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Issues of fact in molestation suit against father

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a motion of summary judgment by a father accused of molesting two of his adopted sons when they were children. The appellate court found a genuine issue of material fact as to whether his wife's conduct upon learning about the molestations amounted to collusion with the father in concealing the molestation.

In Frederick William LaCava v. Daniel LaCava and Geoffrey LaCava, No. 49A04-0808-CV-451, Frederick LaCava argued claims by Daniel and Geoffrey LaCava were barred by the statute of limitations and that in the absence of expert opinion regarding the son's claims of repressed memory, their complaint can't withstand summary judgment.

Daniel and Geoffrey claimed Frederick molested them as boys until the late 1980s and they repressed memories of it until 2005 when they found child pornography stored on Frederick's computer. They filed suit in 2005 against their father, after the two-year statute of limitations for them to have filed once they became adults expired.

As children, they told their mother Elizabeth about the abuse and she asked Frederick to leave, and they later divorced. She never reported the abuse to the authorities and allowed them to continue to see their father unsupervised. She even told them to keep quiet about the molestations when it came out Frederick molested two foster children in their home.

In her affidavit, Elizabeth claimed Daniel and Geoffrey spoke about their molestations before 2005. Their brother Andrew said in his affidavit that Geoffrey confronted their father in 1999 about the abuse in front of Andrew.

Daniel died before the motion for summary judgment was filed.

Although the statue of limitations had passed for Geoffrey and Daniel to file their suit based on their ages, the doctrine of fraudulent concealment can estop a parental defendant from asserting the statute of limitations when he has, by deception or violation of duty, concealed from the plaintiff material facts preventing the plaintiff from discovering the potential cause of action, wrote Judge Margret Robb. Frederick claimed the doctrine doesn't apply because there's no dispute Elizabeth knew about the molestations in 1989 and her knowledge should be imputed to Daniel and Geoffrey.

The appellate court found there to be a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Elizabeth's conduct when she learned about her son's molestations amounted to collusion with her husband in concealing the molestation from Daniel and Geoffrey, wrote the judge.

There is also an issue of fact as to whether Daniel and Geoffrey remembered the molestations before 2005 based on conversations they had with others.

The appellate court also ruled that based on Doe v. Shutls-Lewis Child and Family Services, Inc., 718 N.E.2d 738, 745, (Ind. 1999), Daniel and Geoffrey will need expert testimony to ultimately prevail on their claims. The trial court denied their request for a third extension of time in order to have Geoffrey evaluated by a psychiatrist and get an expert opinion on their repressed memories claims. However, the Court of Appeals held that testimony isn't required at this stage of the case. Judge Robb wrote in a footnote that Daniel didn't meet with an expert before his death, so although his claim should withstand summary judgment, it would be appropriate to voluntarily dismiss him from this litigation.

The Court of Appeals remanded for further proceedings.

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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