- Jul 8, 2020
Churches, youth groups and schools were hit by a tsunami of lawsuits in 2019 after New York gave survivors of childhood sexual abuse a one-year window to sue over allegations ordinarily barred by statutes of limitation.
Fifteen states have revised their laws in the past two years extending or suspending the statute of limitations to allow child sex abuse claims stretching back decades, unleashing potentially thousands of new lawsuits against the U.S. Roman Catholic Church.
Across the country, attorneys are scrambling to file a new wave of lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by clergy, thanks to rules enacted in 15 states that extend or suspend the statute of limitations to allow claims stretching back decades. Associated Press reporting found the deluge of suits could surpass anything the nation’s clergy sexual abuse crisis has seen before, with potentially more than 5,000 new cases and payouts topping $4 billion.
When Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws this week after a years-long battle, absent from the bill-signing ceremony were some of the people who had worked hardest for the changes.
The loosening of limits on sexual abuse claims in New Jersey is expected to create a tectonic shift in the way those lawsuits are brought, giving hope to victims who have long suffered in silence and exposing a broader spectrum of institutions to potential liability.
Pennsylvania overhauled its child sexual abuse laws Tuesday, more than a year after a landmark grand jury report showed the cover-up of hundreds of cases of abuse in most of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic dioceses over seven decades.