New suit alleging sexual abuse by an Allentown priest uses a loophole in hopes of getting around statute of limitations

The Morning Call

May 26, 2020

By Laurie Mason Schroeder

Relying on a loophole that could open the floodgates for other victims years, or even decades, after the statute of limitation on such claims has expired, Berks County state Rep. Mark Rozzi on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Allentown Diocese and Holy Guardian Angels Parish in Reading, saying he was sexually abused by a priest in the 1980s, when he was 13 years old.

Rozzi’s attorneys say they are relying on an August state Superior Court ruling that allowed a similar lawsuit, based on new information from the 2016 grand jury report on the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, to move forward. In that ruling, a three-judge panel gave a woman’s lawsuit against the diocese the green light even though is was filed well beyond the statute of limitations, which gives a person until their 30th birthday to file a civil case alleging abuse from childhood.

“For so many years the darkness within the Catholic Church and its hierarchy prevented allegations of sexual misconduct from becoming public,” said Rozzi’s attorney, Benjamin D. Andreozzi.

He said Rozzi was “appalled” to learn about his alleged abuser’s history of misconduct in the 2018 statewide grand jury report on clergy abuse, which identified about 300 predator priests and more than 1,000 victims, and pledged to take action.

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