Catholic bishop fights extension of statute of limitations on abuse cases

New York Times:

[I]n the battle over the sex-abuse bill, which has been introduced for several years but never had a chance of passage until now, Bishop DiMarzio [of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn] has mounted such an urgent and aggressive sally into the political realm that some elected officials and community leaders have questioned whether he has overstepped church-state boundaries.

In the darkest view, some say he entered into a pact with a Brooklyn power broker, Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez — ousting a priest as head of a Brooklyn community group that was tangling with Mr. Lopez. In return, according to this narrative, Mr. Lopez wrote a competing bill that would not lift the statute of limitations on abuse lawsuits.

Under current law, plaintiffs have five years after turning 18 to file suits involving claims of sex abuse during their childhood. Both versions of the pending legislation would increase the period to 10 years.

Under the version of the bill the bishop opposes, any plaintiffs, regardless of age, would have a one-year period to sue over child-abuse charges that took place at any point in their lives, no matter how long ago.

There is more at the diocese’s homepage.

The bill is opposed by all of New York state’s Catholic bishops.

The bishop says the assets of the diocese need to be protected so it can continue its social services work.

The Episcopal Church is not immune.

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