RI Catholic leaders oppose latest demand for bill on sex-abuse lawsuits

By Ted Nesi

Rhode Island’s Catholic hierarchy on Monday rejected a new push to retroactively extend the state’s civil statute of limitations on child sex abuse, as explosive revelations in Pennsylvania reignited the debate.

At a State House news conference, state Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee and state Sen. Donna Nesselbush demanded that House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio allow a vote on a bill that would extend the civil statute of limitations to 35 years after the victim turns 18. They were joined by more than a dozen other legislators.

The move could mean new lawsuits against the church and other organizations. Rhode Island’s current civil statute of limitations is seven years for child sexual abuse, though there is no time limit on criminal charges. Advocates said the comparable statutes of limitations are 35 years in Massachusetts and 30 years in Connecticut.

“No effort will be spared for us to seek justice,” Nesselbush, D-Pawtucket, said.

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