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  Home :: 2007 September :: Church sex suits miss time limitation

Church sex suits miss time limitation

Claims must be filed before victim turns 30
PEORIA - Five lawsuits against the Catholic Diocese of Peoriaand several clergy members alleging child abuse were dismissed thismonth because they were time-barred under Illinois law.

Suits filed by Lisa Kyker, 53, Jeffrey Jones, 53, Ron Ver Straete, 52,and Alan Dorsey, 54, were all thrown out within the past week afterPeoria County Circuit Judge Kevin Galley held they were in violation ofstate law. A fifth person, identified as John Doe Black, also had hiscase dismissed.

Two other sex-abuse lawsuits against the diocese were dismissed in June by Circuit Judge Joe Vespa for the same reason.

In his six-page order, Galley wrote that under a 1991 law, thosealleging child abuse must file civil claims before they are 30. Anylawsuits after that were barred because of a statute of limitations.

A change in the law in 1994 repealed that section, but an IllinoisSupreme Court case a few years later upheld the sentiment of the 1991section.

Galley cited that Supreme Court case which stated that if something wasbarred under the old law, it was still barred under the new law.Anything else would violate due process claims, the state's high courtheld.

Galley also noted that all five suits were filed at least 13 yearssince the law was changed, which is more than the grace period that wasoriginally allowed by the 1991 statute.

Fred Nessler, the Springfield-based attorney for the plaintiffs, saidthe suits were "dismissed with leave to replead them with more specificfacts."

Still pending is a suit filed by John Doe White, a 34-year-old man whoclaims he was molested as a 7- or 8-year-old in 1979 while MonsignorNorman Goodman, 78, was pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church inLincoln. While his case is similar, it was not dismissed outright asthe alleged victim was able to file his suit within the allotted time.

Diocesan officials could not be reached for comment.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or Michael Miller can be reached at 686-3106 or


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia