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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Oregon's landmark child abduction law has its roots in a Mormon kidnapping

February 18, 2015

Shortly before the Oregon House voted to name ORS 30.868 "Aaron's Law", I saw former Governor Ted Kulongoski in the corridor, and he graciously signed this photo of himself signing Senate Bill 1041 into law ten years ago. SB 1041 was sponsored by Senator Avel Louise Gordly, standing beside the Governor in the photo.

A short time after Governor Kulongoski and I spoke, the House voted 59-0 to remember Aaron Cruz forever....

78th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2015 Regular Session

House Bill 2603

Sponsored by Representative SMITH WARNER (Presession filed.)


Provides that ORS 30.868, regarding civil damages for custodial interference, shall be known and may be cited as “Aaron’s Law.”


Relating to citation of ORS 30.868.

Whereas during the 2005 regular session, the Seventy-third Legislative Assembly passed Senate Bill 1041, sponsored by Senator Avel Gordly, which became chapter 841, Oregon Laws 2005, and was codified as ORS 30.868; and

Whereas with the enactment of Senate Bill 1041, Oregon became the first state in the nation where abducting a child creates a civil cause of action; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 is the culmination of the work of the 2004 Interim Task Force on Parental and Family Abductions and of Senator Gordly’s chief of staff, Sean Aaron Cruz; and

Whereas Sean Aaron Cruz’s own four children disappeared from Oregon in 1996; and

Whereas Sean Aaron Cruz’s eldest son, Aaron Cruz, died in Utah in April 2005 as a consequence of the abduction, inspiring the Legislative Assembly to act on Senate Bill 1041; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 passed 26-3 in the Senate and 59-0 in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by Governor Theodore R. Kulongoski on September 2, 2005; and

Whereas Senate Bill 1041 is referred to as “Aaron’s Law” by members of the legal community, including presenters at the State Family Law Advisory Committee’s Family Law Conference; and

Whereas designating Senate Bill 1041 as “Aaron’s Law” is a fitting tribute to the memory of Aaron Cruz, whose death was not in vain; now, therefore,

Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:

SECTION 1. ORS 30.868 shall be known and may be cited as “Aaron’s Law.”

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