Priest Sex Abuse Case Goes to Highest Court

Associated Press, carried in Fox 23 [Albany NY]
January 3, 2006

The state's highest court hears arguments Tuesday in the case of a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing a Utica teenager more than 30 years ago.

The outcome could set the standard for dozens of similar cases statewide.

The issue is whether someone can bring an abuse lawsuit against a priest long after the statute of limitations has expired and whether the Syracuse Diocese acted in a way that led the alleged victim to keep silent for many years.

Two lower courts dismissed John Zumpano's $150 million lawsuit against the Reverend James Quinn. The lawsuit accuses Quinn of sexually abusing Zumpano while he was a student at St. Agnes Church in Utica during the 1960s. Quinn has denied the allegations.

The lower courts ruled the lawsuit was brought well after the state's 10-year statute of limitations period. Zumpano's attorney, Frank Policelli of Utica, says the lawsuit should be judged based on facts and not by the passage of time.

The Court of Appeals also will hear arguments regarding more than 40 others who saw their cases of alleged sexual abuse by priests in Brooklyn dismissed for the same reason.


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