WA: Victims blast one law, praise another
- Victims blast one law, praise another
- Both proposals impact child sex crimes
- Group backs making clergy “mandated reporters”
- But organization warns against any cap on damages
- “Severe penalties help deter severe wrongdoing,” SNAP says
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will
--blast Washington’s attorney general’s move to limit damages in civil lawsuits against state officials, and
-- endorse a proposal to make clergy “mandatory reporters” of suspected child sex crimes.
They will also praise a woman who was repeatedly molested as a child by a convicted sex offender and just reached a multi-million dollar settlement with Washington officials.
Monday, Jan. 30 at 11:00 a.m.
Outside the King County courthouse, corner of 4th Ave. and James Street in downtown Seattle WA
Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a confidential support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org)
Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna is lobbying to limit the state’s legal liability in civil lawsuits. SNAP believes that the potential of heavy penalties helps prevent cover ups of child sex crimes. Removing that threat will endanger kids, the group says. SNAP also says that juries should have discretion to levy sizeable awards when officials who are entrusted with the safety of children violate that trust. Such verdicts help reduce the chances that employers, co-workers and others will ignore or conceal suspicions or knowledge of heinous child sex crimes.
Washington legislators are also weighing HB 2331, which would require ANY adult who suspects that a child has been sexually abused to call police or the state child protection agency. The bill ends an exemption for priests and ministers (although the bill analysis does not specifically say anything about clergy). SNAP supports the measure.
It is sponsored by Representatives Dickerson, Darneille, Takko, Roberts, Pettigrew, Goodman, Jinkins, Miloscia, Ryu, Hurts and Santos.
Currently, Washington's mandatory reporting statute is limited to certain types of people (i.e., teachers, doctors, and social workers). Washington courts have ruled in the past that it is constitutionally permissible to require clergy members to report suspected child abuse. But because clergy members usually do not clearly fit in any of the categories of mandatory reporters, for all practical purposes, they have been exempt.
SNAP is also praising a Mason County woman who, just last week, won a $2.35 million settlement in a child sex-abuse case. According to the Associated Press, two state departments - the Department of Social and Health Services' Child Protective Services - “failed to protect her from a paroled child rapist, Danny Dorosky Sr., who abused her when she was a child.” Her lawsuit charged that the Parole Board should have better supervised him Dorosky. (Dorosky is now deceased. The case was filed in Pierce County.)
Stressing that “no amount of money can restore a stolen, shattered childhood,” SNAP points out that a sizeable award like this can prompt agencies to reform and individuals to report possible child sex crimes and better monitor proven criminals in the future.
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.