March 17, 2005

Court upholds statute of limitations in abuse lawsuits

Pittsburgh Catholic

by: Robert P. Lockwood

A three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court dismissed a series of civil lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for clergy sexual abuse that took place decades ago.

The state appeals court unanimously affirmed a ruling by Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Arnold New that the civil lawsuits involving allegations of abuse, some from as far back as nearly 50 years, did not meet the standards of Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations.

The Superior Court ruled that “we decline to create a judicially crafted exception to the statute solely with regard to the Catholic Church.”

The 18 dismissed civil lawsuits, all involving allegations of sexual abuse, are virtually identical in their argument to those that have been filed by the same attorney in dioceses throughout Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh. The decision, if upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, effectively nullifies the civil lawsuits against the Diocese of Pittsburgh as well.

Posted by kshaw at March 17, 2005 05:21 PM