Rivas also noted with disappointment that the law does not cover sexual abuse victims of state employees.
According to the Associated Press, school districts in the state showed heavy opposition to the legislation, arguing that reliable evidence and witnesses are more difficult to collect 40 years after an alleged act of abuse.
Troy Flint, spokesman for the California School Boards Association, said the bill “has a very real chance of bankrupting or impoverishing many districts,” the AP reported.
“We don't want to minimize or trivialize the trauma that's associated with inappropriate sexual conduct in schools,” Flint said, but added that the financial impact on school districts in the state could “inhibit our ability to properly serve today's students and students in years to come.”
The Boy Scouts of America - which has faced millions of dollars in damages to child abuse victims, said it is considering “all available options,” including declaring bankruptcy, the AP reported.
In a statement the organization said it cares “deeply about all victims of child abuse and sincerely apologize(s) to anyone who was harmed during their time in Scouting.” It noted the procedures put in place to avoid individual youth and adult interactions and ensure respect for privacy.
According to the Associated Press, Michael Pfau, an attorney based in Seattle, says his firm has approximately 100 abuse victims who are ready to file suits against California schools, Catholic dioceses, foster homes, the Boy Scouts when the extended window opens.
California is among several states to consider expanding the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse.
Earlier this year, New York widened the statute of limitations for both criminal and civil claims, and opened a one-year window for abuse survivors to files suits against their abuser or the institution where the abuse occurred.
More than 400 lawsuits were filed in the state on the first day of the expanded window, including claims against members of the Catholic clergy, the Boy Scouts, and the state’s public schools.
The governor of New Jersey signed a similar law in May. North Carolina, Maryland, and Pennsylvania have also considered similar legislation in the last year.
(Story continues below)
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