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California court upholds statute of limitations in abuse cases

March 30, 2012

In a 5-2 decision, California’s State Supreme Court has upheld the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases. The ruling came after six brothers, alleging that they were abused in the 1970s by a priest who is now deceased, sued the bishop of Oakland.

In 2003, the statute of limitations was lifted for one year in California, leading to a flood of lawsuits against California dioceses.

“Although we are unreservedly sympathetic to the plight of persons who were subjected to childhood sexual abuse, we note that the preexisting limitations period, along with the one-year revival period ... afforded victims a very considerable time following the abuse in which to come to maturity, or even middle age, and discover the claim,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote in her opinion.


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