Defense Says Abuse Suit Filed Too Late

By Glenn Chapman
Alameda Times-Star [Oakland CA]
September 9, 2004

OAKLAND -- Attorneys for a Roman Catholic priest being sued for alleged sexual abuse of a child more than 30 years ago will ask that the sexual battery portion of the suit be thrown out because it was filed too late, according to a motion filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Tuesday.

The man accusing Donald Broderson of being a molester while a priest at St. Francis parish in Concord in 1973 or 1974 apparently missed the filing deadlines outlined by state law, contends Patrick McMahon, a lawyer defending Broderson against the charges. Broderson's case is one of some 160 priest sex-abuse civil suits bundled together in the court as "Clergy III."

State law legitimizing belated priest molestation lawsuits requires litigation be filed within eight years of the purported victim reaching legal adulthood or within three years of the point the person should have reasonably become aware childhood sexual abuse was behind their mental health problems.

The man accusing Broderson of wrongdoing didn't indicate his age in the 2003 civil suit, but the time line in the accusation indicates he is older than 26, according to McMahon's motion. The complaint contains no information about when or how the man supposedly linked childhood sexual abuse to the emotional and psychiatric distress he claims to be suffering, the motion maintains.

McMahon put the court and rival attorneys on notice that Judge Ronald Sabraw will be asked to toss out the case against Broderson at a hearing in Oakland later this month.

Defendants in the Clergy III suits include the Oakland and San Francisco Roman Catholic dioceses, which have been accused of being negligent in guarding against sexual abuse by priests in decades past. Hundreds of similar suits in Los Angeles and San Diego counties have been categorized in the courts as Clergy I and Clergy II.


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