Victims of the East Area Rapist, the serial killer suspected in at least 12 murders and 51 rapes throughout California decades ago, were thrust into the spotlight when police in April arrested Joseph James DeAngelo.
Now, they could receive compensation for new trauma related to the arrest.
Usually, crime victims have just three years after a crime to seek compensation from the California Victim Compensation Board. But new language added to Senate Bill 858, a budget bill, would allow East Area Rapist victims to receive compensation now that a suspect has been identified.
Under the bill, victims who incurred emotional harm or a monetary loss as a result of the arrest would have until Dec. 31, 2019, to apply for compensation, which they can do by calling 1-800-777-9229 or visiting www.victims.ca.gov.
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The board administers the State Restitution Fund, which generates most of its revenue from restitution, penalties and fees paid by criminal offenders, according to its website.
Board spokeswoman Janice Mackey said the language was proposed by the board and the state of California "in recognition of the difficulties that victims may experience in receiving benefits from our program given the delay in the identification and apprehension of the Golden State Killer," another term for the East Area Rapist.
H.D. Palmer, spokesman for the state Department of Finance, said the compensation board has received inquiries from 25 victims from around Northern California and anticipates more to come.
Palmer said Sacramento County created a tip line about the East Area Rapist and has received "many calls from previously unknown victims who were victimized during the period." The compensation board estimates 50 direct victims and 12 family members would be paid, he said.
The bill will be considered by the Senate and Assembly budget committees on Wednesday, Palmer said.
The amount of money victims could receive is unknown, Palmer said, "as it depends on the emotional harm and pecuniary losses that are claimed and approved by the board."
Mackey said the amount depends on how much money the board offered for compensation at the time of the original crime. In 1974, the maximum amount was $10,000, which increased to $46,000 in 1986, she said.
Editor's note: This story was corrected on June 13 to clarify that the maximum reimbursement allowed per application depends on the amount the board offered at the time the crime was committed.