Lawyers for alleged clergy-abuse victims say the 24 lawsuits already filed against the Roman Catholic Church in Colorado will go forward despite the legislature’s rejection of an extended statute of limitations for sex-abuse victims.
"The existing lawsuits were brought before this legislation came about," said Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., attorney who has sued dioceses across the country, including in Colorado. "This failure by public-policy makers will have no impact on the lawsuits. There are arguments around the statute of limitations we have right now."
Added Adam Horowitz, a Miami attorney who also has sued the church in Colorado on behalf of multiple clients, "The lawsuits against the Catholic Church will go forward, with or without the legislation."
Current law requires sexual-abuse lawsuits to be filed within six years of the victim turning 18.
Late Thursday, the House rejected Senate attempts to remove the statute of limitations for one year, raising doubts whether any legislation to make it easier for victims to sue institutions in the future will pass before the legislature adjourns this week.
At least it is good news to hear that this law which was mainly pointed at the Catholic Church did not pass. Archbishop Chaput had an excellent article in the latest First Things on the subject of this bill and it’s inequity considering that the large majority of sexual abuse occurs in public schools which because of special protection allows almost no litigation. I especially liked this one section from his article.
Catholics can live with hard laws if they serve the common good—but the laws need to be equally hard for all offending persons and institutions, with the same rules and penalties and no hidden escape clauses.
[Full Article from First Things]
Bp. Chaput – one of the smartest men alive!
Wow!! A more effective argument is hard to imagine. Wish it were republished in a venue with greater circulation.
er, what’s the point of having a statute of limitations in the first place if you’re going to decide to go around it whenever it suits you?
I’m glad the bill went down, but His Excellency needs to be informed that his explanation for the perv-shuffling–that the experts said they were cured–is insufficient, because no qualified experts were claiming such therapeutic capacities at that time. There’s a specific line in the defeated legislation targeting Archbishop Chaput’s explanation, hence the reasonable belief the bill was targeting Catholics.
But his explanation itself is not reasonable, and to examine it closely would reveal how much the church of the time had capitulated to the therapeutic ethos, and perhaps it still might.
Bp.Chaput: One of the many who, during the 80’s & 90’s, could be counted on to keep his mouth shut.
“No qualified experts were claiming such therapeutic capacities at that time.”
Wrong – or at least only partly,deceptively right. I worked in the prison field and YES it was said repeatedly by psychologists that molesters could be “cured” and were “no longer a danger to society.” In fact this was A VERY COMMON belief at the time.
Chaput is a saint, and the last sarcastic post should be ignored.
Could you refer me to a good essay backing up what you say? I heard the exact opposite on Amy Welborn’s blog a while back.
Even if you prove yourself right, it still means therapy was preferred to penitence, and faddish psychology preferred to the wisdom of the church.
I could be mistaken, but I thought his Excellency’s argument from “fairness” was based more on the fact that government agencies (read: public schools) enjoyed a cap on damages (was it $70k?) while private organizations (read: the Catholic Church) would enjoy no such protection. The argument was that if the bill was REALLY intended to protect children and to keep them safe, then the law would be applied to all institutions equally. I don’t know that that is so sinister.