"Maryland State Capitol Building" by Marylandstater / Public Domain

When Maryland gave abuse victims more time to sue, it may have also protected institutions, including the Catholic Church

Apr 1, 2019

By Erin Cox, and Justin Wm. Moyer

Two years ago, Maryland lawmakers made it easier for adults sexually abused as children to sue institutions that harbored predators.

They may have also irreversibly granted some immunity to the Catholic Church.

A provision tucked into a 2017 law now stands in the way of Maryland joining a nationwide effort to bring justice to victims who come to terms with childhood abuse when they reach middle age and, for decades, have had no recourse in civil courts.

The language was pushed by lobbyists for the Catholic Church two years ago as part of a compromise to extend Maryland’s civil statute of limitations from age 25 to 38. Because it forbids the state from raising the maximum age above 38, it effectively inoculates the church and other organizations from costly lawsuits that could reveal whether they sheltered abusers decades ago.

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