The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR COLUMBUS, OH
For First Time Ever, Catholic Bishop Says "I Was Molested by Priest"
In Unprecedented Move, Top Cleric "Breaks Rank" With His Colleagues
He Backs Better Child Molestation Laws That Make It Easier to Sue His Church
Former Church Defense Lawyer Also "Changes Sides" And Stands With Victims
They"ll Both Walk Through State Capitol, Lobbying For Controversial "Window"
-- disclosing his own childhood sexual abuse by a priest, and
-- breaking ranks with his colleagues by actively backing reforms to archaic state child molestation laws.
At a news conference, he"ll discuss his experiences and unprecedented decision, along with a priest and a former diocesan defense lawyer who are also supporting the proposed reforms. Afterwards, the men will walk across the street and hold both scheduled and impromptu meetings with several key Ohio lawmakers.
He will also make history as the first bishop to ever back legislative reform of archaic sex abuse laws.
In March, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 17, which will deter future molestation and cover up by allowing more victims to expose the predators who sexually molested them during childhood. By allowing more civil lawsuits, it will mean the disclosure of more deeply-held church abuse secrets.
But Ohio"s Catholic bishops are fighting the centerpiece of the bill, a one year civil "window" which allows victims to a) sue through the open, time-tested justice system and to b) warn others about dangerous sexual predators and shed light on those church officials who shielded and protected molesters.
Other participants in the news conference include Rob Scamardo of Texas (former lawyer for Houston's bishop and an abuse survivor) and Fr. David Hitch of Tipton, Iowa (whose brother was abused by a priest).
Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP Founder and President 312 399 4747 cell
Claudia Vercellotti of Toledo, SNAP Toledo Director 419 350 9234 cell
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, 314 862 7688
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests