The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
October 16, 2003
We, the members of the Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests (SNAP) are deeply troubled by recent legal maneuvers by one of your colleagues to overturn California's new child sex abuse law. This law allows molestation victims to expose their perpetrators and protect children by opening the civil justice system to them, just like other victims of sex crimes.
As you know, before this law was unanimously passed by the California legislature, survivors of this hideous abuse were often turned away at the courtroom doors and denied justice because of antiquated and arbitrary statute of limitations. Immune from legal actions, some perpetrators remained undetected in positions of authority and trust (teachers, coaches, Scout leaders, ministers) and continued to abuse.
But thanks to this new law, dozens of wounded men and women have found hope and healing. Dozens of dangerous men have been exposed and removed. Who knows how many kids have been spared lifetimes of anguish?
But one of your colleagues, Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire, wants to undo this progress. He is challenging the constitutionality of this law.
We are urging Bishop Blaire to stop fighting against the law of California and start following it. In fact, we urge all of California's bishops to embrace this new law as a key mechanism which can help keep youngsters safe.
In the interest of protecting children, we believe Bishop Blaire should withdraw his legal challenge. To prevent further rubbing salt into the already deep wounds of those who have been molested, we believe he should withdraw his legal challenge. We ask that you do likewise.
It sends a terrible message to sexual abuse survivors, and Catholics across California, that a Catholic bishop is more concerned with legal maneuvering and overturning a strong public mandate instead of working with survivors to provide prevention, justice and healing. Surely, this is not the message you intend to send.
Finally, by working against the law of California, Bishop Blaire is causing even more pain to those who have suffered needlessly and severely enough.
Please stand up and do the right thing - please insist that your colleague drop his attack on the new child sex abuse law.
Members of SNAP
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests