National Catholic Reporter

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Massachusetts governor signs new statute of limitations bill

 |  NCR Today

On June 26, Boston Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a bill that extends the statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse to file civil suit against their alleged perpetrators, effective immediately. Victims up to the age of 53 are able to file suit, allowing an additional 32 years from the previous law's age limitation of 21.

The bill also allows lawsuits against the accused abuser's supervisors and the institution he or she worked or volunteered for from June 26 forward, but not retroactively.

A previous bill to extend the statute of limitations that did not include a retroactive clause concerning institutions went to the Massachusetts state legislature in 2012, where it met heavy church resistance and failed. Advocates, survivors and legislators met with the Massachusetts Catholic Conference to negotiate a new bill that gained the support of the church. The bill removed retroactive liability for institutions such as the church and was passed unanimously through the Massachusetts House and Senate in June.

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[Nicholas Sciarappa is an NCR Bertelsen intern. His email address is nsciarappa@ncronline.org.]

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