Hartford, Conn., Apr 13, 2010 / 04:19 am America/Denver (CNA).
A Connecticut bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits in cases of sexual abuse targets the Catholic Church and could have a “disastrous fallout,” the state’s Catholic bishops have warned.
In an April 8 letter to all pastors, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport and Bishop Michael R. Cote of Norwich asked for help in a campaign against House Bill 5473, which would make Connecticut the only state without a statute of limitations for the filing of sexual abuse claims concerning minors.
According to the letter, the state already has the longest retroactive statute in the U.S., with alleged minor victims allowed 30 years past the age of 18 to take legal action.
“Over the past several years in states that have even temporarily eliminated the statutes, it has caused the bankruptcy of at least seven dioceses,” the bishops wrote, according to the Catholic Transcript. “This bill would put all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk.”
The attempt to change the statute of limitations is reportedly tied to the claims of people abused by Dr. George Reardon, a deceased doctor who practiced at St. Francis Hospital in Hartford.