The Oregon Supreme Court unanimously cleared the way for a lawsuit brought by 7 men who claim they were molested decades ago by a Lake Oswego public school teacher. The decision reverses two lower court rulings.
Generally in Oregon, individuals who were subjected to sexual abuse when they were children are allowed to file claims against their abusers up until the age of 40. But because it can sometimes be years before victims come to terms with the abuse and the personal toll that it takes, the statute allows for some claims to be filed even later than that.
But the law doesn’t apply to public agencies where the statute of limitations is just 2 years.
Kelly Clark is an attorney with the law firm O’Donnell, Clark and Crew.
He argued the case on behalf of the plaintiffs.
“What the court did here was to look at our allegations and say well that two years doesn’t begin to run necessarily from the time of the touching it begins to run from the time that a person reasonably understands that they’ve been injured,” says Clark.
Whether the seven plaintiffs were reasonable in that claim will now be up to a jury. Clark expects the case could go to trial in the next year.