Victims Urge Maryland State Senators to Support HB974

Victims Urge Maryland State Senators to Support HB974

Survivors Believe the Proposed Measure Will Protect the State’s Children

Bill Will Also Provide Justice for the Abused

SNAP: Legislators Should Not Be Taking Direction from Those Who Shielded Perpetrators

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and advocates will urge Maryland State Senators to Support HB974 - The Hidden Predator’s Act (HPA). An early committee vote on the bill is expected to be held on Sunday March 15th.

They will also

-       Explain that how the HPA will protect Maryland children from abuse, as well as provide justice to victims that have been barred from the legal system because of archaic statutes of limitations on child sexual abuse

-       Reveal that past hierarchs representing Maryland dioceses were themselves abusers and/or protected perpetrators. Legislators should not be taking direction from an organization that is known to have facilitated abuse, to the detriment of young lives, by protecting those who preyed on children.

-       Debunk the talking points of the Maryland Catholic Conference (MCC) opposing the HPA

-       Appeal to Senators that may have been secretly lobbied by the Catholic Church or others to represent the interests of innocent children and survivors instead of institutions that shield abusers.

WHEN

Sunday, March 15th at 9:45 a.m.

WHERE

Miller Senate Office Building - 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401

WHO

Three survivors:  Delegate CT Wilson who is the sponsor of the bill, David Lorenz from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and Kathryn Robb of ChildUSAdvocay. The group is being intentionally kept small in deference to the current health situation.

WHY

For the past 15 years, survivors have been trying to eliminate the civil statute of limitations (SOL) for child sexual abuse in Maryland. This change has been supported by any number of child advocacy groups, but has been primarily opposed by the Maryland Catholic Conference and its insurers.

After recent revelations that Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was himself an abuser, and that Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Cardinal William Keeler were implicated in cover ups of abuse, it is time for lawmakers to ignore the local Catholic Conference and to instead protect the children of Maryland and support those who were violated when they were young.

Eliminating the SOL will give any child who suffers sex abuse all the time necessary to come forward.  The look-back window will provide two things. First, it will give survivors an opportunity for their day in court, having been barred from the justice system because they were too ashamed or too afraid to come forward within an artificially short period of time. Second, civil suits help expose “hidden predators.” When victims have a chance to identify their abusers, it can lead to criminal charges against perpetrators of child sexual abuse. At the very least, the names disclosed in these lawsuits will provide parishioners, parents and the public with information that they need to prevent future victims.

CONTACT: David Lorenz, Maryland SNAP director (GLYDONCT@gmail.com 301-906-9161) Judy Lorenz, SNAP Family Support (jlorenz@verizon.net 301-633-2823) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Daniel Buddy Robson Jr.
    commented 2020-05-16 20:36:02 -0500
    Sadly, the Church was saved by the pandemic this year. The legislation never went to committee in the MD Senate. It now appears that the process will have to start all over again next year, depending on where this awful coronavirus is. Survivors have waited much too long for real justice and children are still at risk for falling prey to “hidden predators”. It’s long past time that they be held accountable.

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