An Ohio jury has awarded damages to Christa Dias, an unwed teacher who was fired from her Catholic school job after becoming pregnant through artificial insemination.
In SNAP, we take no positions on church-related controversies other than clergy sex crimes and cover ups. So we have no stance or view or statement on this court ruling.
Usually, when Catholic officials try to deny child sex abuse victims their day in court, I moan or cry or shake my head in dismay. But a sentence in a new National Catholic Register article on statute of limitations reform had the opposite effect on me. It made me laugh out loud.
Here’s the background: Gradually, more lawmakers are proposing civil “window” laws that temporarily suspend the civil statute on child sex crimes.
The laws enable child sex abuse victims to protect kids, stop predators, expose wrongdoing, and deter cover ups by seeking justice in court.
We’re used to bishops backpedalling on clergy sex crimes. It’s worrisome, however, when newspapers backpedal on those crimes.
Lately, editors at two big city dailies have made unsettling decision in covering clergy sex cases.
For as long as I can remember (and I’ve been involved in this almost 25 years), virtually every news outlet has named clerics who are accused in civil lawsuits of assaulting kids. Ditto with other defendants who are high profile: coaches, teachers, doctors, politicians and the like. It’s a nearly universal practice and rarely even questioned (except sometimes by friends and relatives of the accused).
Over the past week, here’s a partial list of states where Catholic officials have said "no comment" about clergy sex abuse lawsuits and allegations: Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Illinois.
Dear Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga
Happy anniversary. It was a decade ago next month when you essentially accused Jews of being behind media reports of clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
In the day since the Royal Commission into Child Abuse began, the commission has already received word that at least 5000 people want to give evidence. This is exciting news.
"He's done something unusual/unexpected practically every day." That’s how an anonymous but high ranking Vatican official describes Pope Francis.
We’ve talked a lot since the election of Pope Francis about how he has an enormous duty to protect kids and help prevent future sex abuse. But just because there is a new Pope doesn’t mean we can give church officials who have previously covered up crimes against children any slack.
In one of those amazing moments, we were on the square getting ready to head back up the hill when a reporter rushed up and said come with me. He brought us to meet Francesco Zanardi, a fellow survivor, from Savona.
In his first hours as the new head of the church, Pope Francis made a self-effacing joke, carried his own luggage, rode on a bus, paid his hotel bill and asked his flock to bless him.
Then, he visited Cardinal Bernard Law.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.