Bill to End Limitations in Sex-Abuse Suits Dies
Archbishop Chaput Had Criticized Colorado Measure
DENVER, Colorado, May 10, 2006 (Zenit.org).- A Colorado bill that would have lifted the statute of limitations on lawsuits in cases of sexual abuse was left to die, a move praised by the state's Catholic Conference.
House Bill 1090 would have given sex-abuse victims unlimited time to file lawsuits against public and private institutions that have been found to cover up sexual abuse. Under current state law, people who say they have been sexually abused have until age 24 to file a lawsuit.
Timothy Dore, executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, called the bill's demise "a victory of sorts," the Rocky Mountain News reported.
The measure and similar legislative movements had been criticized by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. He argued that it is questionable if singling out the Church and other private institutions for "retroactive liability" really serves justice.
The state Senate chose not to take up the House bill, and let it die Monday, the final day of the session.
Writing in the May edition of First Things magazine, Archbishop Chaput stated: "Communities of faith have an obligation to generously help people who have been hurt by their members, past or present.
"But they also have a right to maintain their mission of serving others and to be protected from predatory judgments designed to gut their resources and identity."