January 19, 2006

Abuse suits allowed against Joliet diocese

Chicago Tribune

By Hal Dardick
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 19, 2006

A state appeals court opinion released this week could allow five men to pursue sexual abuse lawsuits against two former priests from the Catholic Diocese of Joliet, even though the alleged abuse took place more than two decades ago.

The 3rd District Appellate Court ruled 2-1 to overturn a Will County trial court judge's 2004 ruling that the statute of limitations on bringing sexual abuse claims had expired.

The opinion is binding on trial court judges in the 3rd District, which includes Will and Peoria Counties. Cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests were filed recently in Peoria and are expected to turn, in part, on the statute-of-limitations question, attorneys said.

Judges in other jurisdictions are not bound by the Appellate Court's decision, but they "will lean toward" following the 3rd District opinion, said attorney Aldo Botti, who represents former priests named in the Will and Peoria County suits.

Posted by kshaw at January 19, 2006 06:24 AM