California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218 into law which extends the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits until the survivor turns 40 years old.
The law previously required that child sexual abuse lawsuits had to be filed before the survivor turned 26 years old, or within three years of discovery of the abuse.
The law also provides a three-year window for survivors to file a lawsuit against the perpetrators, regardless of when the abuse occurred.
The changes go into effect on January 1, 2020. The law also specifically lifts time-limits for filing lawsuits against George Tyndall, a former gynecologist at the University of Southern California (USC) who has been accused of abusing hundreds of women during exams.
A few weeks ago, a similar law went into effect in New York, opening a one-year window for adults up to the age of 55 years old to file sex abuse lawsuits that were previously time-barred. Over 400 lawsuits were filed on the first day.
Lawyers say the Roman Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America and other institutions may face a flood of sexual abuse lawsuits.
About 1,000 lawsuits were filed when California lifted the statute of limitations for one year in 2003, according to attorney John Manly, who represents multiple survivors of Tyndall and the USA Gymnastics sexual abuse scandals.