An Open letter to all state senators and representatives in Pennsylvania:
Please do not eliminate the criminal statute of limitations on child sexual abuse and do not extend the civil statute of limitations from age 30 to age 50, nor amend allowance of civil lawsuits to be filed retroactively for cases in which the victim is now between age 30 and 50 years old.
The reason is this provision only applies to private or non profit organizations like the Catholic Church and NOT to government institutions like public schools or juvenile facilities.
This provision is clearly unfair and is designed to target the Catholic Church.
It is well documented that the Catholic Church in particular has taken the lead in child safety over the last 20 years and does everything in its power to help past victims of child sexual abuse.
As a Catholic school volunteer I have personally partaken in the programs run by the Catholic Church to assure adults are not only screened before voluntarily or involuntarily working with children but that we are trained as to how to interact with children, provide a safe zone and even look for cases where a child may have been abused.
This legislation, while promoted in the media as “reform”, has the potential to severely cripple the ministry of the Catholic community in Pennsylvania.
The retroactive portion of the legislation would apply only to churches and other private or non profit institutions. It would not apply to public schools, which are protected from certain lawsuits under a legal doctrine called sovereign immunity. This is both ironic and unjust. The vast majority of abuse cases occur in public schools – this is a matter of public record – but the proposed legislation would lopsidedly target private and religious organizations. Simply put: The bill as currently written would allow lawsuits to be filed retroactively against private institutions, but only prospectively against public institutions.
The most obvious result of bills such as this one is to generate lawsuits against the Church and millions of dollars in legal fees for plaintiff’s attorneys. The proposed bill does nothing to enhance the security of young people today. And since most Catholic school children attend public schools, Catholic families should note that it does nothing to assist the many persons abused in public schools and institutions in the past.
The Church remains strongly committed to helping survivors of clergy sexual abuse heal. That will not change. The proposed legislation is really about selectively punishing the Church and her (innocent) people today for sins committed by evil individuals in the past. This is not justice.
Please reply with how you will vote and share this with all other representatives in our great state of Pennsylvania.
What can I do?
It’s therefore important to:
Be informed about the devastating impact of such legislation. We need to understand what’s at stake and to contact our state senator in the language I have written above. It’s critical that we do so before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings during the week of June 14th.
Go to this link,
And contact your state Rep today to clearly state you request they DO NOT eliminate the criminal statute of limitations on child sexual abuse and DO NOT extend the civil statute of limitations from age 30 to 50.
You can use the language I use above when writing your State Senator.
Thank you and God bless and don’t forget to pray for all victims of child sexual abuse as well as for the perpetrators for healing. Please also pray for the Church to continue it’s good work against sexual abuse and for all politicians to seek and promote justice fairly.
Walk By Faith To Live!!!