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ND legislature pressured to extend statute of limitations for sex abuse charges against Catholic Church

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Three attorneys who conducted their own investigation into clergy sex abuse want the North Dakota Legislature to open up the statute of limitations that has protected offenders in civil cases against the Catholic church.

They are also demanding that that the state’s two Roman Catholic dioceses release more files on accused priests.

The Fargo and Bismarck dioceses in January released a list of 53 clergy members with substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, but it did not include their assignment histories.

Attorneys Michael Bryant, Tatum O’Brien and Tim O’Keeffe released those histories Wednesday. The dioceses say a review by the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation on their files of deacons, priests and bishops is almost complete. 

Meanwhile, a South Dakota legislative committee killed a bill in February that would have broadened the statue of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse by priests to pursue civil suits against the Catholic church.

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