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Sixth Circuit Upholds Kentucky Sex Abuse Case Dismissal; Case Filed Outside 1-Year Limitation Period

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a Kentucky woman's suit alleging that her probation officer sexually assaulted her. The court found that a one-year statute of limitations applied, and she filed much too late.

David Perry was a probation officer for the Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC). Between 1999 and May 2004, Sha'rewa Bonner was on probation under Perry's supervision and "from December 2003 until May 2004, 'Perry routinely forced Bonner to engage in sexual acts with him,'" by threatening to revoke her probation if she refused.

Bonner eventually reported Perry and an investigation revealed that he had sexually abused, intimidated and threatened at least six women under his supervision between 1999 and 2004. Perry admitted to the abuse, pleaded guilty to criminal charges and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Three and a half years after the abuse ended, Bonner brought federal suit against Perry and KDOC on December 3, 2007. The district court dismissed, however, finding that under Collard v. Kentucky Board of Nursing, 896 F.2d 179 (6th Cir. 1990), a one- year statute of limitations applied, and Bonner filed "well outside the one-year limitation period."

The Sixth Circuit affirmed, noting that Bonner's sole contention on appeal is that Collard was wrongly decided and should be overruled. Citing Darrah v. City of Oak Park, 255 F.3d 301 (6th Cir. 2001), the court concluded, however, that it did not have the power to overrule Collard because "Bonner does not cite any intervening Supreme Court decision that would allow us to reconsider the issue, nor are we sitting en banc." See: Bonner v. Perry, 564 F.3d 424 (6th Cir. 2009).

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Related legal case

Bonner v. Perry