Supreme Court upholds rights of abuse victims

CT Post

By Daniel Tepfer
Published 5:00 pm, Friday, June 26, 2015

HARTFORD — The state Supreme Court on Friday rebuffed the Roman Catholic Church’s attempt to curb the number of lawsuits brought by those who claim they were abused as children by priests, upholding the law that allows abuse victims to file lawsuit until they are 48.

Upholding a $1.3 judgment for a man who claimed he was abused by a priest at a Derby school in the early 1980s, the state’s highest court ruled the 13-year-old law extending the statute of limitations for abuse lawsuits is constitutional.

“Given the unique psychological and social factors that often result in delayed reporting of childhood sexual abuse, which frustrated the ability of victims to bring an action under earlier revisions of the statute of limitations, we cannot say that the legislature acted unreasonably or irrationally,” the court ruled.

New Haven lawyer Thomas McNamara, who represented the plaintiff in the Derby case, said sex abuse victims often don’t come to terms with the abuse until much later in life and the state legislature recognized that when in 2002 it voted to extend the statute of limitation on sex abuse cases to 30 years from when a complainant reaches 18. The law was made retroactive.

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