April 29, 2005

Dowling School Officials Respond to Abuse Allegations


West Des Moines, April 28th - A former Dowling High School student is accusing his former priest of sexual abuse. Tonight, Dowling is responding to the allegations.

John Chambers alleges that he was sexually abused while attending the school in the 1960's. Dowling is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit. But the school's president did respond to the case, saying the school has a strict set of procedures to ensure sex abuse does not happen at the school.

That abuse allegedly happened 37 years ago. So how can Chambers file a lawsuit over something that happened more than 3 decades ago? It's because of a statute known as a "repressed memory clause." It basically says that a person has four years to file a lawsuit from the time they realize they were harmed. Attorney Mark Pennington says there is a problem with trying repressed memory cases. Often, so much time has gone by that the accusations are hard to prove.

Posted by kshaw at April 29, 2005 08:00 AM