The Diocese of Portland is challenging the constitutionality of the new law and trying to get the lawsuits dismissed . . .
New House Speaker Mark Rozzi recently vowed that no other legislation would be taken up until the Senate approved a constitutional amendment allowing child sex abuse victims to file claims . . .
Since December 1, 2019, when New Jersey opened a two-year revival window for victims of sexual abuse, 820 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse against clerics, teachers, and nuns have been filed against Catholic dioceses and orders.
The Michigan Legislature is considering bipartisan bills which, if passed, would give survivors of sexual abuse more time to bring their claims forward and file lawsuits against their abusers in the state of Michigan. The current law caps the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse at age 28, which is on the lower end of the spectrum when compared to other states around the country.
In May, Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa, signed Senate File 562 into law which removes the criminal statute of limitations for sexual abuse and exploitation of a minor. Previously the law required that criminal charges be filed within 15 years of the victim turning 18, or age 33.
Maine Governor Janet Mills recently signed into law a bill that will allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits against their perpetrators no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. While the state did eliminate the state of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims in 2000, that law was not retroactive so survivors whose claims were expired at that point could not bring them forward.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 73 into law in April 2021 which eliminates the civil statute of limitations for sexual assault of minors and adults. One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, said of the new law, “Victims deserve justice whenever they choose to seek it. Outdated laws won’t be able to stop them anymore.”
Pressure to change existing statute of limitations laws for survivors of sexual abuse began to emerge from the public after a 2018 grand jury report from the state’s Attorney General shed light on just how deep the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse ran in Pennsylvania. Three years later, efforts to change those laws are still getting bogged down in the state’s legislature.
A ruling by the Kansas Court of Appeals holding that negligence claims against institutions are not barred by the statute of limitations will allow a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Kansas City to move forward
Connecticut’s current civil statute of limitations law (SOL) for childhood sexual abuse leaves older victims of abuse without an avenue to pursue justice because their claims are time-barred by the law. Unfortunately, those survivors will have to wait at least another year to see if any impactful changes will be made to those statute of limitations laws since no bill to change the SOL was introduced to the state legislature in the 2020 session.
Several Bills have been filed by Massachusetts Senate and House leaders to open up avenues to civil justice for survivors of child sexual abuse. A number of these Bills propose removing the civil statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse and opening up a permanent revival window for time-barred claims.
Bill 492 received overwhelming support and passed the Louisiana Legislative Committee and will now head to the Louisiana State Legislature House of Representatives. The Bill extends the statute of limitations (SOL) for sexual abuse survivors to 35 years after the victim’s 18th birthday.
On April 30th, 2021, Arkansas legislators passed significant new law aimed at providing survivors of childhood sexual abuse a greater opportunity to hold their abusers, and those institutions responsible for allowing the abuse, accountable.
In 2016, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, leader of the Archdiocese of New York, introduced the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program as a way to compensate victims of clergy sex abuse, and according to the church, “promote healing” and “bring closure” to the sexual abuse crisis ailing the Catholic Church.
After a serious ‘blunder’ by Pennsylvania’s Department of State earlier this month, Pennsylvania legislators look to pass a new bill that would allow child sex abuse victims a two-year ‘window’ to file civil claims in court against both public and private entities.
According to a recently released report, nationwide the Catholic Church has spent more than $10 million on lobbyists over the last seven years, fighting to keep state statute of limitations reforms from going into effect. The report was commissioned by law firms who represent survivors of clergy sex abuse.
At the beginning of 2021, the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly passed legislation focused on creating a revival window for child sexual abuse survivors. After passing the General Assembly in February, the bill should have been included on the May 2021 ballot so, if passed, the state’s constitution could be amended.
Three sexual abuse lawsuits filed against the Scranton Diocese at the end of 2020 allege that church officials knew the accused clergy members were abusing children and instead of punishing those priests, they transferred them to other parishes.
Rhode Island is reviewing a new bill to expand the current law’s definition of “perpetrator”, The bill is in response to state court rulings which, victims’ advocates say, have narrowed the meaning of the term “perpetrator” and has precluded victims of clergy sexual abuse from including a church or diocese in a lawsuit.
How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in Maryland is a common question. For some Maryland clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades, to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even survivors who haven’t repressed those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania made headlines in August of 2018 with the release of the Diocese Victim Report, which came after a two-year grand jury investigation into sexual abuse and cover-ups in six of the eight Pennsylvania Dioceses. In its wake, Pennsylvania legislators took aim at updating laws involving sexual abuse and a survivor’s ability to pursue a civil action against an abuser and the institutions that covered it up.
Each state sets their own laws which govern how long a survivor has to file a claim, and the differences between states can be dramatic. Many clergy sexual abuse survivors are concerned about how long they have to file a lawsuit. Find general and state specific information regarding laws for filing a claim.
How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in New Jersey is a common question. For some New Jersey clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even those who haven’t blocked those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.
How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in Illinois is a common question. For some Illinois clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades, to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even survivors who haven’t repressed those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.
How long you have to file a clergy abuse lawsuit in California is a common question. For some California clergy abuse survivors, it may take years, even decades to recall the abuse since traumatic events suffered as a child are often suppressed. Even those who haven’t repressed those memories often still need many years to process the pain and receive treatment or counseling before they are ready to share their stories.
