OH--Abuse victims blast OH court ruling & appeal to lawmakers
For immediate release: Thursday, Dec 15, 2016
We’re very disappointed that Ohio’s Supreme Court arbitrarily insists that damage caps apply even in horrific cases of child sexual abuse by clergy. Had the court sided with innocent kids and wounded victims, instead of with powerful employers, Ohio kids would be safer today. Instead, those kids are more vulnerable because those who ignore or hide child sex crimes have essentially gotten a reprieve from the state’s highest court.
Severe wrongdoing stops when wrongdoers are severely punished. But this ruling does just the opposite – it enshrines a clear, low ‘cap’ that will do little to prod wrongdoers to stop doing wrong.
So tomorrow, an Ohio cult could hire a convicted, serial child molester after his release from prison. No matter how egregiously they all act and no matter who’s hurt how much, the cult and its insurers would never have to pay more than $350,000. That’s shameful.
Ohio’s predator-friendly statute of limitations helps wrongdoers by giving them clarity – “all we have to do is hide these child sex crimes until the deadline for lawsuits elapse.” Now, this predator-friendly ruling also helps wrongdoers by giving them more clarity - “even if we’re caught, the most we’ll ever have to pay is $350,000.”
We hope Ohio lawmakers remedy both of these injustices, no matter how hard powerful institutions and lobbyists fight.
The physical, emotional and spiritual betrayal and trauma caused by repeated clergy sex crimes and cover ups, usually done under the guise of having God’s approval, is qualitatively different from – and usually more complex, long-lasting and devastating than - other kinds of harm. It often takes years or even decades to manifest itself. And its connection to the original childhood harm is often confusing and tenuous. (That’s why whether this wounded young woman is currently in therapy or not is irrelevant.)
No matter what lawmakers or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in churches, schools or other institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Court upholds cap on damages for Ohio woman raped as teen
12/15/2016 6:30 AM-By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a request from a woman raped by a pastor when she was 15 to boost the amount of damages paid by the church where the minister worked.
Attorneys for the woman and her father argued a state law that limits noneconomic damages to $350,000 violates the constitutional rights of underage sexual assault victims.
They argue that sexual abuse is . . .
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.