Minnesota Senate OKs Bill Easing Lawsuits for Child Sexual Abuse

Change in Minnesota Law would:

  • For older cases, it would create a three-year window for past victims to file lawsuits against abusers and institutions that may have failed to protect them

Posted on May 10, 2013

“This is a huge development. Other states likely will follow.” —  Tim Kosnoff
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/05/08/politics/senate-passes-bill-easing-lawsuits-for-child-sexual-abuse

Our attorneys are highly experienced in child sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

 

Alleged Abuse by Hawaiian Priest Has a Familiar Ring to It

By TIM KOSNOFF

Cops know it as “M.O.” In Latin it’s “modus operandi” and in English it’s “mode” or “method” of operation.

In matters of child sexual abuse, the M.O. is often eerily the same. Such, according to recent allegations, was the case pertaining to Father George DeCosta, a priest in Hawaii. DeCostsa is listed in a database of priests publicly accused of childhood sexual abuse in Hawaii, as tracked by BishopAccountability.org.  http://www.bishop-accountability.org/
The temptation is to use the cliché, “Stop us if you’ve heard this one.” At our law firm we’ve heard the familiar sounding account many times, and the details are as predictable as recurring bad dreams.

The following is from the Aug. 22, 2012, Hawaii Tribune Herald:
 The child sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church has hit close to home, with fingers of accusation pointing at a priest revered in the local community.


Father George DeCosta, who for almost three decades was the parish priest at Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church in Keaukaha, has been accused of abuse by two Hawaii men. The two were students at Damien Memorial High School in the 1960s when DeCosta was the chaplain there. [One of the men] was a sophomore at Damien in 1968. …

        The [victim] states that DeCosta provided him with alcohol, ‘insisted they go swimming’ and ‘forced’ him into skinny dipping. He wrote that he became ‘incapacitated’ and when he awoke DeCosta was ‘masturbating’ him and ‘fondling his testicles.

Continue reading

Kosnoff Fasy welcomes Kara Tredway, our newest associate

By Dan Fasy

Tim Kosnoff and I are extremely please to announce the arrival of the newest member of our firm, Kara A. Tredway. She is a 2011 distinguished graduate of the McGeorge School of Law at University of the Pacific, Sacramento.

Kara will be particularly valuable to our firm as we take on clients from California, where she is a bar association member, as she is here in Washington state.

To give readers an idea of Kara’s background and aspirations, we posed a series of questions:

Why did you decide to go to law school?

I decided from a very young age that I wanted to become a lawyer. My parents were always supportive but also told me to keep an open mind about finally deciding on a career path.  Throughout high school, college and beyond I continued to hold fast to my dream of becoming a lawyer.  In all that time, I never once truly considered any other path for myself, so I decided to fulfill my dream and entered law school in 2008.

Continue reading

Washington State Extends the Statute of Limitations for Filing Criminal Charges in Child Sex-Abuse Cases

“This is a very significant development because it will protect children. The new changes in the law will enable victims to bring criminal actions against their abusers when they’re adults — when they’re better prepared emotionally and psychologically to assist in the prosecution.”Tim Kosnoff

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/spincontrol/2013/apr/18/child-sex-abuse-prosecutions-extended/

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338

Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Joliet, Illinois: How one abuse victim pushed for release of secret church files, and prevailed

By DAN FASY

It could’ve been a heart-breaking tale. Instead it’s eminently heartening, about a man wanting to do more than settle his case with Catholic Church officials who, for more than half a century, were the enablers and protectors of pedophile priests in and around Joliet, Illinois.

In a superb story (URL below) by three Chicago Tribune reporters, it’s recounted how David Rudofski stood up to the power of the Joliet  Archdiocese. Rudofski was sexually abused the day of his first confession. In settling his case, Rudofski demanded that church officials make public what proved to be more than 7,000 documents detailing how pedophile priests were protected and child victims were ignored.

Continue reading

The Next Frontier of Scholarly Study: Sexual Abuse in Puerto Rico

By TIM KOSNOFF

We often broach the notion of statutes of limitation, typically within the context of how such time constraints serve the purposes of certain pedophiles and hinder the ability of the abused to seek damages in civil litigation.

Let’s look at the notion of time limits in a different way and ask rhetorically: Is there a built-in time period after which the effects on the victim miraculously just disappear?
Common sense tells us such a supposition is ridiculous. Anecdotal evidence continually reveals to those of us who litigate against accused abusers that the devastating effects on victims can linger for entire lifetimes.

