Delayed Justice: 3 States Remove All Time Limits on Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) Ann Allen loved going to church and the after-school social group led by a dynamic priest back in the 1960s.
The giggling fun with friends always ended with a game of hide and seek. Each week, the Rev. Lawrence Sabatino chose one girl to hide with him. Allen said when it was her turn, she was sexually assaulted, at age 7, in the recesses of St. Peters Catholic Church.
I dont remember how I got out of that cellar and I dont think I ever will. But I remember it like its yesterday. I remember the smells. The sounds. I remember what he said, and what he did," she said.
Allen, 64, is one of more than two dozen people who have sued the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, Maine, over the past year, seeking delayed justice since lawmakers allowed lawsuits for abuse that happened long ago and can't be pursued in criminal courts either because of time limits or evidence diminishing over time.
More survivors are pursuing cases as states increasingly consider repealing time limits for child sex crime lawsuits. Vermont was the first state to remove the limits in 2019, followed by Maine in 2021 and Maryland this year.