Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on civil sexual abuse cases have not changed since 2002, something Pennsylvania sexual abuse survivors and advocates are working hard to change. Statute of limitations are the time limits that state legislatures place on individuals to start legal proceedings, in this case, for sexual abuse. The clock usually starts ticking from the date the alleged abuse happened. But, these time limits are often far too short or restrictive for abuse survivors. Statute of limitations often fail to account for the fact that it can take decades for an abuse survivor to acknowledge their abuse, let alone decide to file a lawsuit against their abuser(s) in civil court. In Pennsylvania, abuse survivors have until the age of 30 to file a lawsuit for their abuse in civil court, a time limit that completely bars older survivors from pursuing justice for their abuse.
However, a recent verdict in the Pennsylvania state courts may allow older sexual abuse survivors a chance to pursue justice against their abusers despite the state’s restrictive statute of limitations. This court ruling may even mean sexual abuse cases that happened decades ago or were time-barred can be brought forward once again.
Essentially, this trial ruling indicates that If you were sexually abused in Pennsylvania as a child and your abuse was hidden or concealed, you may have a second chance to file a claim. To see if you may be eligible to file a claim for your abuse, call AVA Law Group today for your free, no-obligation case consultation.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent ruling in a sexual abuse case may turn the tides in favor of Pennsylvania sexual abuse survivors. On August 14, 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ms. Renee Rice, a sexual abuse victim suing the Roman Catholic Church for covering up her sexual abuse. In Rice v. Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Ms. Rice claimed a priest sexually abused her in the 1970’s. Ms. Rice charged the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown with constructive fraud, fraud, and civil conspiracy.
Because of Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations, Ms. Rice’s claim should have been dismissed. However, because she only learned that her abuse was covered up in 2016, she was able to seek justice for her abuse. Ms. Rice only learned of the abuse cover-up after the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General released a grand jury report in 2016 listing the details of how the diocese covered up child sex abuse.
Essentially, because of this court verdict, if sufficient facts show that a confidential relationship existed between you and an institution, and that resulted in your abuse being falsely concealed, then the statute of limitations do not apply to your case. Even if past Pennsylvania statute of limitations expired for your case, if your abuse was fraudulently concealed by an institution, you may have a second chance to pursue justice for your abuse.
The verdict of Rice v. Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown may mean you could have a second chance to pursue justice for your sexual abuse. From this case alone, three other cases have been allowed to proceed in the Pennsylvania courts, cases that would have otherwise been barred from time limits.
Additionally, if you were abused by a member of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Pennsylvania, the odds that your abuse may have been fraudulently concealed may be increased and could allow you to file a claim for your abuse.
If you were sexually abused in Pennsylvania, you may have a second chance to pursue justice because of this recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling. We understand that confronting your abuse can be difficult, let alone deciding to file a claim for your abuse. At AVA Law Group, we're here to support you through the process and do our best to make the filing of a claim as smooth and hassle-free as possible.
The sexual abuse attorneys with AVA Law Group possess decades of combined experience handling even the most difficult sexual abuse cases, so you can rest assured that your case is being handled by experienced professionals in the field of personal injury law. Best of all, we operate on a contingent-fee basis, so you never pay anything out of pocket. We only are paid when we win or settle your case, and that fee comes out of the amount awarded to you in your case.
Connect with AVA Law Group today for your free, no-obligation case consultation to see if you may be eligible to file a claim for your abuse. We provide 24/7 care via email, phone call, or text messaging, so you can connect through whatever platform you feel most comfortable with. Call 1.866.4.AVALAW today.