Connecticut Sex Abuse Statute of Limitations

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Statute of Limitations

A bill currently working it’s way through the Connecticut Legislature would remove the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases. On the surface that sounds like a reasonable thing to do; until, that is, you consider the very possible effect of that legislation if it is passed.

Currently, under Connecticut law, a person who had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of an adult can file a lawsuit against the person or institution responsible for that abuse until his/her 48th birthday. If the current limitation of “30 years past the person’s 18th birthday” is removed, anyone at any age can claim he/she was abused at any time in the past and file a lawsuit asking for compensation.

The quandary is, as this CNN Justice article points out: Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill: “the bill would allow claims that are 70 years or older, in which key individuals are deceased, memories have been faded, and documents and other evidence have been lost.”

Even now, with the current Statute of Limitations, the situation is a virtual Disneyland for trial lawyers who will press for “a settlement”, even in cases where there is little or no evidence — and organizations and institutions, even if they are totally innocent of the charges, will most often pay those settlements rather than spend years in court and millions in lawyers fees defending themselves. If the Statute of Limitations was lifted, the number of law suits would no doubt multiply; and most of the new law suits would probably be filed by people who have no legitimate claim to compensation, people who just want to take advantage of an unfortunate situation.

Over the past weekend, the Connecticut Catholic Bishops posted a letter on their website and distributed it to every Catholic Church in the state. The letter makes their case that “The legislation would undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, threatening our parishes, our schools, and our Catholic Charities.” All Connecticut Catholics are being urged to contact their representatives and oppose this bill (H.B. 5473).

The Catholic church has, of course, the most to loose because they have made themselves the biggest target in the child-sex abuse arena by their inability to keep their house in order; but they are correct on this one.

In my opinion even that “30 years past the age of 18” is, at least in the majority of cases, far too permissive. At some point after any incident, reality tends to get skewed and many false memories and mental exaggerations will take the place of accurate memory. A 2007 Science Daily report suggests that while “children’s memory of long-ago events may be more accurate than previously thought” there is also a risk that “children’s memories have been contaminated by false information.” As years are added to the process, it will be even more unlikely that original memories are untainted.

Links:

CNN Justice: Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill

Connecticut Catholic Conference: Connecticut Bishop’s Statement on H.B. 5473

Science Daily: Children’s Memory Of Long-Ago Events May Be More Accurate Than Previously Thought

The Republicans ‘Broken Wheel’

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Ben Stein, in his CBS.com article Time for Michael Steele to Go suggests that the primary reason Michael Steele was named Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) was because he’s an African American — as was our new Democratic president and titular head of the Democratic Party. That’s the Republican version of playing the “race card.”

There is little doubt that Michael Steele has the basic credentials to qualify for the job of RNC Chairman but there seems to be much doubt (now that it’s nearly too late to bring credibility back to the RNC) that he was the best candidate for the job.

Forget about the latest “scandal” involving a Beverly Hills “bondage-fantasy” club; since his day-one, Steele has reportedly demanded a lavish lifestyle on the RNC’s dime, has made, and admitted to, many mistakes and let’s not forget the kind of decision making that led to Dede Scozzafava’s candidacy in New York’s 23rd Congressional District in 2009.

I’ll freely admit that I’m not a true Republican or even a true Conservative, I see many things very differently from either party line or either statement of political philosophy, but right now I am at the only place it makes sense to me to be, totally on the Republican/Conservative bandwagon. Granted, that bandwagon is not going in exactly the direction I would like and granted it has a “broken wheel” (the RNC) but I’ll just have to live with my misgivings and then get out and push until that broken wheel gets fixed. Judging from what we have seen come out of Washington since it’s total domination by Leftists; I feel much safer even on a broken bandwagon than I do with that particular Leftist majority leading the country.

So what’s wrong with Leftists? They have some good ideas and they certainly have ‘heart’ but economically they seem to have little common sense. Why else would they come into control of a country with serious unemployment problems and a too large national debt and, instead of taking non-viral measures to correct those problems, they spend their first year-plus creating a new, overly-expensive, complete overhaul of the healthcare system that encompasses new taxes, benefit cuts, mandates on individuals, and hundreds of new layers of bureaucracy; all things NOT conducive to solving the problems they faced a year ago.

Remember now, this is not just a blogger ‘blowing smoke’ slanted in the direction of a political party, this is a blogger trying to emulate Paul Revere: “The Leftists are here, The Leftists are here — and things are getting worse!”

News Link:

Ben Stein at CBSNews.com ( Time for Michael Steele to Go

Washington Post: Republicans withhold confidence in Steele