[JURIST] The PA Superior Court [official website] has dismissed clergy abuse lawsuits filed by 17 adults in the state because the statute of limitations had run on the claims. The alleged abuse dated between 1957 to 1983, but the plaintiffs argued that it could not be known that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia [official website] was negligent in overlooking the abuses until the issue came to light in 2002. The archdiocese has admitted that credible allegations have been made against 44 priests. The Monday ruling disposes of almost all suits pending against the Philadelphia archdiocese, but it could have an impact on similar suits across the state. In its opinion, the court wrote:
[W]e must also note that the abuses committed by agents of the Catholic Church are, by far, not isolated events. Nevertheless, we are constrained to agree with the Archdiocese in this matter, that the statute of limitations bars these claims from proceeding, and we decline to create a judicially crafted exception to the statute of limitations solely with regard to the Catholic Church.Read the court's opinion [text, PDF]. AP has more.