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"Repression" and the Statute of Limitations

In some states, the "discovery rule" allows victims to sue for past abuse.

Maryland
State:
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 until an adult survivor of child sexual molestation "discovers" that he or she has experienced physical or emotional suffering as a result of the molestation. Other states do not recognize this so-called "discovery rule."

The Maryland Court of Appeals (the highest state court) ruled that an adult's "repression" of memories associated with childhood sexual abuse is not a sufficient basis for suspending or delaying the statute of limitations. Two female students at a Catholic high school alleged that they were subjected to severe and repeated acts of sexual molestation by a priest to whom they had been sent for ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • May 1, 1997

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