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VOL. 127 | NO. 39 | Monday, February 27, 2012

Tenn. Supreme Court: Abuse Case Can Proceed

By Bill Dries

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The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Monday, Feb. 27, that allegations of child sexual abuse 40 years ago involving the Catholic Diocese of Memphis can go forward.

The ruling in the case of Norman Redwing vs. The Memphis Catholic Diocese reverses a state appeals court ruling and upholds the original ruling by Circuit Court Judge D’Army Bailey.

Bailey ruled and the Tennessee Supreme Court unanimously upheld the decision that Redwing’s claims were not barred by the statute of limitations at least at this point.

The diocese argued Redwing and other victims making such allegations had a year after they turned 18 to inquire about a pattern of child sexual abuse.

Redwing alleged the late priest Milton Guthrie sexually abused him in the early to mid 1970s. His lawsuit is against the Catholic Diocese and claims church leaders knew or should have known Guthrie was a “sexual predator” and would have misled Redwing had he inquired.

Redwing’s attorneys now have an opportunity to inquire further about the allegations against the diocese.

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruling makes clear the attorneys for the Diocese could pursue a dismissal on the grounds of the statute of limitations in the future depending on what Redwing's attorneys are able to discover.

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