The state Supreme Court released a 28-page decision Thursday regarding the allegations of child sexual abuse by various persons at St. Francis Mission School. The court generally upheld a 2010 amendment to state law that barred recovery of damages from any person or entity other than the person who perpetrated the actual sexual abuse if such actions aren’t brought by the age of 40. However, the cases in this matter commenced before the Legislature amended the law in 2010. The Supreme Court therefore declined to apply the age limit.
In turn the Supreme Court set about determining whether the record supports any genuine issue of material fact showing the Catholic societies that ran the mission committed intentional criminal acts against the men and women who brought the lawsuits.
The Supreme Court agreed with the circuit judge in the case dismissing the actions brought by seven of the plaintiffs; and remanded actions brought by two plaintiffs back to circuit court for further consideration.
The cases sent back to circuit court involve two women who as young girls were sent by their mother to beg for food. After one of the girls told her father about what had been done to her, they were no longer sent. These incidents reportedly took place in the 1950s and ’60s. The record in the cases shows in some instances that the people who ran the mission knew about abuse taking place.
The Supreme Court ruled in its decision that the two women’s cases must be examined to determine if the three elements of fraudulent concealment were sufficiently present by the people who ran the mission. Retired Justice John Konenkamp wrote the unanimous decision. It is logical and complicated. You can read the full decision here,