Louisiana State Appeals Court Upholds Constitutionality of Revival Window

Posted on: March 14, 2024 Sexual Abuse & Assault Lawsuits

The Louisiana state appeals court upheld the constitutionality of Louisiana’s three-year revival window law, which was enacted in August of 2021. The law, which was challenged by the Diocese of Lafayette, opened a three-year window for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file lawsuits, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit in which a man claimed he was sexually molested by a priest in the early 1960s. The Diocese of Lafayette, the defendant, challenged the lawsuit’s constitutionality by arguing the statute of limitations had already passed and the law which suspended it violated the diocese’s constitutional rights. However, Judge Elizabeth Pickett’s decision focused on survivors’ rights to bring claims against their abusers.
She wrote:

The revival of claims for sexual abuse serves a compelling legitimate public interest by providing an opportunity for the most vulnerable members of our society to hold accountable those responsible for the lifelong damage they have endured.

Numerous studies have shown that the average age at which survivors of childhood sexual abuse are ready to come forward is 52 years old. In most states, the statute of limitations to bring a childhood sexual abuse claim would have passed well before the survivor reached the age of 52. Revival windows give survivors of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to hold their abusers accountable. A date on a calendar should not take that right away from them.

It’s likely that the Diocese of Lafayette saw that lawsuits for clergy sexual abuse spiked when New York opened its revival window, then again when New Jersey opened a revival window. The diocese probably did not want to follow the path of the Archdiocese of New Orleans filing for bankruptcy due to clergy sexual abuse lawsuits. Instead of trying to help victims of clergy sexual abuse heal, the diocese chose to try and victimize them again. This is another example of the church choosing to protect itself instead of the people it harmed. The ruling is now being reviewed by the state supreme court.

Louisiana’s 3-year window closes on June 13, 2024.

The entire article can be viewed here.

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If you or a loved one were a victim of sexual abuse within the Louisiana Dioceses, contact our firm today. Our law firm handles Louisiana sexual abuse lawsuits and can help you understand how long you have to file a clergy abuse claim in the state of Louisiana. Call us now at 1-800-941-7209 for a FREE and PRIVATE consultation.