Lawyer in court © Pierre-Antoine Pluquet (KNA)
Until now, anyone who was sexually abused as a child had the right to be prosecuted in New York state from the age of 23. Birthday no longer a chance for legal proceedings. This deadline has now been extended by 22 years, leading to a spectacular claim for damages.
The recently extended statute of limitations for child abuse in New York state has led to a $300 million (264 million euro) damages lawsuit. A woman, now 55, accuses a member of the Franciscan order of sexually abusing her multiple times some 40 years ago.
Did the diocese violate its duty of oversight?
As the Catholic news service CNS reported (Tuesday local time), the lawsuit is pending in New York Supreme Court. It is directed against the Diocese of Buffalo, which at the time, in the view of the plaintiff, had violated its duty of supervision.
The alleged victim, Gail Holler-Kennedy, says the religious priest, who died in 2011, molested her twice a week in an empty classroom at Cardinal O'Hara High School between 1978 and 1981.
First cases under the "Child Victims Act"
The case is among the first in New York state since the Child Victims Act went into effect on 13. February signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The law allows individuals who were victims of sexual abuse in childhood to still be eligible until they reach age 55. to file civil and criminal suits before the end of his life. So far, this was only possible until 23. Birthday possible.
According to the plaintiff's attorney, the suit was filed two days before its 55. Birthday submitted. According to court documents, Holler-Kennedy was 14 years old when the abuse began.