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MO Sup. Court to consider limitations on sexual abuse cases

By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The Missouri Supreme Court will hear a case Wednesday that could have big implications on other sexual abuse cases.

Last year, the Rev. Thomas Graham was sentenced to 20 years for sexually abusing a boy during the 1970s at the Old Cathedral downtown. He's still free while the case is appealed.

His lawyers will argue that the statute of limitations had run out, and so Graham can't be convicted.

But prosecutors in this case used a different law, from 1969, that has no statute of limitations. That old law criminalizes "abominable and detestable crimes against nature."

Graham's lawyers further argue that's unconstitutionally vague.

The case is seen as a test for whether that older law can be used in other sexual abuse cases where the normal statue of limitations has run out.

Graham has actually lost that argument once before the Missouri Supreme Court, but he can appeal again now that he's been convicted and sentenced.

The priest sex abuse victims' group SNAP says at least five victims of Graham have come forward; three have filed civil lawsuits and testified in his criminal trial.

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