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What You Need to Know about Title IX

Sexual assault is the crime of touching another person’s private parts without that person’s consent, either with or without the use of force.

Sexual assault is the crime of touching another person’s private parts without that person’s consent, either with or without the use of force. Sexual assault is a heinous offense that can have long-lasting physical, mental and emotional consequences for a survivor. In California, the sexual assault laws were recently changed to give victims of child sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits against their perpetrators.

Eliminated Statute of Limitations on Child Sexual Abuse Claims

On October 10, 2023, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law that will effectively eliminate the statute of limitations on child sexual assault civil lawsuits in California. A statute of limitations is a filing deadline put in place by state law. If a claimant misses the statute of limitations to bring a claim, he or she will most likely lose the right to seek a financial recovery through the civil justice system.

Assembly Bill (AB) 452 will take effect on January 1, 2024. After this, there will be no statute of limitations on a child sexual abuse or assault lawsuit in California. A survivor will be able to sue a child sexual predator no matter how many years have passed from the date of the crime. While it will not retroactively apply to cases prior to 2024, it will apply to all civil child sexual abuse allegations moving forward.

Prior to the signing of the new law, California’s deadline on child sexual abuse cases was the victim’s 40th birthday (22 years from reaching the age of majority) or five years from the date that a connection between a mental health disorder and child sexual abuse was discovered – whichever is later. This law, AB 218, extended the prior statute of limitations, which was age 26 (eight years from reaching the age of majority). The new law is the most favorable for child sexual assault survivors in California’s history.

Expanded Definition of Child Sexual Assault

On October 13, 2023, Senate Bill (SB) 558 was passed to expand California’s definition of childhood sexual assault. This law amended Sections 311.1 and Section 311.2 of the California Penal Code to broaden the state’s definition of child sexual assault and abuse. 

Under the new law, child sexual assault now includes “acts involving depictions of a child involved in obscene sexual conduct in a variety of materials.” This includes knowingly possessing, producing, publishing or distributing any materials – digital or physical – depicting an individual under the age of 18 engaging in or simulating sexual acts.

The Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act

AB 2777 was another bill, passed in 2022, that updated California’s sexual assault laws for 2023 and beyond. Named the “Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act,” it amended the existing statute of limitations (Section 340.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure) to state that the 10-year deadline on adult sexual assault and abuse cases will apply retroactively to incidents that occurred prior to January 1, 2019. 

It also provided a three-year window, which ends on December 31, 2025, when survivors can file claims for sexual assaults that occurred on or after January 1, 2009. In addition, AB 2777 holds institutions and entities accountable for attempting to cover up known occurrences of sexual assault, meaning to actively hide evidence to keep these crimes a secret.

This aspect of the bill was in direct response to the #MeToo movement. It provided a one-year window, which ended on December 1, 2023, where survivors could file claims that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations if the sexual assault was covered up by an entity. This amendment gave survivors an opportunity to seek institutional accountability for suffering caused by its attempt to cover up known sexual abuse incidents.

California’s laws are constantly evolving. For up-to-date information about the sexual assault laws that may apply to your individual case, request a free, confidential consultation with a Los Angeles sexual abuse attorney at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi.Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and gender in education programs and activities. Discrimination refers to treating someone adversely based on a protected class, such as sex, gender, gender expression, disability, age or religion. If you are a student, it is important to know how Title IX protects you from discrimination and what to do if your Title IX rights are violated.

When Was Title IX Enacted?

Title IX was enacted on June 23, 1972, as part of the Education Amendments. It states that no person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. 

Title IX is a federal law that covers gender and gender identity discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic violence. It has been paramount in promoting gender equity in education, including admissions, sports, financial aid, academic programs and extracurricular activities. It has also helped prevent incidents of sexual assault and abuse in schools.

What Are a School’s Responsibilities Under Title IX?

Title IX requires public schools, private schools, colleges and universities to take certain steps to prevent, detect and address sex-based discrimination and harassment. Schools must have policies and procedures in place to help students report sexual discrimination or assault. School administrators must take prompt and effective action to respond to reports of Title IX violations brought forth by students. These actions should be fair and provide due process for all parties involved.

All schools must designate a Title IX coordinator who is in charge of overseeing the educational facility’s compliance with federal requirements. It is the coordinator’s responsibility to receive complaints and ensure that the proper response is issued by the school. The school should conduct regular assessments of its policies to ensure compliance. If a school is found to be non-compliant with the requirements of Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights can penalize the institution, such as by withdrawing federal funding.

How Do I Report a Title IX Violation?

If you are a victim of a Title IX violation, your school should have clear steps outlined that you can take to report the incident. Start by finding the contact information for your school’s Title IX coordinator. Typically, this is posted on the school’s website or official school documents related to Title IX policies. You may need to contact your school’s administrator for assistance. 

Reach out to the coordinator and provide relevant information about what happened, including the individuals involved and whether there were any witnesses. The school should conduct an investigation into your complaint and take prompt action to protect you from further sexual assault. Be prepared to cooperate with the investigation as much as possible.

The school should have a process in place for deciding if the accused person is guilty of a Title IX violation and how to proceed if so, such as suspending or expelling the student. In the meantime, seek mental health support from a guidance counselor.

If you or a loved one has been sexually abused or assaulted at school, contact the sexual abuse attorneys at Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for a free and confidential Title IX case evaluation. You may be able to recover financial compensation for your losses.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi is regarded as America's leading law firm for sexual abuse cases. As a firm that exclusively handles sexual abuse cases, our California law firm offers experienced representation to obtain justice for sexual abuse survivors, harassment, and discrimination.

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