|Judge Throws out Priest Abuse Lawsuit
Order Says 2007 Claim Is in Violation of State's Statute of Limitations
By Andy Kravetz
May 31, 2008
PEORIA — Another lawsuit alleging a former priest molested a young parishioner has been dismissed because it was filed too late after the alleged victim "remembered" the abuse.
Peoria County Judge Kevin Galley, who has dismissed seven similar suits for similar reasons, wrote in a five-page order this week that the suit, filed by Richard Jones, violated the state's statute of limitations.
Jones filed the case in 2007 after "rediscovering the abuse" by Monsignor Norman Goodman, who was the pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church in Lincoln in 1979 when Jones alleges he was molested when he was seven or right.
Twice, the suit had been thrown out for similar reasons but he was allowed to re-file to restate his claim. Galley's order, handed down May 28, is a final order, meaning that barring a successful appeal, the case is over.
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 A change in the law in 1994 repealed that section, but an Illinois Supreme Court case a few years later upheld the sentiment of the 1991 section, Galley wrote.
To determine if Jones had made the deadline, Galley looked at what he alleged in his complaint, noting Jones had some indication that he felt traumatized by the alleged abuse well before he filed the suit. State law, the judge wrote, holds that a person need not know the full "extent of his or her injuries before suit must be brought."
Another case, involving another man, Daniel Williams, was also dismissed for similar reasons. An order in that case will be filed at a June 13 hearing. Williams initially "rediscovered" the abuse in 2004 and cited repressed memories for why he didn't act sooner.
Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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