Nebraska Lawmaker’s Death May Halt Child Sex Abuse SOL Reform Bill

Posted on: June 2, 2022 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse

In late 2021, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson’s office released the results of its investigation into clergy sex abuse and the Catholic dioceses in the state. Much like the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report, the results painted a horrific picture of the child sexual abuse culture that had been fostered in the Catholic Church.

The AG’s report identified 258 victims who made credible allegations of sexual abuse against 57 Catholic church officials in the state. The allegations went back decades and included many that church officials knew about, but never reported to authorities. 51 of the 57 church officials who were accused of sexual abuse were priests. Peterson, who fought back tears at his press conference, said, “The extent of the physical and psychological harm caused by the perpetrators and the failure of the church to safeguard so many victims is gut-wrenching.”

Unfortunately for the survivors, Nebraska’s statute of limitations laws would not allow many of them to file lawsuits. Sen. Rich Pahls, of Omaha, was appalled by this and promised to introduce a bill “to address this egregious and unacceptable state of affairs.” Pahls did just that, and introduced a bill that would remove the statute of limitations for claims against third parties that arose from the sexual abuse of a child. If the bill passed, this would mean that clergy sexual abuse survivors could sue the diocese for its negligence in allowing the abuse to occur. However, the one limitation of the bill was that it was not retroactive, meaning claims that had already expired could not be revived.

According to the Attorney General’s report, the former head of the Lincoln diocese was very concerned with the effect the child sex abuse scandal could have on the church. At a recent public hearing, a representative of the Nebraska Catholic Conference strongly opposed Pahls’ bill. Unfortunately, Pahls passed away in April and the state Legislature has indefinitely postponed any action regarding the bill. Unless another lawmaker steps in to back the bill, it could mean many clergy sex abuse survivors in Nebraska may not get the justice they deserve.

The entire article can be viewed here.

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