Justia [Mountain View CA]
August 22, 2023
By Kathryn Robb
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Some changes in the law are better late than never.
In 1978, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Reform Act, which created Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In short, Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Code system was designed for those honest businesses who fell on hard times. It gave them a new day. The law allows a company to continue its day-to-day operations through the reorganization process and ultimately protects the business from the weight of its creditors.
In the past four decades, class action defendants, and their lawyers, have reaped the most benefits. The protections Congress intended have been morphed into the greatest legal shield for bad actors and negligent institutions. They have worn a clear path in their repeated sprint to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Most notably, they include: Purdue Pharma, Boy Scouts of America, USA Gymnastics, and the Catholic Church.
A nightmare has haunted WTOP anchor Dan Ronan for decades. The recurring dream has plagued him for most of his life.
“I’m being chased out of the parking lot,” 63-year-old Ronan told WTOP’s DMV Download podcast. “I’m being chased through that parking lot on a dark evening. And he’s chasing me and he’s … screaming at me. And before he would catch me, I would wake up sweating and crying and shaking.”
In 1971, Ronan was sexually assaulted in Chicago, Illinois, by Father Thomas Gannon — a respected priest and professor who went on to teach sociology at Georgetown University between 1983 and 1986. Ronan was in the sixth grade at the time, and didn’t tell a soul about the assault for nearly 50 years.
The Baltimore Banner [Baltimore MD]
July 31, 2023
By Justin Fenton and Julie Scharper
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The women spent hours recounting painful memories to investigators with the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. They told of the priests who pulled them out of class at Archbishop Keough High School 50 years ago, then brutally raped and sexually assaulted them.
But when the attorney general’s office released its massive report on sex abuse in Baltimore’s Catholic archdiocese in April, the two women were shocked. Their stories were there on page 258, but a key detail was missing: the name of one of the men who they say raped them.
The report names more than 150 clergy and archdiocesan personnel accused of perpetrating or covering up abuse, with 15 names redacted. But this man’s name was not in the report. He was described only as “the Jesuit intern.”
Newsday [Melville NY]
July 17, 2023
By Bart Jones
Bankruptcy proceedings by the Catholic Church on Long Island linked to clergy sexual abuse cases have gone on for nearly three years and piled up $70 million in legal fees.
Now, a federal judge says he may intervene to bring the process to an end — and effectively give clergy abuse survivors their day in court.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn said during a court hearing in Manhattan last week that he may take the highly unusual step of ending the bankruptcy proceedings because the survivors and the Diocese of Rockville Centre can’t reach an agreement.
That would send some 600 cases back to state court for civil trials.
LANSING, Mich. — Survivors of abuse could be given more time to sue their abuser under new legislation passed by the Michigan Senate on Wednesday.
The current cutoff to file a lawsuit in Michigan against an abuser is a maximum age of 28, which was set as a standard following the conviction of former USA gymnastics doctor and serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar.
New legislation passed overwhelmingly Wednesday would raise the age to 52, which lawmakers said is the average age a child sexual assault survivor would report the abuse.
Of every 1,000 sexual assaults, 975 offenders will walk free, according to data from the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, or RAINN.
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Associated Press [New York NY]
June 6, 2023
By Joey Cappelletti
Michigan lawmakers introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday that would give victims of sexual abuse more time to sue for damages as the state again looks to overhaul laws following multiple sexual abuse scandals.
The legislation, which appeared before a committee Tuesday afternoon, would expand the civil statute of limitations for sex abuse victims from age 28 to 52. If enacted, victims would also have a two-year window to sue retroactively, regardless of the time limit.
The new measures would allow victims of the late Dr. Robert Anderson at the University of Michigan and others additional time to bring lawsuits that have previously been barred by the statute of limitations. Government entities could not use the immunity defense if they knew or should have known of an accused’s prior sexual misconduct and failed to intervene.
In 2018, Michigan increased the statute of limitations to 28 years old following the conviction of Larry Nassar, who sexually abused hundreds of female athletes under the guise of medical treatment, including at Michigan State University.
Advocates say the time limit still denies delayed justice for many victims who often keep trauma to themselves, citing research that shows many victims don’t come forward until their 50s. Vermont, Maine and Maryland have removed the statute of limitations for child sex crime lawsuits.
WIFR-TV, Ch. 23 [Rockville IL]
May 29, 2023
By Elisa Reamer
[Includes a video]
A group of survivors and supporters speak out about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church outside a local place of worship Monday.
Several church abuse victims were among those who stood in front of Cathedral of St. Peter in Rockford Monday holding a poster with names of five priests who have spent time in Rockford accused of sexual abuse. Some priests on the list are dead, others still living.
“We want the bishop to post these five names on his website along the sides of the proven, admitted, critically accused molesters that are there now,” said Missouri’s Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) volunteer director David Clohessy.
The names of the priests are Father Philip Derea, Father John Powell, Father Norman Maday, Father Charles Becker and Father Robert Erpenbeck.
SNAP leaders say those names are listed under other church’s ‘credibly accused’ lists but claim they are not listed on the Catholic Diocese of Rockford’s.
“Why wouldn’t he be on every list? Not just here but every list all the way across the country,” said SNAP of Chicago Leader Larry Antonsen.
Antonsen says he suffered through abuse by a priest when he was a sophomore in high school.
“I don’t want to see another kid live with what I have to live with,” Antonsen said.
Clohessy who suffered abuse for four years says including deceased priests is important because it can be eye opening,
“She may call her son who is in his 50s and 60s and say what’s the name of the priest who used to take you Saturdays to the movies,” Clohessy said. “Well father Mayday is a credibly accused molester, did he do anything to you.”