HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE
For Immediate Release
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Contact: Kevin Curry, 503-986-1351
DEMOCRATS BLOCK VOTE TO PROTECT
SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS RIGHTS IN CIVIL SUITS
SALEM, OR – A majority of House Democrats today blocked a vote on legislation which expands the statute of limitations for civil suits against sexual abusers who are public employees. HB 3541 brings the statutes more closely in-line with those that apply to non-governmental organizations. Presently, the statute of limitations for victims to bring a civil suit against public employees for sexual abuse is only two years, compared to a much longer statute of limitation for victims to seek restitution against an abuser who was employed in a private organization.
“This is about protecting our children and it makes no sense that abusers receive greater protection just because they are public employees,” said Rep. Julie Parrish (R – West Linn/Tualatin) who is the chief sponsor of the bill. “Children abused by priests, scout leaders or daycare workers have greater protection than those abused by a public employees. It is unconscionable that by virtue of being employed by the government an abuser would be shielded from civil restitution for abusing a child.”
Earlier in the session, Rep. Parrish brought HB 3478 which received a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. Testimony against the bill centered on the financial impacts which would be “crippling to public coffers” according to written testimony from Multnomah County. Other opposition came from Governor Kitzhaber’s Office, school boards, and special districts. The most damning testimony came from the Department of Justice who quantified an additional 20 victims per year would come forward if this legislation passed. The bill was watered-down and moved to the Ways and Means Committee to die.
“That the government can actually quantify how many additional sex abuse victims are out there who’ve been harmed by an adult working on behalf of Oregon makes my skin crawl,” Rep. Parrish said.