March 16, 2005

Pa. appeals court ruling may help diocese block lawsuits

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

On the heels of an appellate court ruling that the statute of limitations bars lawsuits from those molested long ago by Catholic priests in Philadelphia, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is asking Allegheny County Common Pleas Court to dismiss identical cases here.

The lawsuits are not against the priests, some of whom are long dead. Instead they are against the diocese, claiming that bishops conspired to cover up abuse and that the victims only recently learned of the conspiracy.

A three-judge panel of the state Superior Court said Monday that even if officials of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia were guilty of "inexcusable conduct," the statute of limitations protected them from lawsuits filed long afterward.

One of the Philadelphia cases dated back to 1957, and the most recent case of alleged abuse to 1983. In Pittsburgh, accusations against 18 priests involve abuse allegations stretching from the 1950s through 1994.

Posted by kshaw at March 16, 2005 05:50 AM