November 11, 2005

Ohio sex-abuse bill raises questions

Toledo Blade


COLUMBUS - The future of an Ohio bill allowing lawsuits by victims of child sex abuse as long as 35 years ago may be determined by a constitutional issue before victims get to play what they consider to be their ace, their stories.

The House Judiciary Committee yesterday heard from three constitutional law experts offering differing opinions as to whether the bill that unanimously passed the Senate in March unconstitutionally changes the rules for both past victims as well as the clergy or churches they plan to sue.

"This legislature has passed a whole bunch of laws that looked pretty unconstitutional and said, 'Let the courts decide,' and I voted against a lot of them," said state Rep. Dale Miller (D., Cleveland). "But I'm unclear in this area."

The committee's chairman, Rep. John Willamowski (R., Lima), plans to take an informal head count soon to determine the beliefs of committee members.

"The way I see it, we'll either have the votes and it's constitutional, or I won't have the votes and it's not constitutional," Mr. Willamowski said.

Posted by kshaw at November 11, 2005 08:49 AM