|Sex Suits against Church Dismissed
Catholic Diocese Escapes Abuse Claims Because They Were Filed Too Late
By Andy Kravetz
Peoria Journal Star
October 27, 2007
PEORIA - Two more lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Peoria and several clergy members alleging child abuse were dismissed this week because they were time-barred under Illinois law.
Suits filed by Daniel Williams, 42, and a second person, identified as John Doe, alleging Monsignor Norman Goodman sexually abused them from 1975 to 1979 at the parish of Holy Family Catholic Church in Lincoln were thrown out after Peoria County Circuit Judge Kevin Galley ruled they were in violation of state law.
Last month, Galley threw out five other suits for similar reasons, and in June, Circuit Judge Joe Vespa also dismissed two suits, again because they were filed too late under state law.
Williams initially "rediscovered" the abuse in 2004 and cited repressed memories for why he didn't act sooner. But Galley held in his 14-page order that Williams cited no scientific proof that he suffered from such a condition and as such "failed to distinguish his claim from those individuals who have merely forgotten that childhood sexual abuse has occurred."
A similar order was filed in the John Doe case.
Also the judge noted that under a 1991 law, those alleging child abuse must file civil claims before they are 30. Any lawsuits after that were barred because of a statute of limitations.
A change in the law in 1994 repealed that section, but an Illinois Supreme Court case a few years later upheld the sentiment of the 1991 section.
Galley cited that Supreme Court case which stated that if something was barred under the old law, it was still barred under the new law. Anything else would violate due process claims, the state's high court held.
However, the judge wrote that he would allow the two parties another chance to file an amended complaint.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or email@example.com.
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