***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
Appeals court says sexual abuse lawsuit against Archdiocese of Atlanta can move forward
July 18, 2014—The Georgia Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that prohibited a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Atlanta from moving forward because the suit was filed under the pseudonym “Jane Doe”.
Last year, a Fulton County judge dismissed a sexual abuse lawsuit filed by nationally recognized attorney for victims of sexual abuse, Jeff Herman (www.hermanlaw.com), against the Archdiocese of Atlanta. The complaint alleged that Paul Berrell, a now-imprisoned former music minister at Holy Cross Catholic Church sexually abused a young parishioner nine years ago.
The judge ruled that the lawsuit’s filing under the pseudonym “Jane Doe” violated Georgia law and, because of that, it could not be amended to meet a now-passed statute of limitation deadline.
The lower court’s decision was reversed and remanded by the Court of Appeals yesterday.
“This is a significant victory for victims of sexual abuse,” said Jeff Herman, the attorney for Jane Doe.
“This decision will hopefully encourage those victims still suffering in silence to come forward without fear of further harm.”
A copy of the opinion in Jane Doe v. Archdiocese of Atlanta (Appeal Case No: A14A0603) is available upon request.