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Utah Supreme Court won't reconsider controversial ruling on sex abuse lawsuits

Posted at 9:28 AM, Jul 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-25 11:28:12-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court is refusing to reconsider a controversial ruling on the statute of limitations for sex abuse.

Without comment, Associate Chief Justice Thomas Lee filed an order last week denying a request for a re-hearing. It was sought by Rocky Anderson, the attorney for Terry Mitchell. She is suing former federal judge Richard Roberts, accusing him of abusing her when she was a 16-year-old witness in a high-profile murder case in the 1980s and he was a prosecutor.

Roberts retired as chief of Washington D.C.'s federal bench the same day Mitchell filed her lawsuit against him.

Mitchell sought to take advantage of a 2015 law passed by the Utah State Legislature that lifted the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse. But the Utah Supreme Court ruled last month the law could not be applied retroactively.

The ruling is already impacting several sex abuse lawsuits pending in the court system.

The Court's ruling has sparked outrage from some lawmakers, victim advocates and sex abuse survivors. One lawmaker is contemplating a constitutional amendment to overrule the Court's decision. \