New California law allows more time for child sexual abuse survivors to file claims

Bay Area

FREMONT (KRON) — The Catholic Church is front and center once again facing legal trouble involving alleged child sexual abuse and a reported cover up.  

This is on the heels of a new bill signed into law opening the door for victims whose cases were too old to file claims.

“I am ecstatic, I have been waiting for more than 40 years for this.”

This is Donna Stone, she and two other women filing suit against the catholic church, thanks to a new bill just signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“This will give me a voice, and others and allow healing,” she said. 

Stone says her sexual abuse involving Mounsignor Vincent Ignacio Breen started when she 11.

The monsignor worked at Holy Spirit School in Fremont.

“No one believed, and I spoke out, and nothing happened,” she said. 

Stone says the abuse continued for years — a similar story for the other two women.  

While eventually there were police investigations and the Alameda District Attorney involved, no criminal charges were ever brought against Monsignor Breen.

 Instead, the women say the facts show the church covered up his crimes.

Time went by, and the statute of limitations expired for the women, but now that has changed.  

AB218 gives survivors of childhood sexual assault, regardless of age, a three year window to bring civil lawsuit against any perpetrator employer or third party. 

While some such as the California School Boards Association are arguing this will face a flood of lawsuits and could force bankruptcies of many institutions, Stone has a rebuttal. 

“Well, they should not have covered it up then,” Stone said. 

The three are asking for damages due to physical and mental pain and suffering.

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