A bill to remove time limits on the filing of lawsuits by victims of child sexual abuse has failed to make it out of the Judiciary Committee.

“For now, it’s not going forward. I am a little discouraged,” said Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford, one of the leading advocates to remove the time limits. “I am not sure we had all the votes we needed.”

She also said with the committee facing a Friday deadline to act on bills, the controversial measure was sure to monopolize time.

The proposal — which faced opposition from the insurance industry and the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference — would have lifted to 30-year window victims have to file suit for all future actions.

The statute of limitations question is of immediate importance to the Catholic Conference because of a high-profile case currently taking place against St. Francis Hospital. That suit claims the hospital failed to appropriately handle sexual abuse allegations against Dr. George Reardon, former St. Francis endocrinologist suspected of abusing hundreds of children starting as early as the 1960s. More than 50 victims in that case are unable to file suit because too much time has passed.

Previous attempts to lift the statue of limitations have failed, but Bye had described the latest proposal as a “compromise” because it would only apply to future cases and would not help the victims in the Reardon case.

The Insurance Association of Connecticut testified against the bill because they said it would be difficult to prove a case 60 years after an alleged event took place.

Bye said even though the proposal is not expected to go anywhere this year, she does not plan to give up.

“This isn’t going away,” she said.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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