On May 25th, 2002, the Diocese of Lafayette filed writ application to challenge the constitutionality of the new statute of limitations law in Louisiana, with the Louisiana Supreme Court..
The original bill was opposed by the Louisiana Council of Bishops during the initial house hearing. The Catholic church was the only party that opposed the bill, which would go on to unanimously pass the house and senate, and was signed into law by Governor Edwards. The new law eliminates the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children, and offers a three year look back window so that survivors and victims, regardless when they were abuse, can pursue justice in the state's civil courts.
Upon the passing of the law, Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who is the chair of the Louisiana Council of Bishops, had a complete charge of heart, and then surprisingly supported the law upon in a public statement:
“As a Church we remain committed to doing all that we can for the healing of survivors of abuse. This legislation allows those abused not only in churches and schools but in their families, playgrounds, workplaces, youth organizations, and other public businesses where children and teenagers should be safe to pursue their claims in court regardless of when it occurred.”
But in a drastic third turnaround, the church is now challenging the law, which has been upheld in the local courts and the appeals court.
We will continue covering this story as it evolves.
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