The Delaware Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a 2007 law that allowed victims of child sexual abuse to file lawsuits that otherwise would have been barred by the passage of time.
The ruling is a victory for those involved in litigation with the Wilmington Diocese over sexual abuse. In an opinion issued Tuesday, the court said the law does not violate the due process rights of a religious order that has been sued by several alleged victims of priest sex abuse.
In upholding the law, the court ordered a new trial for James Sheehan, whose lawsuit filed under the Child Victims Act of 2007 was the first to go to trial.
“This is a tremendous victory for all survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Delaware,” said Sheehan’s attorney Stephen J. Neuberger. “My client thanks the Delaware Supreme Court for its thoughtful consideration of these complex issues and for unanimously ensuring that the courthouse doors remain open to all abuse survivors.”
The court affirmed that the General Assembly has the authority to determine a statute of limitations, which is the amount of time given for someone to sue.