On August 9, 2019, Governor Gina M. Raimondo held a ceremony, signing into law a new childhood sexual abuse statute of limitations reform. The reform gives victims of childhood sexual abuse a major victory, which will allow more survivors, particularly those who are older, the ability to hold their abusers accountable for their actions.
On May 13, 2019, the Governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy, signed S477 which extended the statute of limitations in civil actions for sexual abuse claims.
The Act extends the ability of a child victim to file a lawsuit claim until they reach 55 years old, or 7 years from the date they became aware of the abuse, whichever is later. This is a significant step forward.
Rhode Island’s Attorney General, Peter Neronha, and his office are entering the legal arena on a civil case between three men, Philip Edwardo, Peter Cummings and Robert Houllahan, who are claiming they were sexually abused by priests within the Diocese of Providence.
In May of 2019 The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Jim Scanlan, who is a sexual abuse survivor, noted “This was about protecting future generations of kids, as well as enabling survivors who haven’t come forward or are trying to come forward to have a voice.”
In November 2019, Governor Roy Cooper signed Senate Bill 199 into law. In the signing of the bill, which went into effect December 1, 2019, North Carolina took a positive step forward in protecting sexual abuse and assault victims. The bill closed loopholes like sexual contact under the premise of medical treatment, or consent revocation involving incapacitation by alcohol. These types of loopholes made it harder to prosecute sexual predators.
Last November, North Carolina legislators opened a 2-year ‘revival window’ allowing survivors of sexual abuse, whose claims were previously time barred, the ability to file a claim against their abusers. The new window has allowed two men, who remain anonymous, the ability to refile their claims after their original cases were dismissed in 2014. At that time, the diocese successfully argued that the claims were past their statute of limitations.
>A new law passed in the state of California provides victims with a window to file claims of childhood sexual abuse that were previously time barred. One man is taking advantage of that law and in February of 2020, filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Archdiocese. The victim alleges that Father Michael Baker sexually abused him repeatedly from age 6 to 10 years old and that the Cardinal at the time, Roger Mahoney, covered it up. The plaintiff’s attorney, John Manly, stated that the Cardinal tried to hide what was going on with Father Baker by transferring him to other parishes rather than reporting the criminal behavior to the police.
An investigation is underway by the Diocese of Des Moines regarding allegations of sexual misconduct by Father Robert L Grant better known as “Father Bud” by a student at the St Alberts High School in Council Bluffs. The alleged abuse took place back in the early 1990’s. Due to Iowa law, criminal actions cannot be taken because of Iowa’s statute of limitation which requires a victim to report the abuse within 10 – 15 years after the individual turns 18 (depending on the circumstances.)
Senators from New York gathered on Friday to discuss extending the time for victims to file a claim for sexual abuse. The original deadline was set to expire on August 14, 2020 but now, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, legislators have agreed to extend it to January 14, 2021; giving survivors of childhood sexual abuse an additional five months to file a claim. The senate felt that since court services have been significantly reduced due to the virus, it was only fair to extend the time for these victims.
It has been over a year since a Pennsylvania grand jury released the names of 300 Pennsylvania priests accused of sexual abuse. Releasing those names may have helped garner some much-needed momentum for both victims and lawmakers.
An Arizona state law opening a window for those whose sexual abuse claims may have been time barred has been extended to the end of this year. Two victims who claim they were abused by Catholic priests over 40 years ago used this law to file lawsuits against their church and the Diocese of Phoenix.
In August 2019, New York legislature enacted a new law that gave survivors of childhood sexual abuse a one-year window to file a lawsuit against their abusers. Already, over 500 cases have been filed with the state and experts estimate that thousands of lawsuits are on the way. Advocates, including attorneys, for the victims believe that justice is needed in the form of being heard by the public, recognition of the abuse, and financial compensation. Melissa Breger, a professor at the Albany (NY) Law School, agrees, “I think for a lot of these folks, it’s validation that, ‘Yes, what happened to me was wrong and the fact that I was a child and could not do anything about it is being understood now and I can now seek redress as an adult.” Ms. Breger also previously worked with domestic violence victims and victims of childhood abuse.
As of August 14, 2019 New York survivors of childhood sexual abuse will be given a one-year window to file a lawsuit against their abusers under the new Child Victims Act passed by NY legislature earlier this year. Thousands of cases are expected to be filed with payout estimates to victims in the millions of dollars. Under the new one-year window law, anyone who was abused is eligible to file a claim with a sexual abuse lawyer. Additionally, New York has gone from one of the worst states to one of the best states to file a childhood sexual abuse lawsuit.
The Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee has voted by unanimous decision to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue their abusers and the institutions that shielded these criminal predators. This bill is a welcome relief for sexual abuse victims and their families. Jim Scanlan, a Rhode Island man whose account of sex abuse by a Boston College High School priest in the late 1970s that was highlighted in the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight had this to say during testimony, “This bill is important in that it allows a vehicle for more victims and survivors to come forward and really expose who the predators are, and partially to expose, those who protect them.”