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UPDATE: California’s Senate Bill 131 Still Awaiting Signature

UPDATE: California’s Senate Bill 131 is still on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk awaiting signature. SB 131 faces strong opposition. Supporters, as well as critics, are making their opinions known to the governor. We’ll know by Oct. 11th – 30 calendar days from when the governor received the bill – if it becomes law.

Governor Brown has three options for SB 131: Veto the bill, sign it or let it become law without signing it.

SB 131 gives sexual-abuse survivors a one-year window of opportunity to file a civil suit previously time-barred by statute of limitations. Victims could file a case against their abuser or their abuser’s employer. The window to file such cases would be open from 2014-2015.

Stand up for sex-abuse victims in California. Call Gov. Brown’s office at: 916-445-2841 or email him via the governor’s website at:  http://govnews.ca.gov/gov39mail/mail.php.

Reform Legislation Aiding Sex-Abuse Victims Inches Forward in California

UPDATE: Reform legislation in California benefitting victims of childhood sexual abuse cleared a big hurdle earlier this week. And now there are two more steps to go before a significant bill becomes law.

Senate Bill 131 would give sexual-abuse survivors a one-year window of opportunity to file a civil suit previously time-barred by statute of limitations. Plaintiffs could file a case against their abuser or their abuser’s employer. The window to file such cases would be open from 2014-2015.

On Sept. 4, SB131 passed the California Assembly with 44 yeas, 15 nays and 19 abstaining from voting. The bill now heads back to the Senate for amendments to be voted upon. The bill needs  21 of 40 votes to be approved. The bill is expected to be voted upon by week’s end.

If the measure passes the Senate, it will advance to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk, where the governor has 30 days to sign it into law. If signed by the governor, the bill would take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

SB 131 has been one of the tougher fought pieces of statute-reform legislation in the country. The bill faced intense opposition from critics, who have argued that the bill unfairly singles out the Catholic church, the Boy Scouts, and other private and nonprofit employers and exposes them to lawsuits over decades-old allegations tough to defend in court. We see it as necessary for abuse victims, giving them a much-needed shot at justice for cases typically not prosecuted under criminal statutes. SB 131 was defeated earlier this session but eventually passed the Senate last month in a comeback vote.

We’ll continue to keep a close eye on SB 131. We were curious to see if Gov. Brown had a statement or has indicated how he’ll vote on this. So far, we’ve not heard back from the governor’s press office, so we’ll continue to keep an eye on this. SB 131 is watershed legislation for sexual-abuse victims and could lead the way for other states to follow.

Contact:

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, child sex-abuse attorney: 425-830-8201
Dan Fasy, child sex-abuse attorney: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

 

 

Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico is Set to File for Bankruptcy Protection as it Seeks to Address a Growing Number of Childhood Sexual-Abuse Cases

For sex abuse survivors from Northwestern New Mexico and Northern Arizona, now is the time to come forward.

We can help.

But time is of the essence. And it’s important to act promptly.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico has announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this month, faced with a growing number of child sexual-abuse claims against members of its clergy.

Those abused by Catholic clergy or employees of the Gallup Diocese may be able to file a claim in U.S. bankruptcy court.

However, these cases also come with a ticking time clock known as a “claims bar date.” After a deadline is set, abuse claims can be barred by statute of limitation.

The Diocese of Gallup has parishes in six counties in New Mexico, three counties in Arizona and at seven Native American reservations, including the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and parts of the Apache reservations. There have been a number of accused pedophile priests from this diocese, including Rev. Clement A. Hageman, Rev. Paul Sanchez and Rev. John T. Sullivan, according to Bishopaccountability.org, a watchdog group that tracks clergy sexual abuse.

On Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, Bishop James S. Wall read a letter to church-goers, telling them that in the face of insurmountable lawsuits the diocese saw few options but to seek protection from the courts, Catholic News Service reported.

“Given the financial circumstances of the diocese, I have come to the conclusion that the only fair, equitable and merciful way to balance these obligations is by filing a Chapter 11 reorganization,” Bishop said in a prepared statement.

The Gallup Diocese will be the ninth U.S. diocese or archdiocese to file for bankruptcy protection since 2004.

If you have been abused or have information about someone you know who has been abused, contact me at: dan@kosnoff.com. Or call our office at: 206-257-3590 or toll-free at: 855-LAW4CSA, 855-529-4272.

For further reading:

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news5/2013_09_03_Hardin_Burrola_Diocese_of_Gallup.htm

http://www.catholicsun.org/2013/09/03/diocese-of-gallup-n-m-poised-to-file-for-bankruptcy-protection/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/04/us-usa-church-abuse-idUSBRE98304G20130904

Contact:

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, child sex-abuse attorney: 425-830-8201
Dan Fasy, child sex-abuse attorney: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590