Loading
High court applies statute of limitations in California abuse suit
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

.- Oakland's Catholic diocese cannot be sued over alleged abuse cases falling outside the legal time limit and a subsequent one-year extension, the California Supreme Court ruled on March 29.

“We believe the court made the right decision today and are gratified at the justices’ conclusion that the legislature meant what it said when lawmakers enacted a one-year exemption to the statute of limitations,” said Bishop Gerald E. Wilkerson, president of the California Catholic Conference of Bishops.

“Nothing in the court’s ruling, however, changes the fact that the protection of young people has been, and remains, our top priority,” said Bishop Wilkerson, who promised that California dioceses “will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to keep children safe.”

Thursday's ruling confirmed that six brothers of the Quarry family could not sue the Oakland diocese over the psychological effects of sexual abuse they say occurred in the early 1970s. The accused priest, Father Donald Broderson, was forced to leave the priesthood in the 1990s, and died in 2010.

During 2003, California legislators opened a one-year “window” allowing alleged victims of sexual abuse to sue for damages in cases that would otherwise have been regarded as too old to pursue in court.

The Quarry brothers brought their suit in 2007. It was only during that year, they said, that they realized the extent of the psychological damage caused by the alleged abuse.

On Thursday, however, the state's high court ruled 5-2 that the statute of limitations could not be suspended again on this basis.

“We are unreservedly sympathetic to the plight of persons who were subjected to childhood sexual abuse,” wrote Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in her opinion.

But she held that the existing time frame for lawsuits, along with the temporary 2003 extension, gave victims “considerable time following the abuse in which to come to maturity, or even middle age, and discover the claim.”

Statutes of limitations serve to protect defendants' rights in “stale” cases – where a lack of remaining evidence, and problems with witnesses' recollection of details, make it difficult to establish facts and mount a defense.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye noted that the legislature's one-year window for old claims was an attempt at “striking a balance between the strong interest of victims,” and the “burden on third party defendants … of being required to defend stale claims.”


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
A Look at India from Rome
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Sep
1

Liturgical Calendar

September 1, 2014

Monday of the Twenty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 4:16-30

Gospel
Date
09/01/14
08/31/14
08/30/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: 1 Cor 1 cor 2:1-5
Gospel:: Lk 4:16-30

Saint of the Day

St. Beatrice da Silva Meneses »

Saint
Date
08/31/14
08/30/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 4:16-30

Homily
Date
09/01/14
08/31/14
08/30/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: