Pennsylvania House Bill 1947


#1

pacatholic.org/justice-out-of-balance/

“Every nonprofit organization is at risk,” says Robert J. O’Hara, Jr., executive director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, “Nothing in the proposed Pennsylvania legislation would send any perpetrators to jail. Rather, it will put individual parishes and neighborhood Catholic schools in the firing line for lawsuits that are nearly impossible to defend against.”

O’Hara acknowledged that the Church has learned hard lessons regarding child sexual abuse. In recent years, the prevalence of adult misconduct with children has been revealed in nearly every institution and organization that serves children. He added that the Church has responded accordingly with compassionate assistance, including financial support, for survivors and comprehensive education and training to identify and prevent abuse.

“No other institution has done more in recent years to help survivors of abuse and put in place policies to prevent abuse from happening in the first place,” O’Hara said. “And yet, there are some legislators who continue to aim devastating legislation, like this current proposal, directly at the Church.”

As proposed, this “window” legislation would open up a period of time for lawsuits against private and nonprofit organizations, no matter when the offense occurred. It would not apply to public schools or government agencies. Public entities would still be able to claim sovereign immunity from lawsuits, even though the vast majority of Pennsylvania students — 83 percent — attend public school. Survivors abused in public schools, juvenile detention facilities, or county foster care programs could not bring suits under the legislation.

saintagnesparish.org/news/hb1947

June 2, 2016
by Archdiocese of Philadelphia

On Tuesday, April 12, 2016 the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted to allow civil lawsuits to be filed retroactively for cases against non-profits in which survivors of sexual abuse are now between 30 and 50 years old. This provision only applies to private or non-public organizations like the Catholic Church. It treats government institutions such as public schools and juvenile facilities in a different manner and it fails to treat all victims of child sexual abuse in an equitable fashion.

Please pray for Pennsylvania.


#2

There is not doubt that addressing child safety concerns is an extremely important issue. However, passing legislation that will not necessarily make anything from the past any better or bring justice to the abused, but will merely cripple the parishes of Pennsylvania is not the answer that we need. I hope that the Dioceses of Pennsylvania will be able to fight this.

God bless them! :slight_smile:


#3

From the article: "The proposal would retroactively nullify the statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit alleging childhood sexual abuse. It would force parishes, dioceses, schools, and charities to defend cases that are 30, 40, or 50 years old, long after the perpetrator and possible witnesses have died or clear evidence is gone.

It would simply allow attorneys to go on fishing expeditions seeking settlements of cases where the alleged perpetrators are dead and no one in the parish or diocese has any connection to the old case. It’s a money grab for attorneys.


#4

Another fruit of the evil actions of too many priests and the cover up by too many Bishops.

The lawyers are not to blame here - it is the overwhelming number of cases of abuse, including numerous cases of child rape, that were then routinely covered up that has led to this. That such action has been taken falls squarely on the shoulders of the perpetrators, enablers and those in authority who valued secrecy more than children.

You want to complain about how we got to this point - write a letter to Cardinal Law and any number of his confreres.


#5

Thank you for your prayers. Our wonderful priests and bishops have been encouraging us to write and call our representatives, which we have. This is truly a horrible piece of legislation.


#6

The ends don’t justify the means. Just because there might be a crime spree in a city, doesn’t give the police carte blanche to violate the 4th amendments and seize evidence without any weapons.

Same principle here. Due process is important, and this legislation would violate due process.


#7

While I agree that the evil actions of some priests and bishops ultimately caused this, I have some questions for you:

  1. Should accused priests or bishops be afforded fewer constitutional rights than, for example, accused public school teachers?

  2. Given that the actions taken by the Catholic Church since 2001 have resulted in the number of credible accusations dropping to below 0.02%, and given a 2004 study by Dr. Charol Shakeshaft at Hofstra University stated that approximately 9.6% of public school students will be the targets of educator sexual abuse during their school career, don’t you feel that there should be equal outrage at all sexual abuse and not just that of Catholic priests?

All abuse is evil…but laws targeting only a minority of abuse cases are not the answer.

themediareport.com/fast-facts/


#8

GOOD! Because some people want to blame lawyers and God knows who else…

I have some questions for you:

  1. Should accused priests or bishops be afforded fewer constitutional rights than, for example, accused public school teachers?

Of course not…nor are they due more…I might add. I was unaware this has already had a constitutional determination. Must move fast on that in PA.:slight_smile: If there are constitutional issues, I am sure they will be addressed. My point, if you simply read my post, is that this happened because of what too many priests and bishops did/didn’t do…a point with which you agree. So I can assume your question is simply an unrelated query.

  1. Given that the actions taken by the Catholic Church since 2001 have resulted in the number of credible accusations dropping to below 0.02%, and given a 2004 study by Dr. Charol Shakeshaft at Hofstra University stated that approximately 9.6% of public school students will be the targets of educator sexual abuse during their school career, don’t you feel that there should be equal outrage at all sexual abuse and not just that of Catholic priests?

I do indeed believe there should be outrage at any child rape and related cover-up. I most certainly don’t believe blaming lawyers or others is appropriate. However, it seems clear to me that the fact that catholic priests and bishops may find themselves targeted is their own fault…NOT the lawyers, not other child rapists, not venial lawmakers, not liberals, not Obama, …it comes back to our own priests who did these terrible evil things and the bishops who covered it up. Too often people on this Board want to say something like, “Oh, everyone did it and only we get blamed” or, “Lawyers are just after money - and we get blamed.” Etc., etc. What is UNDENIABLE is way too too too many priests did this and it was apparently SOP for the Bishops to move 'em around and cover it up. Man Up. Have some integrity. What way too many priests and bishops did was evil…EVIL and now HMC bears the cost of that…God help us.

All abuse is evil…but laws targeting only a minority of abuse cases are not the answer.
themediareport.com/fast-facts/

Agreed - but this sort of action was certainly based in the actions of our own priests and bishops…and no one else. Others may have taken this too far…but only because the acts and omissions of our own priests and bishops were so common and horrific that they could make it fly. Again, send a Thank You Note to Cardinal Law.


#9

There is some blame in regards to the selectivity of outrage. IMHO, abuse by Catholic Priests gets plastered all over the internet / newspapers / tv news, even if it is many years ago when the alleged abuse happened. The story is spun as if the abuse is recent and as if the Church has taken no action whatsoever. What is not reported is that the incident rate WAS approximately equal to, or less than, that of the general population of society. (The incident rate NOW is arguably lower than any other institution in America…but you would never come to that conclusion reading the news). It WAS also approximate to abuse in other denominations, and evidence appears to show that the abuse rate in our public school system is much higher, and that the cover-ups are worse.

This is not to excuse any abuse by Catholic priests or bishops (I will not defend them), rather there is a double-standard to how it is treated. I believe this double standard has a lot to do with unpopular Catholic teachings on homosexuality, birth control, etc. The double-standard must be addressed because innocent priests and bishops get punished as a result, and many times are considered “guilty, until proven innocent”. For example, its OK on late night TV to make jokes about “priests are pedophiles”, even though only a very few guilty priests. Can you imagine a late night TV host making a joke about “teachers are pedophiles”?

Also, there are some lawyers , like California attorney Jeff Anderson, who view the change in statute of limitations laws as an ATM. Read the book, “Double Standard” by David Pierre for details.

Peace


closed #10

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