The Wilbanks Child Endangerment and Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Clinic is the first of its kind in the nation, representing survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation in civil litigation and juvenile court dependency matters. The clinic not only provides direct representation to survivors, but also serves as a teaching center as part of the University of Georgia School of Law.
Welcome to the Wilbanks CEASE Clinic
Our mission is to provide free, trauma-informed legal services to our clients in a supportive, professional environment as well as to educate and prepare the next generation of lawyers to represent survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation. As a resource center for survivors and attorneys who are seeking these claims, we form part of a movement that seeks justice for all survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation.
HB 17 Hidden Predator Act
In July of 2015, Georgia House Bill 17, also known as the Hidden Predator Act, provided a two-year window to revive civil cases that were previously barred under the old statute of limitations. The window allowed survivors of child sexual abuse and exploitation, who were previously locked out of the courts due to the old statue, to finally seek justice. CEASE filed 6 claims under the window, which closed on June 30, 2017, and continues to provide legal representation for survivors under Georgia's current statute of limitation.
Since the closing of the window, survivors in Georgia must file their claims by the age of 23, or if the abuse occurred on or after July 1, 2015, survivors can bring suit until age 23 or within 2 years of the discovery that the abuse caused the resulting harms.
Third-Year law student Devin Mashman presented oral argument before the Supreme Court of Georgia under the Law Student Practice Act. CEASE represents the Appellee, a woman who was abused by her parents throughout the entirety of her childhood, in the case of Harvey, et al. v. Merchan. The case involves questions of choice of law and the constitutionality of the Hidden Predator Act. A recording of the oral argument will be available on the Supreme Court of Georgia's website under the Feburary 4, 2021 archive.