Law firms oppose motion to dismiss lawsuit against Archdiocese of Washington


Two Maryland-based law firms have partnered to oppose a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Washington in a hearing on behalf of sex abuse victims who have come forward.

Schochor, Staton, Goldberg and Cardea, P.A. and Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC are the two firms who oppose the motion. The lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court for Prince George’s County on behalf of all survivors of child sexual abuse affiliated with the Archdiocese of Washington.

The Child Victims Act of 2023 was passed in Maryland to eliminate the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse. The new law took effect on Oct. 1, the same day the suit was filed, which will allow civil suits to move forward in the state’s courts no matter when the abuse took place.

The Archdiocese of Washington requested that the lawsuit be dismissed, arguing that the Child Victims Act is unconstitutional. The archdiocese claimed that a 2017 law that placed time limits for filing, which was repealed and replaced by the Child Victims Act, was a “statute of repose,” that prevents any sex abuse claims from being revived in the future.

The two law firms that oppose the motion to dismiss the case disagree with that notion.

“The Archdiocese of Washington contends that its mission includes protection and support of its parishioners who are all members of its church. However, despite their admitted decades of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese is making transparent efforts to shield its assets and deprive its parishioners from attaining closure, moving forward with their lives and obtaining full and fair compensation which the Archdiocese owes them,” Jonathan Schochor, Founding Partner and Chairman of Schochor, Staton, Goldberg and Cardea, P.A. said in a news release. “In my opinion, their conduct is horrendous – disgraceful, in fact.”

“The Archdiocese twists the language and history of the 2017 law in arguing that it granted permanent immunity to those who failed to supervise child sexual abusers. The plain language of the 2017 law undercuts the Archdiocese’s argument, and we find it highly doubtful that the General Assembly would have gone out of its way to enact a boon to child abuse enablers,” Andrew Janet, Partner and Co-Chair, Sexual Abuse Division, Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC said in a news release. “The General Assembly and Attorney General are fighting to protect survivors of child sexual abuse, and we believe the courts will understand the importance of doing so as well.”

The court hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

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