Jeff Anderson
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As a young teen I was sexually abused by a teacher at a Catholic high school in California. While the abuse was an unspeakable tragedy, what wounded me even more was officials at my school and Parish knew I was being abused, but did nothing to stop it. Incredibly, when the teacher who abused me went on to abuse other girls, school officials tried to blame me.

It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized what happened to me was a crime and that it wasn’t my fault. However, when I went to church officials in search of justice, they refused to tell me the truth–and since I was legally beyond the statute of limitations for reporting the crime, I became frustrated and angry.

But in 2003, when the California legislature passed historic legislation that provided victims of sexual abuse a one year window of opportunity to obtain justice and accountability through civil courts, I had renewed hope. Filing my lawsuit in 2003 was the most empowering moment of my life; it helped me learn the extent of the cover-up of my abuse, and finally, begin a journey from tragedy to triumph.
When my case settled, I gained access to more than 200 pages of secret documents, including a signed confession by the man who abused me; statements by school and church officials with admissions that they knew about my abuse and the abuse of other girls by the same teacher; and evidence that school officials, even when they knew of the man’s predatory history, had done nothing to protect us.

Today I am a proud survivor who works tirelessly every day in states like California and Hawaii to help those who are still suffering in silence and made to think that they are to blame. If you were abused as a child in Hawaii, your legislature and governor are giving you a unique opportunity to begin your journey of healing and justice and in the process help prevent future abuse. From my own experience, I can tell you that the journey is possible.

– Joelle Casteix
As a victim of sexual abuse as an altar boy in Los Angeles, Manny Vega was 35 years old when he was able to summon the courage to seek justice and accountability for the harm he suffered as a child. As is the case in most states, a statute of limitations stood in his way. However, Manny didn’t give up. He spoke out and continued to work with other altar boys who had been abused to show lawmakers how legislation to limit access to the courts and deprived people like him of justice. Manny successfully lobbied the California Legislature to pass a law in 2003 that lifted the statute of limitations in sexual abuse lawsuits for one year. Manny’s efforts and the efforts of many concerned citizens resulted in California passing the first “Window Law” in the country, giving hundreds of victims of childhood sexual abuse access to the courts to obtain justice, accountability and compensation—and just as important—protect other children by raising public awareness of the sexual abuse of children.

Since California’s ground breaking action, other states, including Delaware and Hawaii, began considering and passing similar laws expanding statutes of limitation for people abused as children.


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