What Everyone Should Know About California's New AB 218 Law
March 18, 2022
After the passage and enactment of Assembly Bill (AB) 218, which took effect on January 1, 2020, any victim of childhood sexual abuse – redefined as childhood sexual assault in the legislation – can file a legal claim during a three-year “lookback” window that closes on December 31, 2022, regardless of the age of the victim or how long ago the assault took place.
AB 218 also extends the overall statute of limitations for filing childhood sexual assault claims to age 40, or as it is worded, for 22 years after attaining the age of majority. A clause also states, “or within five years of the date the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual assault, whichever period expires later…”
In other words, a childhood sexual assault victim has a lengthy window to file a lawsuit for abuse that occurred before turning 18 years of age.
If you or a loved one is being sued for childhood sexual assault in or around Oakland, California, contact Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office immediately.
As a former prosecutor, I have experience working on both sides of the court, and I bring a perspective of compassion and understanding to all my cases. I will work with you to develop a strong defense of your rights and fight aggressively for the best possible outcome.
I proudly serve clients not only throughout Oakland, but also in the surrounding communities of Alameda County, Northern California, San Francisco, and the Bay Area.
Overview of AB 218
Assembly Bill 218 opened a window for any victim of childhood sexual assault to bring a civil suit, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place. The three-year window closes at the end of 2022, but the legislation also allows for civil suits by victims up to the age of 40, with some elasticity for discovering psychological injury or illness at a later age.
AB 218 also redefines “child sexual abuse” as “childhood sexual assault” and expands the definition to include sexual conduct as described under Penal Code Section 311.4(d)(1), which “means any of the following, whether actual or simulated: sexual intercourse, oral copulation, anal intercourse, anal oral copulation, masturbation, bestiality, sexual sadism, sexual masochism, penetration of the vagina or rectum by any object in a lewd or lascivious manner, exhibition of the genitals or pubic or rectal area for the purpose of sexual stimulation of the viewer, any lewd or lascivious sexual act as defined in Section 288, or excretory functions performed in a lewd or lascivious manner, whether or not any of the above conduct is performed alone or between members of the same or opposite sex or between humans and animals. An act is simulated when it gives the appearance of being sexual conduct.”
AB 218 also allows for treble damages in the case of a cover-up, which is defined as “a concerted effort to hide evidence relating to childhood sexual assault.” The cover-up could be by an institution or a person, and if proven, any damages awarded for childhood sexual assault will be tripled.
In short, AB 218 greatly expands the rights of persons abused in childhood to bring the perpetrator(s) to civil accountability.
Before this bill became law, a victim must have filed a civil suit by age 26. After that, the statute of limitations prevented action. Now, a victim has at least until age 40, or within five years of developing a psychological injury or illness, which means the victim could be older than 40. There is also a “lookback window” for any childhood sexual assault victim of any age that closes on December 31, 2022.
Get Experienced Legal Advocacy Today
If you are being sued for childhood sexual assault, you need strong legal representation and advocacy. If you’re in the greater Oakland or San Francisco area, contact Darryl A. Stallworth Law Office immediately. Let’s meet, discuss your situation, and develop a strong legal defense of your rights.