February 19, 2005

Statute tied hands in priest case

The Grand Rapids Press

Saturday, February 19, 2005
By Charles Honey
Press Religion Editor

GRAND RAPIDS -- Kent County prosecutors say they could not pursue an allegation of sexual abuse against a Grand Rapids area priest stemming from the 1970s, because the clock had long run out on the state statute of limitations.

The case involving the now-inactive priest has some officials calling for a relaxation of the statute, which they say ties prosecutors' hands and discourages victims from coming forward.

Assistant Prosecutor Helen Brinkman, who specializes in sexual-assault cases for the Kent County prosecutor's office, called the state limits "frustrating."

"For the protection of the public, not only that particular victim, sexual assaults against children deserve a longer statute of limitations than most crimes," Brinkman said.

Following the Grand Rapids Catholic Diocese's disclosure Friday of the new abuse allegation -- along with allegations against three deceased priests -- a state lawmaker said the Legislature should revisit the legal time limits

Posted by kshaw at February 19, 2005 05:51 AM