Case against diocese draws attention

Altoona Mirror

August 1, 2020

Briefs challenge, support landmark decision allowing lawsuit against priest

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in the past week has received several friend-of-the-court briefs both supporting and challenging a landmark decision made by the court last year in which it allowed an Altoona woman to proceed with a sexual abuse case against a priest, even though the alleged offenses occurred in the mid-1970s.

Pennsylvania’s highest court agreed in March to review the Superior Court decision, which has drawn interest from church organizations as well victims’ rights groups nationwide.

According to attorney Richard M. Serbin, who has a law office in Altoona and who represents the alleged victim of the sexual abuse, Renee A. Rice, no date has been set for argument on the appeal.

Serbin said that in the past week, amicus briefs have been filed by supporters of his client, CHILD USA, The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), the National Crime Victims Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Justice.

Other briefs have been filed on behalf of the defendants by the The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, The Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese, other dioceses in Pennsylvania and The Catholic League.

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