Survivors Network of
those Abused by Priests
Giving Voice to Victims
For immediate release:
Friday, July 16 , 2004
For more information:
David Clohessy of St. Louis, National Director (314) 566 9790
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, President (312) 399 4747 cell
Mary Grant of Long Beach, Western Regional Director (626) 419 2930 cell
Mark Serrano of Leesburg VA, Board Member (703) 771 9606,
Peter Isely of Milwaukee, Board Member (414) 429 7259 cell,
Sex Abuses Victims Praise New California Ruling
Those Molested "May Finally Get Their Day In Court"
California Court Upholds State's Child Sex Abuse Law
Hundreds of Civil Lawsuits Against Sex Offenders Can Proceed
Leaders of support groups for clergy sex abuse victims are praising a
California court ruling yesterday which allows hundreds of lawsuits against
abusive clerics and nuns to move forward.
"This is a huge victory for justice, healing and prevention,"
said Mary Grant of Long Beach. She is the Western Regional Director of
SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).
In a six page decision, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Ronald Sabraw
tentatively upheld the state's unique child sex abuse law, despite an
effort by several Catholic church leaders to overturn it. A final ruling
is expected in a few weeks.
Sabraw determined that the statute, which has enabled hundreds of alleged
sex abuse victims to sue their molesters, is constitutional.
If the ruling stands, it means that roughly 800 civil lawsuits against
accused priests, brothers and nuns in California can proceed.
"Unless the judge changes his mind or is overruled, victims can begin
finally holding bishops accountable for the harm they and their employee-priests
have inflicted on innocent Catholic families," said Grant. "This
has always been the key issue: forcing the hierarchy to change so kids
will be safer. That won't happen unless they feel the pressure to change."
"Hundreds of wounded men and women are a small but significant step
closer to healing and closure," said Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP's
founder and president.
"Thousands of California Catholics are a step closer to learning
about how much bishops covered up and enabled sex crimes."
A final decision will likely be rendered in a few weeks. The new
law was passed in 2002 and provided a one-year "window"
during which adults molested even decades ago could take legal action
against their abusers. It was sponsored by State Senator John Burton.
The full text of Sabraw's ruling can be found at SNAPnetwork.org
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