January 03, 2006

Court to Rule on Time Limits in Priest Sex-Abuse Suits

The New York Times

Published: January 3, 2006
Several men say they were abused by Roman Catholic priests when they were boys in the 1960's. They say they suffered profound psychological damage as a result. In 2002, they learn from news accounts that for years, senior church officials took elaborate steps to cover up for sexually abusive priests. Appalled, they sue the church.

But under New York's statute of limitations, they are too late, by several decades.

However, the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, will hear arguments today for the first time in cases seeking to allow old claims like these against the church to proceed.

A ruling for the plaintiffs could open the door for dozens of suits against the church that have been blocked by New York's statute of limitations, one of the strictest in the nation. The statute requires negligence suits against institutions to be filed within three years, or before the plaintiff turns 21, whichever is later.

Posted by kshaw at January 3, 2006 07:30 AM