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Statute of limitations on child sex abuse (the pain doesn’t stop)?

Vatican guidelines of clerical sex abuse at last clearly require church-wide obedience to civil law, the New York Times reported today, while Connecticut bishops fight to limit the coverage of that civil law.

In Canada, there is no statute of limitations after which civil or criminal liability expires. As Child Abuse Effects explains:

When it comes to child abuse, there is no statute of limitations in Canada. Whether the child abuse occurred 5 minutes ago, 5 weeks ago, 5 or 50 years ago, an offender can still be charged. Nowhere is the latter more evident than with our Aboriginal people: more than 7,000 lawsuits have been filed against the Canadian Federal Government claiming sexual, physical and cultural abuse suffered at Residential Schools.

Connecticut bishops don’t want their state to emulate Canada, out of concern for the church as a financial entity. As NBC Connecticut reported, “Church officials say it could have devastating financial effects and could result in claims that are more than 50-years old which would be impossible to defend in court. Currently, victims have until their 48th birthday to file lawsuits.”

Impossible to defend? No. The burden of proof cuts both ways. So as Mark Silk observed, we’re left with the money bishops still don’t want to spend healing victims.

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April 12, 2010 - Posted by | Catholic, children, Crime, Pope Benedict XVI | , , , , ,

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