By Derrick DePledge
Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, has urged Gov. Neil Abercrombie to veto a bill that would give victims another two years to file lawsuits over decades-old child sexual assault claims.
The two-year window to file lawsuits closed in late April, but lawmakers agreed to extend the time period until April 2016 and to add the state and counties as potential targets. Dozens of lawsuits have been filed against alleged abusers over the past two years, many involving the clergy.
The Catholic League, based in New York, is the nation's largest Catholic civil rights group.
In a letter to Abercrombie on Thursday, Donohue argued that the bill "does violence" to the civil liberties of the accused. He said that even though the bill would now apply to public schools, he believes the real target is the Catholic Church.
There are fundamental due process reasons why statutes of limitation exist: memories fade, witnesses die, and determinations of the truth are compromised. The idea that cases can be fairly adjudicated when they extend back decades -- even a half-century or more -- is ludicrous.