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Lawsuits over clergy abuse continue

On Behalf of | May 19, 2023 | Personal Injury |

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, California recently made national news when it filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It made this reorganizing move to protect itself from hundreds of new child sexual abuse claims involving priests. According to the Associated Press, the diocese claims the bankruptcy will ensure “a fair and equitable outcome for survivors.” Survivor advocates have so far disputed that claim.

Here in Connecticut, in July of 2021, the Diocese of Norwich similarly filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy because of dozens of sexual abuse claims arising from former students at The Academy at Mount Saint John, a school in Deep River.  That bankruptcy is still ongoing.

Statute of Limitations

In 2019, Connecticut lawmakers passed a bill (SB3) that claimed to broaden the legal rights of people who endured sexual violence or harassment.  Before the passage of the bill, the statute of limitations, or deadline, for filing a lawsuit as a result of sexual abuse as a child was when the survivor reached age 48.

The changes in the 2019 bill include:

  • Extending the legal deadline for civil claims of child sex abuse prospectively only.  In other words, from 2019 forwards, if a child is sexually abused, they have until they reach age 51 to file a lawsuit.  However, for claims arising from abuse that happened before 2019, they only have until age 48 to file a lawsuit.
  • Extending the deadline for adult victims to press criminal charges for sexual assault.
  • Eliminating the deadline for sexual offenses against a minor 16 or under.
  • No statute for those who endured first-degree sexual assault or aggravated assault.

Research concluded that the average age when survivors of childhood sexual abuse come forward and disclose that information is 54.  In the Boy Scouts of America case, half of the victims were between ages 50 and 70 when they first disclosed what happened to them.

Sexual abuse cases

Abuse victims wishing to discuss the details of their assault can talk to an attorney who handles these types of cases. The Reardon Law Firm handles sexual abuse claims on behalf of adults who were abused as children.