NJ--Victims applaud statewide walk for justice
For immediate release: Thursday, Sept. 10
Tomorrow, a brave clergy sex abuse victim will lead a walk across the entire state of New Jersey to highlight the state’s archaic, predator-friendly statutes of limitations.
We commend Fred Marigliano for his courage and commitment. We hope his admirable effort will prod lawmakers to take decisive steps to better safeguard New Jersey’s children.
Don’t believe the hype, spin, threats and self-serving rhetoric of a couple of bishops on this issue. We, as a society, should protect children, not predators. We should deter deceit, not reward deceit.
Vulnerable kids need protection. Shrewd pedophiles and corrupt supervisors do not.
Reforming these civil statutes will help safeguard kids from predators in three key ways. First, it will help publicly expose child molesters, through the time-tested, proven, open justice system. Second, it will help publicly expose irresponsible supervisors who ignored or concealed child sex crimes. And third, it will help deter future recklessness, deceit and callousness by some employers, again, using the time-tested, proven, open justice system.
In the ideal world, every child molester would be locked up. But that isn’t happening and can’t. Many in law enforcement estimate that 80% of those who sexually assault kids are never convicted and imprisoned. That means there are hundreds of dangerous child predators in every state who are molesting kids today.
The sad and simple truth is that we don’t have and may never have adequate police, prosecutors and prisons to charge, convicted and jail these predators. So the next best approach is to publicly expose them, so parents, neighbors, relatives, co-workers and employers know of their crimes. That’s what civil statute of limitations can do.
Catholic bishops claim these reforms are anti-Catholic. That's silly. Institutions that deliberately or recklessly put kids in harm's way could face consequences for their irresponsible misdeeds - whether they are secular or religious, public or private. As a society, by eliminating or extending statues of limitations, we're just saying that Baptist officials and government officials and for-profit day care centers all have to take children's safety carefully.
We in SNAP believe there should be no statute of limitations on child rape. Any such statute just gives predators and their enablers the incentive, and the time, to destroy evidence, intimidate victims, threaten witnesses, fabricate alibis and escape overseas. No child rapist or his allies should get to exploit an arbitrary deadline, escape detection, and assault others.
Kids depend on adults to keep them safe. And citizens depend on officials to expose and punish wrong-doers. Let’s hope New Jersey lawmakers remember this and act accordingly. And let’s hope that Fred’s act of courage will prick legislators’ consciences and move them to do more to stop child molesters.
(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)