The Hartford Courant
The state Supreme Court Friday upheld a $1 million verdict in a priest sexual abuse case while at the same time rejecting an argument by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford that a state law which extended the statute of limitations for potential victims to file a lawsuit was unconstitutional.
In February 2012, a jury in Waterbury awarded a former altar boy $1 million after a trial in which the victim, identified in court papers as Jacob Doe, testified that he and a friend were repeatedly molested and sexually assaulted by the Rev. Ivan Ferguson and a friend of the priest.
During oral arguments before the Supreme Court last year the archdiocese argued to overturn the verdict based on a variety of claims — including that the trial judge erred by not allowing an expert witness to testify for the church and by allowing the jury to hear testimony from a deposition of Ferguson, who died years ago.
But the most controversial argument was that the state legislature’s decision in 2002 to extend the statute of limitation for civil cases on sexual assault claims to 30 years from when a complainant reaches 18 was unconstitutional.
The statute of limitations had previously been 17 years. The change was retroactive.
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