Bill Kills Secret Settlements in Sex Cases

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has not been friendly to Democrats’ frequent efforts to pry open the contents of secret settlements. But late Wednesday he signed into law AB 2875, which bans secrecy in settlements stemming from a felony sex offense.

The bill was inspired in part by the recent, high-profile flood of sexual abuse claims made against Catholic clergy and the quiet settlements with the Church that followed.

The governor’s signature is a big victory for the Consumer Attorneys of California, which deemed AB 2875 “one of the most important consumer right-to-know bills introduced this session.” CAOC’s incoming president, Ray Boucher, has filed more than 100 sex abuse cases against parishes on behalf of clients.

The new law will still allow settlement parties to shield personal information, such as medical histories, and the amount of any cash award.

Cheryl Miller

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