In a ruling yesterday, the California Court of Appeal ruled that if a victim of child sexual abuse received counseling from the Catholic Church during the time that victim had an active statute (2003, or earlier, depending on the case), that victim may have new civil rights to seek justice, expose their perpetrator, and get accountability in the courts.
It’s complicated to explain, but this ruling opens the doors for victims who received counseling in 2003 (when California had a civil window for older cases of abuse), but didn’t file a case, because they didn’t know about the law, were confused, or thought that church officials had their best interests at heart. In some cases, the church cut off victims’ counseling completely as soon as the window closed.
Many victims thought that the church was really trying to help them, when instead, officials were just trying to keep them placated until their civil rights ran out. Because of that, predators were able to escape justice, and valuable evidence about sex abuse and cover-up was hidden from public view.
You can read the ruling here.
Kudos to Anthony DeMarco for this tremendous win on behalf of victims.