It's been nearly three years since Minnesota opened a path for lawsuits by victims of long-ago childhood sexual abuse.
In that time, more than 800 people have brought abuse claims against churches, the Boy Scouts, schools and a children's theater company. Previously unknown offenders have been exposed. Two Roman Catholic dioceses have filed bankruptcy. Lists of credibly accused priests and thousands of documents have been released. And the heightened scrutiny played a part in the downfall of two bishops.
Minnesota's window, which closes this month, was strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and other institutions that are now fighting to block similar exemptions to the statutes of limitations in Pennsylvania and New York, citing the effects in Minnesota and other states. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for bankruptcy protection last year, and the Duluth diocese followed after a jury found it responsible for $4.8 million of an $8.1 million jury award to just one man.
"This law has been one of the most transformative and far-reaching laws that have ever been passed — to not only protect kids in the community but to give survivors who have been hurt a voice and a chance to recover some power," said attorney Jeff Anderson, who has filed the vast majority of the new cases in Minnesota.
As the May 25 deadline approaches, Anderson said his firm has been so busy that he hadn't kept a running count of cases until asked by The Associated Press. More than half of the claims his firm is handling involve abuse by Catholic clergy, he said, and have forced the release of names of more than 200 alleged molesters who hadn't been publicly accused before.
This article continues at [Deseret News] In Minnesota, 100s take opportunity to sue over sex abuse