Saturday, July 20, 2013

SB 131 UPDATE: Independent Colleges Register Opposition

The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, which includes such institutions as CalTech, Stanford, and the University of Southern California, has registered its opposition to SB 131, which we had blogged about here. The AICCU, sharing our concerns, writes (emphasis in original):

"The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU), which represents seventy-four private, nonprofit colleges and universities throughout the state, opposes SB 131 (Beall). SB 131 suspends the statute of limitation for child sexual abuse claims against private and nonprofit employers during the 2014 calendar year. AICCU strongly supports the rights of sexual abuse victims, but opposes this retroactive expansion of the right to bring a claim against a third party because it only applies to private and nonproft entities while preserving immunity for public/governmental entities. If victim redress is really the focus, then every entity ought to be subject to the same suspension of the statute of limitations.

SB 131 provides that the current time limitations to commence an action for recovery for damages suffered from childhood sexual abuse be applied retroactively to any claim that has not been adjudicated to finality on the merits as of January 1, 2014. It retroactively extends by one year the time for which a cause of action can be filed against a private or nonprofit entity affiliated with the alleged perpetrator, while doing nothing to retroactively extend the time if the alleged perpetrator was affiliated with a public entity (e.g., public schools, universities, and local government agencies). This unequal treatment of victims and third-party defendants is unfair, particularly when the majority of children in the state attend public schools. All defendants deserve equal benefit under the law. Additionally, SB 131 does not extend the statute of limitations to claims against the actual perpetrator. 

For the above reasons, AICCU urges the Committee to oppose SB 131."


Lucky2087 said...

May be if you look at the history of the behavior and accountability that exists between public and private entities, you will see the relevance of my argument. This is fair given the history of the differences between public and private institutions. Public schools and teachers have been held to a higher standard of care when it comes to the protection of children and reporting of child sexual abuse, than have the clergy and private youth[-]serving institutions. Teachers were mandated reporters in the State of California decades before clergy, who became mandatory reporters only in 1997. Public institutions are subject to greater transparency, under laws such as the Freedom of Information Act, where they are required to make certain information available to the public and the media. Not so for private institutions. In fact the Catholic Church and many other religious institutions have argued vehemently that they do not have to make any disclosure of what they know and have known because, they argue, the First Amendment to the Constitution protects them from such disclosure.
We have seen the difference this has made. The Catholic Church has defiantly refused to make public the documents it has of the depth and breadth of its knowledge for decades of the scourge of clergy child sexual abuse within its institution. Even after agreeing to make these documents public as part of large group settlements, it has taken six years of ongoing litigation by steadfast plaintiffs’ lawyers against the Diocese of San Diego and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, to force the public disclosure of these documents under court order.

A Shepherd's Voice said...

No problem. Include public entities in SB 131 and I would have no problem supporting it.