February 21, 2006

Court rules against alleged victims of church sexual abuse


Associated Press Writer

February 21, 2006, 1:10 PM EST

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state's highest court ruled Tuesday that the statute of limitations could be used as a defense by Roman Catholic dioceses in two key sexual abuse cases, dealing a setback to people hoping to reinstate cases that had been dismissed.

In deciding two cases, the Court of Appeals said those who claimed they were sexually abused by priests in two New York state dioceses waited too long to take their cases to court and failed to show the dioceses prevented them from filing suit sooner. The court made no judgment on the merits of the alleged victims' claims.

Nationwide, hundreds of cases have been dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired and many more never get filed for the same reason, according to David Clohessy,Abuse Tracker Director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests _ also known as SNAP _ a national support group for clergy abuse victims.

In one case, John Zumpano argued the abuse he suffered while in parochial school in Utica from 1963 to 1970 rendered him mentally incapable of bringing a suit before the legal time limit. He argued the Syracuse diocese also tried to conceal the offending priest's wrongdoing to delay or prevent legal action and dissuaded legal action through its control over him.

Posted by kshaw at February 21, 2006 12:57 PM