Court Rejects Suit Claiming Sexual Abuse

By John Greiner
Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK)
February 12, 1992

A woman who claimed to have 10 personalities cannot sue a Catholic priest for sexual abuse 20 years after it allegedly occurred, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The court said Oklahoma law's two-year limit on filing such a lawsuit cannot be suspended, even though the woman claims that her multiple personalities kept her from knowing until 20 years later that she had been abused.

The Oklahoma court was asked by the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to answer questions concerning Oklahoma law that could have a bearing on a federal lawsuit filed by the woman.

Marian Lovelace, a Nevada social worker, filed a federal lawsuit alleging she was molested by an Oklahoma priest during counseling sessions between 1967 and 1970.

She sued the Rev. Daniel C. Keohane of Sapulpa, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tulsa.

The defendants claimed her lawsuit was barred by Oklahoma's statute of limitations, and in 1988, U.S. District Judge H. Dale Cook agreed.

Lovelace appealed to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, claiming her multiple personalities constituted a legal disability that allowed her to file the lawsuit after the statute of limitations.

Information in the case indicates that Lovelace, after ending her treatment under Father Keohane, finished college and managed her own affairs, the Oklahoma Supreme Court said. "No matter how the osychological term or description is couched, plaintiff is not under legal disability if able to conduct her business affairs for a number of years," the state Supreme Court told the 10th Circuit.


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