An ongoing scholarly study seems to show precisely how observable the damage to victims can be. It’s being conducted among subjects in Puerto Rico: interesting given that the Caribbean island probably isn’t the first place many think of when the topic of child sexual abuse is brought up. Here, then, from a 2011 article in the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times, is a refresher:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico  — A lawsuit filed Monday in a Puerto Rico court accuses a St. John’s Abbey [a Minnesota institution] monk of sexually abusing a teenager in 1978 at a boarding school in [the Puerto Rican city of] Humacao.
Continue reading

The Sad, But All Too Familiar Fact in Abuse Cases: Pedophiles are Often ‘Trusted,’ Well Known by Survivors and Relatives

By DAN FASY

A recent pair of links we posted on our Facebook page inadvertently demonstrate something of a range of ways the scourge of child sexual abuse is revealed to the public.

One is a news story about the aunt of an alleged victim discovering references to abuse incidents on her niece’s Facebook page. The allegations indicate that the predator is another member of the extended Indianapolis family.
If so, the case would jibe with several familiar patterns. One is the high likelihood that the pedophile would be well known by the victim — would, in fact, likely be a family member. Another is that the alleged victim waited, in this case about two years, before revealing what she remembers. Yet another is the implicit reluctance of the victim to more overtly come forward and charge the perpetrator.

One certainly can understand the reluctance. Imagine the feeling of powerlessness of, in this instance, a 13-year-old girl. She’s already been forced by circumstances to process what she claims are two cases of molestation. Then she has to summon the emotional wherewithal to come forward in some fashion and, in effect, let the world know what happened.

Continue reading

Pennsylvania: Home to Two High-Profile Child Sexual-Abuse Scandals, Eyeing Change

By DAN FASY

Our Facebook page is updated weekdays to apprise interested parties about the many aspects pertaining to child sexual abuse. We cull reports from world media and provide links for readers. By its nature, the page can seem unremittingly grim.

Now and then, however, news comes along that at least seems to ameliorate the inevitable feelings of hopelessness about the fight against pedophilia. One such report is emerging from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. What better place, one would think, than a state that has been home relatively recently to a couple of the world’s most high-profile stories of child sexual abuse.

The following is from an article earlier this year in the Uniontown Herald-Standard:
“A group of state lawmakers who said they were frustrated that the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky and the [Philadelphia] Roman Catholic sex abuse scandals were not enough to move legislation out of committee last year, announced plans Wednesday [Jan. 23] to reintroduce a bill that would remove the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.

Continue reading

A 50-State Map of Reported Child Sexual-Abuse Cases within the Catholic Church

By TIM KOSNOFF

Certain Americans may miss seeing online and in various print media a blue-and-red-hued map indicating the state-by-state horse race that was the United States presidential election of last fall.

Perhaps interested parties might find another colorful U.S. map to be instructive. It’s done up in a veritable rainbow of colors, the brightness of the cartography scarcely coordinating with the dark details indicated in the map http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbydiocese.html.

The document is the work of a group called Bishop Accountability. The advocacy organization compiles evidence of child sexual abuse relating to crimes and accusations from Catholic dioceses in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. It’s quite a staggering scheme of details.

B.A. made headlines by releasing some 6,000 documents relating to the highly publicized child-sexual-abuse scandals in Philadelphia http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2013/01/24/latest-news-philadelphia-catholic-church-sex-abuse-scandal/

For a macro reckoning of crimes and transgressions throughout the country, go to the map indicated by the url above.

Point and click, for example, to Washington state. Highlighted are the Archdiocese of Seattle and the diocese of Spokane and Yakima.

Continue reading

Revising the Statute of Limitations in New York and Other States is the Right Thing to Do

By DANIEL FASY

No one can say that Margaret M. Markey hasn’t tried.

The New York State assemblywoman has been laboring in vain since 2006 to change the way that the Empire State has remained maddeningly negligent in facing a pressing need, articulated last May by the Queens Borough Democrat

Last spring she wrote to constituents:

“I held a series of informational events in Albany earlier this year to bring to the attention of Governor [Andrew] Cuomo and my colleagues in the Legislature to the wide-ranging problem of child sexual abuse in society.

“We looked at the recent revelations in the world of sports and learned about abuse in schools and institutions. We heard one of the state’s leading prosecutors speak about how current statutes of limitations in New York State need to be changed in order to bring justice to victims.

Continue reading