Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Important Clergy Abuse Case

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on oral arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court yesterday in an important case on Catholic Church liability for priest sexual abuse occurring many years ago:

At issue is the claim by plaintiff Renee Rice of Altoona that the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown conspired to cover up abuse by priests including that of her own alleged assailant — the Rev. Charles Bodziak — in the 1970s and 1980s. She sued the diocese for alleged fraud and concealment, saying that it was not until a 2016 statewide grand jury report that she learned of “a massive, systemic conspiracy of coverup to allow … children to be abused repeatedly,” attorney Alan Perer said.

But in repeated questioning, some of the justices echoed the argument of the diocese’s own attorney — that a plaintiff has an obligation within the statute of limitations to investigate the source of her injury and those who may have been responsible for it.

Plaintiff argues that it should be up to a jury to decide if she should have investigated sooner.