Saturday, October 02, 2004

Sex abuse case against priest and Richmond diocese dismissed on statute of limitations

The Richmond paper reports here ("Lawsuit against priest dismissed," 10/2/04), the Norfolk paper reports here ("Suit alleging sexual abuse by priest is dismissed," 10/2/04), and the AP reports here that a Virginia Beach lawsuit for sexual abuse against a priest and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond has been dismissed on the statute of limitations.

The Richmond article says:

"At issue in the hearing was whether Jeter's suit was filed after the deadline set by state law for personal injury lawsuits, generally within two years after a minor victim turns 18. In sexual-abuse cases, where victims may suffer suppressed memory, the law allows the two years to begin when a link is made between the abuse and the victim's problems.

The suit stated that Jeter did not recognize the connection between his anxiety and the abuse until counseling during the two years before the suit was filed in October 2003.

Roberts and Etherington argued that Jeter knew he was suffering the consequences of the abuse in 1996, when he first complained to the diocese."

Va. Code 8.01-249 provides: The cause of action in the actions herein listed shall be deemed to accrue as follows: . . . 6. In actions for injury to the person, whatever the theory of recovery, resulting from sexual abuse occurring during the infancy or incapacity of the person, upon removal of the disability of infancy or incapacity as provided in § 8.01-229 or, if the fact of the injury and its causal connection to the sexual abuse is not then known, when the fact of the injury and its causal connection to the sexual abuse is first communicated to the person by a licensed physician, psychologist, or clinical psychologist. As used in this subdivision, "sexual abuse" means sexual abuse as defined in subdivision 6 of § 18.2-67.10 and acts constituting rape, sodomy, object sexual penetration or sexual battery as defined in Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2.

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