Connecticut court upholds $1 million award in priest sex abuse case

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 26, 2015 7:18 PM

By Richard Weizel

MILFORD, Conn (Reuters) - The Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday upheld a $1 million jury award to a man who said he was sexually abused by a priest in the Archdiocese of Hartford.

The unanimous ruling, which also upheld a 2002 state law that expanded the statute of limitations for sex abuse claims, was handed down on behalf of the man, identified in court records as Jacob Doe, who brought legal action against the archdiocese in 2008.

He claimed he was sexually abused by Rev. Ivan Ferguson at least 20 times between 1981 and 1983, while a student at the St. Mary’s school in Derby, Connecticut, starting when he was 13.

A Waterbury Superior Court jury found in 2012 the archdiocese was "reckless and negligent" for allowing Ferguson to work with children in 1981 at St. Mary's after he had received treatment for abusing other boys.

The archdiocese appealed, saying there was insufficient evidence of negligence and recklessness, and that retroactive use of the 2002 state law expanding the statute of limitations for such cases violated due process rights.

The court rejected the arguments.

Ferguson died in 2002, the same year the state legislature extended the statute of limitation on sex assault cases to 30 years from when a complainant reaches 18 years old.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Mohammad Zargham)