Maine Diocese Challenges Law Removing Statue of Limitations

Posted on: February 2, 2023 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse

In 2021, Governor Janet Mills signed into law a bill that retroactively removed the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse in the state of Maine. This new law meant that survivors of child sexual abuse could pursue claims against their abusers, even if those claims were previously time-barred. A year later, the first child sex abuse lawsuits in Maine were filed taking advantage of the new law. Now, the Diocese of Portland is challenging the constitutionality of the new law and trying to get the lawsuits dismissed.

A total of 13 lawsuits have been filed against the Diocese of Portland since the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse was eliminated altogether. The diocese is challenging the survivors’ rights to bring these lawsuits in all 13 suits, saying the new law is unconstitutional. The diocese is arguing that previous changes to state law gave survivors plenty of time to file claims for sexual abuse. Allowing lawsuits where the claims go back decades could lead to damages in the “tens of millions of dollars” according to the diocese’s motion. The fact that the church is using this as an excuse to combat the law is disgusting. No amount of money should ever be put over the well-being of a person.

Democratic Rep. Lori Gramlich, the bill’s sponsor, said in 2021 the goal of the bill was to give survivors the opportunity to be heard, not a big payday. “For me, it’s not about suing somebody for big bunches of money,” Gramlich said. “It’s about having an opportunity to have justice.” Clearly the diocese is only focused on protecting itself and not the survivors who’ve had to endure living with what happened to them for decades.

Arguments regarding the motion will be heard by a Superior Court judge hopefully by the end of the month. Unfortunately, this will most likely go all the way up to Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court before a final ruling is made, meaning survivors will have to wait even longer for justice.

The entire article can be viewed here.

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