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Name: People v. Brown
Case #: A144372
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/23/2018
Summary

For purposes of extending the statute of limitations for certain sex offenses (former Pen. Code, § 803, subd. (g)), a report of sexual abuse made to law enforcement by a person or agency other than the victim does not constitute a report by the victim, even if that report is based on the victim’s allegations of abuse. In December 2012, when she was 32 years old, Jane Doe told police that Brown sexually abused her over the course of two years when she was a minor. Doe’s mother had previously reported the abuse to police in 1994 when Doe was not present, but the police did not follow up. In November 1994, Doe and her mother also reported the abuse to CPS, and CPS cross-reported the abuse to the police. In February 2013, after Doe’s direct report, Brown was charged with six counts of lewd acts upon Doe (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)) and sex offenses against two other victims. Brown filed several motions arguing the statute of limitations barred the counts involving Doe, which the trial court denied. He was convicted and appealed, raising the statute of limitations issue. Held: Affirmed. Former section 803, subdivision (g) provided an extension of the statute of limitations for certain sex offenses (including section 288). Under specified circumstances, a criminal complaint may be filed within one year of a report to a law enforcement agency by a person alleging she was the victim of a specified sex offense when she was a minor. The Court of Appeal here concluded that the counts involving Doe were not barred by the statute of limitations because the one-year extension began to run when Doe personally reported the abuse to police in December 2012. The mother’s report to police in 1994 did not qualify because “[a] report by a person other than a victim to law enforcement is not a report by the victim” as required by the statute. Further, there is no applicable agency relationship between the child victim and parent under former section 803, subdivision (g). Also, the CPS report did not qualify because it was not made to law enforcement, but a social worker. [Editor’s Note: A substantially similar version of the one-year statute of limitations extension now appears in Pen. Code, § 803, subd. (f), but the former version of the statute applied in this case.]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A144372.PDF