Connecticut Supreme Court Upholds $1 Million Verdict in Priest Abuse Case

Hartford CathedralIn a ruling recognizing the need for extended statutes of limitations for sex abuse victims, the Connecticut Supreme Court upheld a jury verdict against the Archdiocese of Hartford and one of its priests, the Rev. Ivan Ferguson. The Court rejected the Archdiocese’s arguments that the verdict was improper and should be overturned.

In oral arguments last year, the Archdiocese argued that the state legislature’s decision in 2002 to extend the statute of limitations for civil cases on sexual assault claims to 30 years from when a complainant reaches 18 was unconstitutional. The statute of limitations had previously been 17 years. The change was retroactive.
According to the Hartford Courant, the Archdiocese argued that under the previous statute the survivor’s claims would have been time barred in 2003.

“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,” the ruling said.

This is a good and just ruling that protects the rights of survivors and affords them access to justice in the courts.

Dumas Law Group has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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