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Sexual Misconduct and Fraudulent Concealment

In certain cases, the statute of limitations may not apply.

Key point:Minors who are sexually molested by church workers may not sue their church after the statute of limitations has expired. Generally, the statute of limitations begins to run on a minor's 18th birthday. In some states the statute of limitations does not begin to run if church or denominational officials "fraudulently conceal" relevant information from a molestation victim.

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the statute of limitations for bringing a lawsuit for acts of sexual molestation may be suspended or delayed through "fraudulent concealment" by a denominational agency of the incidents. A former altar boy sued a priest and diocese in 1992 for the priest's acts of molestation that occurred over a 17 year period from 1958 through 1975. The victim claimed that it was not until 1991, in the course of counseling, that he realized that he had been a victim of abuse. The ...

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Posted:
  • March 1, 1996

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