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Pamela Baye; Sylvan Baye v. Diocese of Rapid City

January 25, 2011


Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Murphy, Circuit Judge.

Submitted: December 14, 2010

Before WOLLMAN, MURPHY, and COLLOTON, Circuit Judges.

Pamela Baye alleges she was raped in 1987 by her parish priest, that her memory of the assault was repressed, and that she did not recover it until 2006. She and her husband Sylvan Baye then brought this action in 2007 against the Catholic Diocese of Rapid City. The district court*fn1 granted summary judgment in favor of the diocese, holding the Bayes' claims barred by the statute of limitations. The Bayes timely appealed. We affirm.


The facts are viewed in the light most favorable to the Bayes since they opposed summary judgment. See Pecoraro v. Diocese of Rapid City, 435 F.3d 870, 873 (8th Cir. 2006). Because Sylvan Baye's claim is derivative of his wife's, see Selchert v. Lien, 371 N.W.2d 791, 794 (S.D. 1985), we refer in the following discussion only to Pamela Baye.

Starting when Pamela Baye was three and continuing throughout her childhood, Baye's father sexually abused her. Other men and Baye's mother participated in the abuse. Baye was diagnosed as an adult to have dissociative identity disorder (DID) (developed in early childhood), as well as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, insomnia, panic disorder, anxiety disorder, and suicidal ideation. According to Baye, she has had as many as forty different personalities. She has sometimes suffered loss of time and memory when one of the alternate personalities would appear during a traumatic event. Baye remains in therapy and cannot work.

In 1987 at age twenty three, Baye consulted with Father Christopher Scadron, a sixty seven year old parish priest at Sacred Heart Church in the Diocese of Rapid City, South Dakota. Baye sought his help in coping with her abusive upbringing. During one of their meetings, Scadron raped Baye while they were kneeling at the church altar. During and immediately after the assault, Scadron told Baye that if she told anyone about it her children would die and go to hell. Baye immediately repressed her memory of the assault and rediscovered it only in 2006 when one of Baye's alternate personalities revealed it to a friend. The friend then told Baye's therapist who informed Baye.

Father Scadron had joined the diocese in 1983. Years earlier when Scadron was a Franciscan novice, his supervisors found him disobedient, immature, and lacking in judgment. The Franciscans ultimately released him from their order. As Sacred Heart's pastor from 1984 to 1990, Scadron received criticism for his preaching, for misstating canon law, and for distancing himself from his colleagues. His employee records contain no allegations of abuse, although they contain a parishioner letter withdrawing unidentified charges against Scadron.

Father Scadron died in 2002, four years before Baye recovered her memory of his assault. In 2007 the Bayes brought this action against the diocese. Pamela Baye alleged assault and battery, sexual abuse, and intentional infliction of emotional distress under a vicarious liability theory. She also sued the diocese directly for breach of fiduciary duty, fiduciary fraud, and negligent hiring, supervision, and retention. Sylvan Baye sued for loss of consortium.

The district court granted the diocese's motion for summary judgment, holding the Bayes' claims barred by the statutes of limitations. They now appeal.


Baye did not bring this action until nineteen years after she was assaulted, but she argues on several grounds that it is not time barred. We review the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo, affirming if the record shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the prevailing party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Pecoraro, 435 F.3d at 872--73. South Dakota law applies in this diversity action. Id. at 873.

The South Dakota legislature has established a limitations period of two years for Baye's assault and battery claim and three years for her other claims. S.D.C.L. ยงยง 15-2-15(1), 15-2-14(3). The legislature has provided an extension of the limitations periods, however, for plaintiffs who were mentally ill when their causes of action accrued. Such plaintiffs have five additional years beyond the regularly applicable ...

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