The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Response to Last Minute Effort To Gut
Ohio Child Protection Bill


March 27, 2006

We are highly skeptical of this last minute effort by some House leaders to push through a weak and watered-down version of Senate Bill 17 which unanimously passed the Senate.

The half-baked, last-minute scheme tries to appear "tough" on child molesters but in fact lets them off. Studies show that only 10% of child molesters go to jail. Senate Bill 17 allows adult victims to help expose the other 90%, whose neighbors and employers have no knowledge that they are working with and living near sexual predators.

"Last-minute" proposal
Less than 12 hours before the vote is scheduled to be taken the catholic bishops' weak alternative hasn't even been written down or circulated to interested parties.

Problems with the "Proposal" are many.

No other state in the union has even considered this.

More Bureaucracy
Attorney General must devise a new system of determining and tracking child abusers.

No one has even estimated how much tax money will be required.

Establishes A New Arm Of Government & Centralizes government power
One politician, the Attorney General, is granted wide-spread, unprecedented power

Narrowly focuses on predators and ignores those who enable and cover up for them. (It's like arresting low level street corner nickel and dime cocaine dealers and letting king pins and suppliers walk free.)

It hurts victims
Senate Bill 17 allows victims to expose his/her predator, expose the enablers, use the time tested American judicial system and secure funds for therapy and medical expenses. The "proposal" doesn't .

May help later, doesn't help NOW
May protect grand kids and great-grand kids but won't protect our children today.

Proposed Child Protection Act, Senate Bill 17 has been studied by several constitutional experts. This new proposal has been studied by none.

Desperate "Johnny-come-lately", half-baked notion
Ohio Child Protection Act in Senate Bill 17 has been widely discussed and analyzed for nearly 4 yrs but this new "proposal" hasn't even been discussed in the senate.
Senate Bill 17 was the subject of several senate hearings with scrutiny by legal teams for both parties in senate. No such hearings have been held in the House or Senate on this new proposal slated for a vote today.

Why try at the last minute to quickly hobble together some questionable, untested, undefined and ill-advised alternatives to a measure that:
Has already passed in one state,
Is being considered by 9 others,
Has been proven effective,
Deters future crimes and recklessness,
Begins to level the playing field?

Why are lawmakers giving in to pressure from church leaders and giving them a "pass?" While claiming on one hand to be tough on child molesters lawmakers are allowing Catholic church leaders to keep their "dirty" secrets hidden. Predators hiding behind "Roman collars" pose no less risk to children than any other child molester.

Less than 2% of priest predators have ever served a day in jail. Given this history lawmakers shouldn't give Catholics this pass. Lawmakers should stand firm with protecting children, not Catholic bishops who have covered up and protected these men.

Lawmakers must decide:
It is either about protecting predators or protecting kids.
Exposing secrets or keeping secrets hidden.
About preventing future abuse or continuing to hide known abusers.

The proposed amendment doesn't prevent future abuse. Here's why: SB 17 gives employers real incentives to screen applicants, train employees, and educate children about abuse. Their proposal does none of that.

Do you think if you arrest a half dozen drug dealers in Columbus the drug problem is over in Columbus? No, because you have to get to the king pin. While the proposal may help expose a limited number of predators it does nothing to hold the enablers accountable.

If the worst thing happens:
Employers right now who knowingly hired sex offender priests, know they've run out the clock and they can safely resume their reckless, negligent and enabling ways. It may also reward those who abuse. Studies also show that predators don't stop abusing. The average perpetrator has between 115 to 145 victims over their lifetime and they don't stop until forced to by either removing them from having access to children (ie, putting them in jail) or by informing those living and working near predators of their history. Predators who have known of this pending legislation and the potential that they would have been exposed may now feel emboldened to continue to abuse even more.

The last-minute proposal does address the need to prevent continued and future bad behavior.

Child sex crimes victims deserve what all victims deserve. If we let child rapists get off by putting their name on a list, what message are we sending? Will Ohio begin then to allow tax cheats, or shoplifters to "get off" if we put their name on a registry? Maybe we should allow domestic batterers to take a pass and insist merely that their names are put on a list.

Lawmakers should not give in to pressure from Catholic church leaders. We ask that lawmakers in the House of Representatives pass Senate Bill 17 in its entirety. We ask Representatives to be tough on child molesters and those who brokered for them, even if they wear clerical garb.

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, (abused as a child in Toledo) SNAP President (312) 399-4747 cell
Claudia Vercellotti of Toledo, SNAP Toledo Leader, 419 345 9291
Susan Vidd of Cleveland, SNAP Cleveland Leader, 216 210 1243
Christy Miller of Cincinnati, SNAP Cincinnati Leader, 513 383 2198




Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests