PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Sponsors of a bill that would give victims of childhood sexual abuse in Rhode Island more time to sue their abusers or institutions that shielded them are angry that Senate leaders do not support a key feature of the bill.
That feature is a provision that leaves open the door for suits based on recovered memories against institutions, such as the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts.
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved legislation Tuesday that extends the limit for filing suits from seven years to 35 years.
The Providence Journal reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday posted a reworked version of the bill. Senate spokesman Greg Pare said the change was made based on the belief that a 35-year period of time is sufficient.
Sen. Donna Nesselbush called that “totally unacceptable.”
The Rhode Island Catholic Conference had objected to allowing recovered memories in written testimony submitted to the legislature in February.
“It is not only the fraudulent or spurious claim that is of concern here – it is also the imagined claim that is the product of faulty memory or other psychological problems. Rhode Island courts have struggled with the admissibility and reliability of recovered memory,” the submission stated.
Crux staff contributed to this report.
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