Defeated: Extension of statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims

The statue of limitations for civil actions in child sex abuse cases will not be extended this year, as state lawmakers conceded today they cannot pass the bill this legislative session.

“You’re running a marathon, not a sprint,” said Sen.Mary Ann Handley, D-Manchester, recognizing that time was not on their side with the legislature having just six days left this session.

The impetus for this bill was an effort to allow dozens of victims of Dr. George Reardon to sue even though their case is too old under state law.

Rep. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, was in tears during a press conference at the legislative office building today, reflecting on the phone call she had to make last night to one of Reardon’s victims to tell him this would not be the year the statue would be lifted.

House Minority Leader Lawrence F. Cafero, R-Norwalk, opposes the bill, saying he has “grave concerns” because it would only apply to the Reardon case.

“Justice is blind. …This carved out a unique exception,” he said.

The bill has been introduced for the last three years, but this is the first year it has made it out of the Judiciary Committee, Handley said.

“That is progress,” she said. “This fight is not over.”.

Victims currently have until they are 48 years-old to file a civil lawsuit. This bill would have opened the door for victims to join other lawsuits against the same defendant.

Opponents of the bill include St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center where Reardon worked. With Reardon dead, St. Francis would have been the target of any victims who gained the right to sue.

Alaska, Delaware, and Minnesota have no statue of limitation on child sex abuse civil cases, Handley said.