Bishop Accountability
  [Description of SB 1779]

SB 1779 (Burton) Statute of limitations: childhood sexual abuse. This bill seeks to ensure that victims severely damaged by childhood sexual abuse are able to seek compensation from those responsible. The bill provides that the extended statute of limitations in childhood sexual abuse cases against a third party not the perpetrator of the sexual abuse extends beyond age 26 of the victim, when the third party knew, had reason to know, or was otherwise on notice, of unlawful sexual conduct by an employee, volunteer, representative or agent and failed to take reasonable steps and to implement reasonable safeguards to avoid acts of unlawful sexual conduct by that individual in the future. The bill also provides that "reasonable steps" and "reasonable safeguards" includes, but is not limited to, preventing or avoiding placement of that person in a function or environment in which contact with children is an inherent part of that function or environment. The bill states that providing or requiring counseling is not sufficient, in and of itself, to constitute a reasonable step or reasonable safeguard. The bill applies retroactively and provides victims of childhood sexual abuse a one-year window to bring an action against a third party, as provided above, when that claim would otherwise be barred solely because the statute of limitations has or had expired, and a cause of action is commenced within one year of January 1, 2003. Finally, the bill provides that this revival of claims would not apply to any claim that had been litigated to finality on the merits or in which a written, compromised settlement agreement had been entered into, as specified. Status: Chapter 149, 2002.

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