600 Sex Abuse Lawsuits Expected to Hit Northern CA Dioceses in New Window for Accusers

NBC Bay Area

February 18, 2021

By Candice Nguyen and Michael Bott

For the first time, attorneys representing hundreds of alleged sexual abuse victims against the Catholic Church say they have an idea of how many new accusers have come forward since a recent law opened a window for new lawsuits based on older allegations to proceed in court.

Hundreds of people accusing Northern California priests and clergy of sexually abusing them as children are coming forward for the first time, enabled by a recent law allowing new lawsuits to be filed based on older allegations that were previously barred by the statute of limitations.

Assembly Bill 218, signed by Governor Newsom back in 2019, opened a three-year window beginning in January 2020 for the new lawsuits to be filed. A similar one-year window was opened by state lawmakers back in 2003.

Now, for the first time, attorneys handling those cases have a clear picture of how many alleged victims are taking advantage of the new window so far. If plaintiffs are successful in court, it could deal a staggering financial blow to Catholic dioceses across the state.

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