Connecticut Court upholds state law extending reporting on sex abuse

The Connecticut Supreme Court recently upheld the retroactive extension of the statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse.

Connecticut has undergone in evolution in laws that govern when a victim can report acts of sexual abuse and hold the perpetrator criminally responsible. Prior to 1990, the victim generally had five years after the crime was committed to report. After 1990, the law extended these protections to two years after the victim reached the age of 18 or seven years after the crime was committed, whichever was less. However, in 2002 these laws were greatly extended to 30 years after the victim turned 18.

This evolution highlights the state's commitment to protecting innocent youth. There has been pushback, most recently on whether or not this law could be applied retroactively for crimes that occurred prior to 2002. The Connecticut Supreme Court recently agreed to hear a case addressing this question.

More on the case

The case, Jacob Doe v. Hartford Roman Catholic Diocesan Corporation, involved a victim who alleged he was sexually abused by a priest. He claimed the Roman Catholic Diocesan Corporation was negligent and reckless in allowing the accused to work with children, since the accused had a history of sexually abusing minors.

An article by the Associated Press discussed the case, noting the Supreme Court rejected every one of the archdiocese's arguments. These arguments included a challenge on whether the church was negligent and reckless in allowing the accused to work with children as well as an argument that the 2002 law extending the statute of limitations was a violation of due process.

More on the law under examination

The accused argued that the retroactive extension of this law violated the basic notions of legal fairness - or his right to due process. This right is protected in both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Although the extension of the statute of limitations to 30 years is large, those in favor of the law argue its retroactive extension is not a violation of due process. Ultimately, Connecticut's Supreme Court sided with those who favor the law, ruling in for the victim unanimously. This ruling showcases the state's commitment to protect innocent youth from sexual abuse.

Impact of the ruling

The ruling does not just impact cases involving clergy. The retroactive extension was supported for all cases of sexual abuse involving a minor. As a result, those who were victimized by sexual abuse or assault in their minor years may still be able to hold the perpetrator accountable. Contact an experienced Connecticut sexual abuse lawyer to have a confidential discussion about your case and better ensure your legal rights are protected.

Keywords: sexual abuse