Vermont bill would end the statute of limitations for civil physical abuse

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Vermont senators sit spaced apart to meet the social distance requirements set by the governor, Tuesday March 24, 2020, at the Statehouse in Montpelier, Vt. The Senate met with 17 members, one over the required quorum, to pass legislation needed to confront the coronavirus pandemic. (Paul Heintz/Seven Days via AP, Pool)

The Vermont Senate has passed a proposal to eliminate the statute of limitations in civil cases of childhood physical abuse.

The bill given unanimous approval on Tuesday builds on legislation passed two years ago that ended the statute of limitations in past childhood sexual abuse cases.

The proposal that passed Tuesday was pushed by a group of now-aging people who say they suffered physical abuse while living at the St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington, which closed in 1974. In December Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan released a report saying abuse did occur at the orphanage.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

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