Susan Burke, the plaintiff’s attorney, gave The Wartburg Watch permission to reprint the following statement, verbatim.
We (the victims and the lawyers) all knew about the statute issue at the outset. But fighting for justice means doing so even against known obstacles. We had a conspiracy theory to overcome the statute but the Court rejected it. The victims are all brave and courageous people whose willingness to fight against evil has already made a difference in the world. Also, please realize going forward with a civil lawsuit does not in any way prevent criminal actions – perhaps may even make it more likely. And please keep praying, as we think the Court erred, and will be appealing her ruling.
All the best,
Susan L. Burke
If you read the 2nd Amended Complaint you’ll notice the emphasis on the conspiracy by the Defendants being discovered by the Plaintiffs in August, 2011. Susan Burke and Bill O’Neil hoped to overcome the statute of limitations using this legal argument.
These two lawyers took the case knowing it would be hard to argue successfully. They invested a lot of their own resources for the good of justice, the cause of the Plaintiffs, and the prevention of sex abuse. The same is true of the Defendants. One told me, they planned to keep $1 in damages and put the rest into a non-profit Foundation to help the victims of abuse.
The law “may” require the Judge to dismiss the case due to the statute of limitations. If so, she did no wrong but that does NOT mean justice has been served. It has been circumvented. God is interested in justice. Civil authorities often fall short in providing it. Then again the appeal may be successful.
This much I can tell you with certainty. Going forward with the appeal “does not in any way prevent criminal actions – perhaps may even make it more likely.” “Criminal actions.” That means arresting people. “More likely.” That is an understatement by Ms. Burke.
The criminal investigations are going on behind the scenes. Believe me when I say no one cited in the lawsuit is sleeping well at night. There are numerous criminal charges under consideration from obstruction of justice to rape. Plaintiffs are determined to press ahead. They may never be remunerated but they are not going to let their abusers, abuse others. The dismissal was excruciating but they are undeterred. Pray for them.
Pray also for law enforcement officials, witnesses who provide testimony, and victims in other churches who are afraid to come forward.
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