For too long, corrupt Catholic officials have successfully exploited legal technicalities and deadlines to escape consequences for ignoring and concealing child sex crimes. Ever so gradually, those awful days are ending, as judges more and more often are letting juries hear cases involving pedophile priests.
We are grateful to Norman Redwing for his bravery and to Tennessee's Supreme Court for its wisdom in allowing Mr. Redwing his day in court. Victims of clergy abuse rarely get the chance to face seek justice in court, and we are glad that Mr. Redwing will have the chance to do so.
Memphis' Catholic bishop should be ashamed for trying to dodge responsibility for the alleged crimes of Fr. Milton Guthrie. We look forward to the facts coming to light through trial, and are hopeful that this decision will spur other victims, of Fr. Guthrie or any other predator, to come forward, end their suffering and report the abuse they saw, suspected, or suffered.
We also hope that this ruling will draw attention to the need to reform the archaic and predator-friendly laws regarding the statute of limitations. Child abuse manifests itself in many different forms, and because of the trauma it causes many victims are unable to deal with the pain until much later in life, often after the statute of limitations has passed. We hope that legislators in Tennessee and across the country will consider the reverberating effects of childhood sexual abuse and consider adopting new laws that allow justice for the victim rather than protection for the abuser.