February 11, 2006

Is it fair to roll back statutes of limitations on sex-abuse cases?

UNITED STATES
Catholic Online

By Mary DeTurris Poust

2/10/2006

OSV

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (Our Sunday Visitor) -- Since the sexual-abuse crisis in the church came to a head in 2002, Catholics have been cowering in the corner, so overcome with media-induced guilt and shame that they are afraid to say anything that might imply that they aren't horrified by the abuse or saddened for its victims.

Now, however, as statute-of-limitations legislation springs up across the country like weeds after a spring rain, some church officials are saying that it's time for Catholics to get indignant - maybe even angry that the legislation is targeting Catholics and Catholics alone despite the fact that many other organizations and institutions have been beset by the same or even more despicable abuse issues.

The statute of limitations varies from state to state, but one thing is the same: The statute was created not by the church but by society to protect people from litigation years or even decades after an alleged offense was committed.

Memories fade with time, witnesses die, technology and standards change in ways that allow us to know things now that we didn't know a half-century ago, and monetary awards that would have been based on the standards of the time when the alleged crimes were committed skyrocket into a stratosphere beyond what any insurance policy or savings account could cover.

Posted by kshaw at February 11, 2006 08:50 AM