66 U. Colo. L. Rev. 477 (1994-1995)
Repression, Memory, and Suggestibility: A Call for Limitations on the Admissibility of Repressed Memory Testimony in Sexual Abuse Trials

handle is hein.journals/ucollr66 and id is 487 raw text is: REPRESSION, MEMORY, AND
SUGGESTIBILITY: A CALL FOR
LIMITATIONS ON THE ADMISSIBILITY
OF REPRESSED MEMORY TESTIMONY IN
SEXUAL ABUSE TRIALS
JULIE M. KOSMOND MURRAY
INTRODUCTION
In the fall of 1993, thirty-four-year-old Steven J. Cook
accused Chicago's Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of sexually
molesting him during his childhood, claiming that he had only
recently recovered his long-repressed memories of the abuse.'
Allegations like these have become almost commonplace, and
have often been met with sympathy and acceptance by the
general public. But accounts of abuse remembered through
therapy are not only accepted; in some circles, such as the
recovery movement,2 they are almost celebrated.
The legal community has responded to the public's accep-
tance of repressed-memory accusations. While lawsuits by
adults claiming childhood sexual abuse would ordinarily be
time-barred, most academic writing advocates tolling the
statute of limitations during the period of repression, or
otherwise making it easier for potential civil plaintiffs to file
claims for damages decades after the alleged abuse occurred.3
The courts have reacted, with many of them eventually
construing the discovery rule to allow a person with recently-
1. Michael Hirsley & Jan Crawford, 'I've Led a Chaste Life, Bernardin
Says: Cardinal a Target of Sex-Abuse Suit, CHI. TRIB., Nov. 13, 1993, at 1.
2. The recovery movement is a generic term for various therapies, twelve-
step programs, motivational tapes, workshops, and self-help psychology books. The
movement is premised on the idea that unhappiness, work and relationship
troubles, and addictions are caused by being raised in a dysfunctional family.
ELEANOR GOLDSTEIN & KEVIN FARMER, CONFABULATIONS: CREATING FALSE
MEMORIES; DESTROYING FAMILIES 261 (1992); see generally JOHN BRADsHAw,
HOMECOMING: RECLAIMING AND CHAMPIONING YOUR INNER CHILD (1990).
3. See, e.g., Tina Snelling & Wayne Fisher, Adult Survivors of Childhood
Sexual Abuse: Should Texas Courts Apply the Discovery Rule?, 33 S. TEX. L. REV.
377 (1992); Gary Strauss, Comment, Child Sexual Abuse Civil Actions and the
Statute of Limitations: Time is Running Out, 1993 DET. C.L. REV. 1641.

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