February 16, 2005

Judges hear arguments in sex-abuse suit

Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O’Reilly

A lawyer for 18 adults who allege they were sexually abused as children by archdiocesan priests asked an appeals court Wednesday afternoon to establish a right for such victims to sue the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

Berks County lawyer Jay Abramowitch told a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court that lower court judges should no longer be allowed to automatically bar an adult from suing a diocese for abuse, simply because it happened many years ago.

Abramowitch argued that state law requires a jury - not a judge - to decide whether a diocese unlawfully concealed its role in allowing a priest to abuse, or played on the victim's trust, or interfered with the victim's prompt reporting of abuse.

The archdiocese's lawyer urged the court not to overturn, however, arguing that Pennsylvania's statute of limitations bars abuse victims from suing after so many years.

Posted by kshaw at February 16, 2005 05:14 PM