Maryland AG Vows to Defend Controversial Lookback Provision

Maryland AG Vows to Defend Controversial Lookback Provision

State Attorney General Anthony Brown said that since a proposal to abolish the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases was “not clearly unconstitutional,” his office would defend it in court.

The proposal has more momentum than in years past when it failed to pass out of the Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee. Advocates for the bill say that the changes are necessary because abuse survivors often do not come forward with claims until they are in their 50s, making it difficult to hold abusers and the institutions that protect them legally accountable.

Opponents of a lookback window, including the Catholic Church, argue that by passing a statute of repose in 2017, lawmakers created a “vested right” that protected institutions from out-of-date lawsuits.

Statute of Limitations

Laws should protect everyone, which is why the law includes a statute of limitations in civil cases. However, laws should not favor anyone, which is why, in this case, a revised SOL is necessary.

Briefly, the statute of limitations bars civil claims after a certain length of time. The injury claim statute of limitations in Maryland is generally two years.

Normally, that is more than enough time for a victim to partner with a Baltimore personal injury attorney who builds a case and works to obtain maximum compensation before filing legal paperwork. However, sexual abuse matters are not normal injury cases.

Childhood sex abuse survivors rarely come forward straightaway, mostly because they fear embarrassment and retaliation. These fears are not unfounded. 

If a child accused a priest of a heinous crime and the only “evidence” was their word against the priest’s, few people in the community would believe the child. In fact, data show that few people in the child’s own family would believe the child. 

On a side note, many same-gender abuse victims are even more reluctant to come forward because of the shame associated with such conduct in some communities and families.

Furthermore, abusers often overtly or subtly threaten retaliation. To a child, a priest is an all-powerful figure who has the means to make good on these threats.

Since the child cannot express these memories, the brain suppresses them. For many years, most people show symptoms of abuse, like depression and anger, without knowing the cause. Then, therapists must work with victims for many more years until they recover enough memories to piece together what happened.

Your Claim for Damages

As mentioned, in sexual abuse and all other injury cases, an experienced Baltimore-based personal injury lawyer starts by evaluating a case and then collecting evidence. 

In childhood sex abuse cases, such evidence usually consists of therapy and other medical records. Corroborating evidence is important as well. For example, if the victim accuses Person X of abuse, a Baltimore personal injury attorney must prove that Person X worked in that parish at that time.

More than likely, a sex abuse case against the Diocese of Maryland will be a class action lawsuit. These matters are different from piecemeal lawsuits.

Class actions bring together all victims, even those who are still struggling to recover memories. This setup allows these victims to pool their resources. As a result, they have a much better chance of obtaining fair compensation. 

If victims brought actions individually, the defendant’s high-priced lawyers could easily stamp out these smoldering individual claims. A class action lawsuit, on the other hand, is a raging fire.

Contact a Baltimore, Maryland Sex Abuse Survivor Attorney Today

Survivors of sexual abuse, especially those harmed by a member of a large entity like the Catholic Church, are entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced sexual abuse lawyer in Baltimore, contact The Yost Legal Group when you are ready to talk. Our consultations are free, safe, and completely private: 1-800-967-8529. After-hours, virtual, home, and hospital visits are also available.