The Diocese of Santa Rosa is the largest Catholic Diocese between San Francisco and the Oregon border. In the church pictured, literally around the corner from the Fiumara & Milligan Santa Rosa offices, a former priest Xavier Ochoa-Perez sexually abused a number of minor children. Michael A.Fiumara successfully represented those children and their families against the powerful Diocese and won a pioneering $5 million settlement.
Beginning on January 1, 2020 victims of childhood sexual abuse and assault will have new rights to bring a civil damages lawsuit against their perpetrators, whether it is:
A priest, a coach, a camp counselor, a Boy Scout leader, a teacher, a doctor or a celebrity who sexually molested them before their 18th birthday. For the first time PUBLIC Entities can be sued under this new law recently signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom.
There are no words to describe the physical and mental torment that child sexual abuse survivors have had to endure over their lifetime. That is why California Assembly Bill 218 was passed to give survivors up to the age of 40 to file a claim. The law had previously only allowed survivors and victims to file a claim until age 26.
California’s Newly Enacted Child Victims Act—”A New Window to Justice”
On October 13, 2019, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218, a new state law that gives all survivors of childhood sexual abuse, regardless of their current age, a three year “window” to file a civil lawsuit for the abuse they suffered.
The bill also provides a window of three years for the revival of past claims that might have expired due to the statute of limitations. In addition, damages can be trebled in cases in which a child becomes a victim of sexual assault as the result of an effort to cover up past assaults.
Victims whose cases were previously dismissed for statute of limitations reasons can bring a new lawsuit.
Individuals who were abused at public institutions will now be able to file lawsuits against the organization without having to submit a notice of claim or notice of intention to file a claim under theCalifornia Tort Claims Act.
This LOCAL Law Firm’s Historic Dedication, Compassion and Experience Speaks for itself
The California child sexual abuse attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law are wholly dedicated to protecting the rights of sexual abuse victims and survivors and bringing those who have committed these atrocious acts to justice.
Mr. Fiumara marched with members of SNAP to the Sonoma County District Attorneys Office to demand that Bishop Walsh be criminally charged and held responsible for allowing Father Ochoa to escape to Mexico after sexually assaulting dozens of boys.
In 2007 Prior to this new liberalization and expansion of the law enacted by AB 218, Attorney Michael A. Fiumara fearlessly and singlehandedly took on the powerful Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa and got an excellent result for his firm’s 9 sexually abused clients.
Mr. Fiumara waged an unprecedented battle against the Bishop of Santa Rosa to be criminally charged. Eventually the Bishop was charged with a misdemeanor offense but got to participate in a Diversion Program only.
However, it was a psychological victory for our firm’s survivors and later it served as a precedence for the clergy in other jurisdictions to be criminally charged and jailed.
This new Law’s passage recognizes a more current scientific understanding of the psychology of childsexual abuse and how long it may take for some survivors and victims to recognize their trauma
Tragically, the true prevalence of childhood sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported. Experts generally agree, however, that the rate of incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.
This newly enacted law gives survivors more time to file legitimate claims to the proper authorities and to file civil monetary damages claims for compensation.
This change of the statute of limitations beginning on January 1, 2020 for Child Sexual Abuse can prove to be the catalyst to bringing many offenders to justice. Please let us help in a confidential and completely safe environment build a case for you if you were a victim.
At Fiumara & Milligan Law, we believe it is our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves.
If you or a loved one has suffered from any form of sexual abuse, do not hesitate to contact the California child sexual abuse lawyers at Fiumara & Milligan Law today at 707-571-8600 or online.
Our compassionate, caring, and experienced attorneys will apply AB 218, the new law to your situation and work diligently to uncover whether criminal charges, a civil lawsuit – or both – can be filed against the perpetrator or negligent third party who is responsible for the abuse.
We will seek the maximum compensation even three times the damages if we find that the sexual assaulted minor was abused as a result of a “cover up.”
Fiumara & Milligan Law is there for you during this difficult time.
Now, survivors and victims who have kept quiet for decades will be able to come forth with their stories and obtain the justice and recovery they deserve.
Let the California child sexual abuse attorneys at Fiumara & Milligan Law shoulder the weight of what should never had happened to you in the first place so that you can focus on healing.
Contact the committed, caring, and dedicated sexual abuse attorneys of Fiumara & Milligan Law at 707-571-8600, or reach out to us online for a free confidential case evaluation.
“The Right Attorney Makes All the Difference”
See NEWS COVERAGE on our church case win-CLICK HERE.