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Old 07-30-2020, 02:42 PM
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Default Judge rules 86 child abuse lawsuits against (ROMAN CATHOLIC) LI diocese can move forward


Judge rules 86 child abuse lawsuits against LI diocese can move forward
By Priscilla DeGregory and Bernadette Hogan
July 30, 2020 | 5:08pm

A Long Island Diocese can’t postpone the 86 child sex-abuse lawsuits it’s facing as it tries to fight a law protecting underage victims, a judge ruled Thursday.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre filed its own lawsuit last November to fight the constitutionality of New York’s Child Victims Act that was passed in February 2019 allowing victims of childhood abuse — for a one-year period — to bring claims regardless of when the abuse occurred.

The Diocese, which serves more than 1.4 million Catholics in Nassau and Suffolk counties, has since asked for 86 sex abuse cases brought against it to be put on hold pending an appeal of their case fighting the CVA. The Diocese argued the stay was essential because the cost of fighting the appeal and the sex abuses cases all at once could drive it to bankruptcy.

But Thursday Nassau County Supreme Court Justice Steven Jaeger denied the Diocese’s request for a stay in the sex abuse lawsuits citing that the Diocese isn’t likely to win its appeal and because the victims have already waited far too long to fight their cases.

“The Court finds that the delay in seeking justice has already been significant and further delay is not justified,” Jaeger’s decision reads. “Many CVA plaintiffs state they have been dealing with the effects of the abuse they were subjected to for decades and that this abuse was allegedly permitted to occur by the negligence, willful blindness and/or knowing cover-up by the Diocese and others.”

Jaeger also said “the Diocese’s appeal lacks merit.”

“This decision is a green light for all survivors in New York and paves the way for survivors to uncover the truth and reclaim some of their power,” said Jeff Anderson, a lawyer who represents hundreds of victims who are suing the catholic church.

There have been a total of over 106 lawsuits brought against the Diocese of Rockville Centre — including cases filed in other jurisdictions — after the August 2019 opening of the CVA one-year look-back period.

The deadline for the look-back period was extended until January 2020 due to court delays because of the coronavirus pandemic. The state legislature approved extending the deadline until August 2021 but the governor still needs to sign it before it goes into effect.

Lawyers with the Diocese did not immediately return a request for comment.
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