March 21, 2018
By Kayla Goggin
A legislative effort to bolster Georgia’s Hidden Predator Act by granting additional protections to victims of childhood sexual assault is under fire by Atlanta’s Catholic Archdiocese and the Boy Scouts of America.
The organizations object to the inclusion of language in the bill allowing victims to sue “entities,” including churches, private schools and youth organizations. Under Georgia’s current laws, organizations are able to escape legal liability for protecting the alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse.
The bill could expose organizations to increased financial liability as well.
House Bill 605 would extend the statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual assault, allowing adults up to the age of 38 to sue alleged perpetrators and their employers for sexual abuse. Currently, the Hidden Predator Act only offers protections to adults up to the age of 23.
The bill makes allowances for certain situations in which victims of any age could sue alleged perpetrators and the organizations accused of covering up their crimes.
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