Gov. Brown vetoes sex abuse bill for being unfair to private groups


Case in point: He recently vetoed seven gun-control measures.

More importantly for Catholics in California, he vetoed a bill which would have given those who were sexually victimized when they were minors the ability to sue against private institutions like the Catholic Church or the YMCA — indefinitely. That’s right, no statute of limitations.

In 2002, when California lawmakers wisely expanded the statute of limitation for sex abuse victims. And the Catholic Church did not oppose that bill. But the Church opposed this bill because it exempted public schools and other government institutions.

And that’s exactly why Governor Brown vetoed the bill:

“The children assaulted by Jerry Sandusky at Penn State or the teachers at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles are no less worthy because of the nature of the institution they attended,” Brown wrote, referring to two recent abuse scandals at public institutions.

The bill barely made its way through the very-liberal California Legislature, passing by three votes in the Assembly only after supporters gave it an extra hour to garner votes.

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson said, “Nobody believes that someone who has perpetrated sexual abuse, especially against a child, should escape accountability for that kind of behavior.” But he added, “Many of them were very torn between that first sense and that second sense of belief in, and loyalty to, institutions that they hold in high regard.”

Notice how Dickinson is making it seems like opponents of the bill are blindly loyal to the Church.

But Catholics and other peoples supported the 2002 bill which allowed over 1,000 lawsuits against the Catholic Church for failing to provide a safe environment and being negligent about dangerous persons.

But this bill, had it come law, would have treated victims of sex abuse differently if they were harmed by a public school teacher than if they were harmed by a church minister.

Why? Where’s the sense of justice and equity in that?

If you have five minutes, you should actually read Governor Brown’s three-page veto letter. It explains it all very clearly.

Given that there was so much filth in our Church, and so much cover-up — so much injustice and harm done to victims — some people might reflexively say that if the Catholic Church is against this bill then it must be a good bill.

But this bill was unjust. And it was right for the Governor to veto it.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Joshua Mercer is a co-founder of, where he serves as Political Director. Mercer is also regular contributor with Catholic Pulse. Mercer previously served as Washington Correspondent for the National Catholic Register and Chairman for Students for Life of America. He lives in Michigan with his wife and six children.

Leave A Reply