The Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld a $1 million jury verdict in a priest sexual abuse case against the Archdiocese of Hartford. The 57-page majority ruling also shot down challenges from the diocese that the state’s expanded statute of limitations for bringing sex abuse claims was unconstitutional.
“Given the unique psychological and social factors that often result in delayed reporting of childhood sexual abuse, which frustrated the ability of victims to bring an action under earlier revisions of the statute of limitations, we cannot say that the legislature acted unreasonably or irrationally in determining that the revival of child sexual abuse victims’ previously time barred claims serves a legitimate public interest and accomplishes that purpose in a reasonable way,” wrote Justice Richard Robinson.
Initially such lawsuits had to be filed two years after the victim reached the age of 18. Then in 1991, Connecticut lawmakers extended the statute of limitations to allow civil sexual abuse claims brought by victims until they reach the age of 35 years old. In 2002, during the Bridgeport Catholic Diocese scandal, lawmakers extended the age again, this time allowing plaintifs to file suit until they reach the age of 48.