January 04, 2006

Court hears priest abuse suit

Democrat & Chronicle

Yancey Roy
Albany bureau

(January 4, 2006) ALBANY Judges on New York's highest court Tuesday sounded skeptical about allowing a former Utica-area resident to sue a Roman Catholic diocese over allegations of sexual abuse that occurred more than three decades ago.

The state Court of Appeals heard arguments that the statute of limitations prohibited such lawsuits. The Utica-based lawsuit, filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, had been combined with allegations against 13 priests in the Archdiocese of Brooklyn.

In most such lawsuits, the time limit for filing a case can be one or three years, or 10 years if the wrongful action triggered insanity.

In each case argued Tuesday, lawyers for the alleged victims said the church should not benefit from its own wrongdoing. That is, the church shouldn't be allowed to conceal abuse for decades and then be protected by a statute of limitations. But the seven-judge panel pointed out that, for better or worse, that's the nature of the law.

Posted by kshaw at January 4, 2006 07:36 AM