Washington, DC--Catholic officials beat back abuse reform
For Immediate Release, December 9, 2016
We’re very disappointed that DC Catholic officials have again apparently blocked reforms that would protect kids, expose predators and deter cover ups of heinous child sex crimes.
Police and prosecutors are underpaid and overworked. Most sex crimes aren’t reported or pursued. So thousands are assaulted by repeat offenders. Most prisons are overcrowded.
So it’s crucial, if rape and abuse are to be stopped, that victims are given a chance to warn parents and protect kids through the civil justice system. And it’s crucial that those who ignore or conceal sex crimes are also exposed – and punished – in civil courts, so other employers and employees stop enabling heinous wrongdoing by their actions and inaction.
But Catholic officials and their high-priced, quiet lobbyists fight reforming the statute of limitations time and time again. Why? Because they know that if victims can file lawsuits, complicit bishops will be undergo uncomfortable depositions and face tough questions and be discredited and disgraced when their corruption becomes unmasked.
Washington Archdiocese PR man Ed McFadden, a spokesperson for Cardinal Donald Wuerl, makes the bogus claim that Catholic officials claim the bill is unfair to public school students. Really? When was the last time you saw a bishop put his political muscle to work on behalf of public school kids?
The church’s opposition is about protecting secrets and careers. It’s about stopping the hemorrhaging of
declining members, seminarians and priests, many of whom are appalled by the church’s continuing child sex abuse and cover up crisis. It’s about preventing the discomfort of prelates who’d rather hide behind big desks, shrewd lawyers, savvy PR pros while making vague promises of ‘reform.’ It’s NOT about protecting kids.
We’re very grateful to Councilmembers Mary Cheh and David Grosso for introducing this crucial reform measure. We hope they’ll persist despite self-serving opposition that values careers, comfort and reputations above vulnerable kids, wounded adults and deterring crimes.
We’re also grateful to Charlotte Fox and Gloria Allred for their work on behalf of this bill.
And we’re disappointed that Judiciary Chair Kenyan McDuffie who refused to even hold hearings on the proposal, preferring to study and act on 300 other bills instead.
No matter what lawmakers or church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child sex crimes and cover ups in Catholic churches, schools or other institutions to protect kids by calling police, get help by calling therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Bill Cosby Accuser Seeks End of D.C.'s Sex Assault Statute of Limitations
By Mark Segraves
The sun is about to set on proposed legislation that would make it easier for victims of sexual assault to seek justice in the District of Columbia.
Current law in the District requires victims to report allegations before the statute of limitations runs out in order for prosecutors and courts to act on the allegations. For civil cases the statute of limitations is three years; for criminal cases it’s up to 15 years. In cases where the victim is a minor, the statute of limitations doesn’t kick in until the victim’s 21st birthday.
Advocates for victims of sex assault say . . .
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.