If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.

A Maine law that lifted a statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims has been ruled constitutional after it was challenged by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

Maine removed its statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases in 2000, but that change wasn’t retroactive, so victims couldn’t sue for older crimes. Changes to state law in 2021 made it possible for people to seek legal action for older claims that previously expired.

The diocese suggested that the  2021 law was unconstitutional through retroactive changes that violate due process and vested rights in the complaints, which started in November.

However, Cumberland County Superior Justice Thomas McKeon ruled on Tuesday that the current cases naming the diocese could go forward, the Portland Press Herald reported. 

So far, 13   lawsuits  have  been  brought since the statute of limitations was eliminated altogether. Some of them focus on abuse that happened in the 1960s.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.