Sunday, June 4, 2006
Case Law Development: Ohio Supreme Court Says Child Victims of Sexual Abuse Must Sue Priest’s Employer by Age 20
In a 5-2 ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Ohioans who accuse Catholic priests of abusing them as children and sue the Diocese are barred from bringing legal action unless they initiate the action by age 20. Specifically, the court held that a minor who is the victim of sexual abuse has two years from the date he or she reaches the age of majority to assert any claims against the employer of the perpetrator arising from the sexual abuse when at the time of the abuse, the victim knows the identity of the perpetrator, the employer of the perpetrator, and that a battery has occurred. The court observed that the statute of limitations does not apply to cases of repressed memory. The ruling contains a fairly extensive review of decisions on this issue from other state courts. A copy of the slip opinion of the Ohio Supreme Court in Doe v. Archdiocese of Cincinnati may be found by clicking here (last visited June 4, 2006, reo).