3/28/18: Georgia’s Sexual Abuse Law Should Protect Children, Not #EntitiesToo

By Emma Hetherington, Director of the Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic

After the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, victims of child sexual abuse and their advocates have been hopeful that they were finally being heard. The public outcry over Nassar’s crimes, along with the #metoo movement, has led to the introduction of new legislation throughout the country that protects victims from abusers and the organizations that harbor them.

In Georgia, the State House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 605 (“HB 605”), which would increase the age by which a victim can file a claim from 23 to 38 and allow a one-year retroactive window under which victims who were previously barred from filing claims could sue their abusers and entities who knew or should have known about the abuse.

Amendments passed in the Senate, however, have threatened to significantly weaken the bill in crucial ways. This has led to a showdown today at the Capitol as proponents of the House version fight for its survival.

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Georgia Senate Changes to Hidden Predator Act Leaves Victims Behind (March 26, 2018)

Senate Version of Hidden Predator Act Leaves Victims Behind


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Below are listed the courageous Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse who summoned the strength and courage to come forward and, through testimony, telephone calls, and emails, pleaded with the Georgia Legislature for a shot at justice.

They came forward with their horrifying stories of abuse and the lifetime of harm left for them to deal with and asked for a chance to seek justice from the Sexual Predators and the Entities that had information about the Predators yet failed to take any action to protect Georgia’s children.

Childhood Sexual Abuse has been described as a form of Murder because it literally Kills the Soul of the Victim.

The Georgia Legislature was provided the very real scientific evidence that shows the average victim is not able to come forward until age 42.[1]  Here in Georgia, the average age of the victim asking the Legislature for a chance at justice is 48.[2]  When the Hidden Predator Act of 2015 was passed, this Legislature included a two-year window within which Victims could sue Sexual Predators (without limitations).  At that time, Victims asked for the chance to sue the Entities that literally hid these Predators from Victims, their families, the appropriate authorities, and the public.

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Strengthening Georgia’s Hidden Predator Act – 2018

Georgia Legislature 2018: Strengthening the Hidden Predator Act

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Sexual abuse and sexual harassment stories have exploded into the headlines over the past year. But while these stories have been getting more attention of late, the problem is not a new one. A part of our practice focuses on childhood sexual abuse cases that often go back decades, working with people who have claims against individuals, churches, nonprofit organizations, and schools.

Our focus for this legislative session has been to work with our representatives to amend Georgia’s Hidden Predator Act. Key among our goals is to modify the legislation so that it appropriately applies to entities that breed, foster, and then hide their knowledge about the individuals responsible for these horrendous acts.

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Opioid Abuse, Impact on Taxpayers, Legal Options

By Darren Penn, Penn Law

Darren Penn

Our nation’s opioid epidemic has taken an incredible jump in the last few years. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2016 there were 1,394 drug overdose deaths just in Georgia. As the number of overdoses increases, so does the cost for state and local governments to fight the abuse.

Taxpayer costs include: expenses for first responders, law enforcement, the judicial system, treatment centers, and at an alarming rate, coroners. Most of these costs are not typically included in county, city, and state budgets. And, even if they are the line item is never enough to cover the increasing costs.

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