April 13, 2005

Priest abuse victims want more time

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: April 12, 2005

Fond du Lac - The state Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in a case that could make it easier for people abused by priests to sue the church.

The suit arose out of the alleged abuse of at least 10 children in the 1960s and 1970s by Father George Nuedling, who died in 1994. In 2002, the 10 sued the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, alleging negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud.

In July 2003, the state Court of Appeals agreed with a lower court that the suit could not move forward because the statute of limitations had expired. The plaintiffs, who attended Milwaukee-area churches where Nuedling pastored some 40 years ago, claimed they were abused between the ages of 9 and 14. State law at the time required them to take legal action within a year of turning 21.

The statute of limitations and a new state law that gives child sexual abuse survivors more time to take legal action were topics of discussion Tuesday. The case was heard in Fond du Lac as part of a "traveling court" program designed to make the Supreme Court more accessible to citizens.

The suit was filed in 2002 because that is when the plaintiffs discovered evidence that the Archdiocese had known about Nuedling's pedophilia for at least 20 years, according to Pennsylvania attorney Marci Hamilton, who argued for the plaintiff.

Posted by kshaw at April 13, 2005 07:30 AM