Monday, August 21, 2017

Tolling Provision Applies While Priest Is Outside State On Orders of Church Superiors

In Commonwealth v. McCormick, 2017 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 791 (MA App., Aug. 15, 2017), a Massachusetts state appeals court upheld the convictions of a Catholic priest on five counts of rape of a child.  The court rejected defendant's argument that the statute of limitations tolling provision violates the federal Establishment Clause and his free exercise rights under the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. The state statute of limitations excludes from the computation of time under the limitations period any time during which the defendant is not "usually and publicly a resident" of Massachusetts.  Plaintiff was outside the state during periods in which he was working at a camp on the orders of his superiors in the Catholic church.