown.

The legislation would lift the statute of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits against private schools and private employers who failed to take action against sexual abuse by employees or volunteers. It would allow alleged victims younger than 31 to sue employers of abusers, extending present age limit for alleged victims presently set at 26 years-old.

The bill specifically exempts public schools and other government institutions from lawsuits. It also exempts the actual perpetrators of the abuse from civil action in some cases, while leaving their employers vulnerable.

Potentially the most damaging provision of the legislation creates a one-year window on the statute of limitations for sex abuse lawsuits against employers.

A similar legal window in 2003 resulted in almost 1,000 claims against the Catholic Church in California, with legal awards totaling to $1.2 billion. Some of these claims dated back to the 1950s.

Kevin Eckery, a spokesman for the California Catholic Conference, told CNA June 11 that the Catholic Church in California can no longer rely on insurance policies and sales of property and other assets to meet the costs of any new lawsuits.

“If there were claims that were resurrected for a third time, you can find situations where dioceses might be forced to close schools. In the case of one of our dioceses, the Diocese of Stockton, they’re worried they might have to file for bankruptcy,” he said.

Other opponents of the bill include private institutions such as the YMCA, the YWCA, and the California Council of Non-Profit Organizations.

The Wall Street Journal criticized the bill as a “nonprofit shakedown” that targets the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts, and the “political enemies” of the legislature, in which Democrats hold a supermajority of seats.

The California Catholic Conference said the bill forces private employers by “forcing them to deal with an unworkable legal and business climate where they face unlimited liability of unlimited duration.”

The bill creates conditions where “the passage of time makes it impossible to mount an effective defense,” the conference said in a June 12 alert.

Tags: Clerical lawsuits, Discrimination

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
Oct
1

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 9:57-62

Gospel
Date
10/01/14
09/30/14
09/29/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Job 9: 1-12, 14-16
Gospel:: Lk 9: 57-62

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/01/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 9:57-62

Homily
Date
10/01/14
09/30/14
09/29/14