HONOLULU – A Republican proposal to make state and county entities subject to the same liability as private organizations in child sexual abuse cases and provide equal protection to public school victims of sexual abuse was defeated today by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
The Republican Caucus attempted to amend Senate Bill 2588 SD1 HD3 a bill which would extend the statute of limitations for civil actions brought by persons subjected to sexual offenses as a minor if the abuse took place in a non-government entity. The Republican amendment would have extended the statute of limitations for child victims of sexual abuse in government entities as well.
The introducer of the amendment, Rep. Gil Riviere of Oahu’s North Shore said, “I ask, is there a difference if a child is molested in a public school? Is that different from a child being molested in a private school? You all know the answer. There is no difference to the trauma brought to the child. There can be no justification for excluding the state.”
A previous draft, Senate Bill 2588 SD1 HD2, explicitly included the state and counties in the extended statute of limitations. However, that version failed to pass out of the House Finance Committee and was amended to explicitly exclude the state and counties.
“True leaders would not exempt themselves from a law they are creating for others to follow,” said Rep. Kymberly Pine, Minority Floor Leader. “This biased legislation demonstrates a lack of transparency and leadership by the Majority.”
This measure is just one of a variety of exemptions for government entities proposed this year.
“Today, the Majority in the House voted to exempt government from environmental laws, permitting laws and other laws that it has imposed on private entities, but this instance is the most egregious,” said Rep. Gene Ward, House Minority Leader. “There is no reason for a child sexual abuse case that takes place in a government entity to be treated more leniently than one that takes place in a non-government entity.”