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Statute of Limitations Bars Group's Lawsuit

Seven adults, molested by a priest as children, attempted to sue their former church.

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 Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that seven adults who were molested as children by parish priests were barred by the statute of limitations from suing the priests, their churches, and a diocese. Wisconsin law gives minor victims of sexual molestation until their 20th birthday to sue the perpetrator (a longer period applies in cases of incest). The victims in this case were all terribly ...

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Posted:
  • November 3, 1997

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