Thursday, March 22, 2007

Priest explains danger of eliminating statute of limitations for abuse suits

Priest argues against an unjust and unfair attack on the Catholic Church in Maryland
(The following is the text of a Feb. 28 letter sent by Msgr. Mark Brennan, pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in Gaithersburg, to State Senator Jennie Forehand about a bill being considered by the Maryland Senate that would retroactively eliminate the statute of limitations for civil damage actions relating to child sexual abuse.) ...

I was quite surprised, on reading S.B. 575, to find that it did not repeal the 180-day time period for minors abused in public institutions to file suit nor remove the cap on damages that public institutions might be required to pay. One could either conclude that minors abused in public institutions are of less value than those in non-public institutions or - more correctly, I think - recognize that the state government is looking out for its own legitimate interests: protecting public funds for broad public purposes by limiting damages and imposing a time limit for the filing of suits (a very narrow time limit, it should be noted). If those are good reasons for the government to limit is liability over time and in dollars, why are private institutions not afforded the same consideration?

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