Council Meeting: May 25, 2005
To: Mayor and City Council
From: City Staff
Subject: Request of the Commission on the
Status of Women that the
report transmits a request from the Santa Monica Commission on the Status of
Women (COSW) to secure City Council support of SB 33, the Circle of Trust Bill,
which closes loopholes in
In keeping with other legislation mandating family reunification, if at all possible, in cases of child abuse and neglect, in 1981 the State legislature codified preferential treatment for intrafamilial child sexual abuse in three main statutes. Penal Code 1203.066 contains a sentencing loophole for family members, waiving prison sentences, even for severe and ongoing sexual abuse, if the victim lives in the perpetrator’s household. Similar preferential treatment exclusively for incest perpetrators is contained in PC 1000.12 and 1000.13, allowing “deferred entry of judgment” followed by dropping of all charges. These are used in conjunction with PC 285, the incest statute, to significantly lighten the penalty for people who sexually abuse children to whom they are related.
Briefly, SB 33 will:
· End preferential treatment for persons found guilty of continuous sexual abuse of or lewd and lascivious acts upon children who are related to the perpetrator (amends PC 1203.066, PC 288.1 and PC 667.61);
· End preferential treatment for persons found guilty of incest against children to whom they are related (amends PC 285); and
· End preferential treatment for persons found guilty of sexually abusing children to whom they are related, and close the loophole that allows perpetrators to have all record of their conviction erased by attending a treatment program (amends PC 1000.12 and repeals 1000.13).
earlier version of SB 33, AB 1803, was introduced in 2004 and did not advance
out of the Public Safety Committee.
State Senator Jim Battin (
The California Department of Justice estimates that, since 1981, more than 60% (50,000) of those convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child (PC 288) and continuous sexual abuse of a child (PC 288.5), have served no time in state prison because they were related to the child who was abused. The other 40% of those convicted of the same crimes served mandatory three or six year terms in state prison because they were not related to the child.
At its February 9, 2005 meeting, the COSW voted to request that the City Council formally support SB 33. The COSW is deeply concerned that children who are sexually abused by a family member do not have the same protections as those who are victimized by non-family members. The changes to existing statutes close the “family loophole” and clarify existing law to place those convicted of sexually abusing children in their own family at the same penalty level as those convicted of sexually abusing children to whom they are not related.
2002, similar bills have been passed in
The recommendation presented in this report does not have any budget or financial impact.
The Commission on the Status of Women recommends that the City Council take action supporting SB 33 and direct City Staff to communicate this support to the appropriate parties.
Prepared by: Barbara Stinchfield, Director
Julie Rusk, Human Services Division Manager
Janet Hand, Senior Administrative Analyst, Human Services Division
Community and Cultural Services Department, for the Commission on the Status of Women