New PAC Exposes Legislators Who Are Blocking PA SOL Reform

I recently founded a political action committee (PAC) called Protect PA Kids. Kathy and other dedicated professionals joined the board and generously donate their time to working for candidates who work hard to keep our commonwealth’s children safe. Why a PAC? Lobbyists for financially-driven issues drown out the voices of grandparents, parents, law enforcement officials and advocates. As a PAC, we can leverage our collective resources on their behalf. We support candidates who are working hard to protect children and hold those who aren’t accountable. Please considering joining this PAC. Information is available at www.ProtectPaKids.com. The PAC is non-partisan and not connected to any organization, candidate or ballot measure.

While we focus on issues ranging from teen driving laws to educator background checks, we’ve prioritized child sex abuse Statute of Limitations (SOL) reform. Child predators could be living in your community because of the current SOL. Bill blockers in the state house may say the current ages of 30 for civil and 50 for criminal are adequate. But we know that recourse doesn’t apply to all victims whose abuse happened prior to 2002 and 2007, when those laws were enacted. Our state representatives and senators should not be concerned about whether a particular bill will lead to the financial duress of institutions, will cause insurers liability, give victims false hope or allow lawyers to profit. They should act on behalf of voters and children.

Delaware, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts and other states have enacted SOL reforms. With institutional cover-ups making headlines, including those involving Penn State and our Church, isn’t it time for Pennsylvania to do the same?

We’ve provided a Voter’s Guide for this upcoming election on Nov. 4. Please check it to see if your legislators are child protectors or bill blockers.

Understanding PA’s Current Statute of Limitations Law for Child Sex Abuse

Here is the information you need to calculate if you can currently proceed with either a civil or criminal child sex abuse case in PA. It’s completely confusing, but the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape does a great job of explaining the law.

Civil SOL

Criminal SOL

Date Has Been Set for Msgr. Lynn Appeal Hearing

Click here to read: “Nov. 18 appeal hearing for Msgr. Lynn,” by Joseph Slobodzian, Philly.com, Oct. 9, 2014

Minnesota Gets It Right With SOL Window Legislation

Minnesota may have brutal winters but the legislative climate is warmer for victims of child sex abuse. They can receive justice with window legislation and their communities are safer for it. Not so in Pennsylvania, where State Senator Ron Marsico, chairman of the judiciary committee, continues to block this legislation from making it to the floor for a vote.

Click here to read how another state has gotten it right: “Deceased Robbinsdale priest accused of sexual abuse,” by Madeleine Baran, MPRnews.com, Oct. 2, 2014

Excerpt: The lawsuits are allowed under a law passed in May 2013 that gives older victims of child sex abuse more time to sue. Minnesota law previously required sex abuse lawsuits to be filed before a victim turned 24. The Child Victims Act eliminated the statute of limitations for new cases of abuse and created a three-year window for older victims to file suit. The window expires in mid-2016. More than 30 clergy sex abuse lawsuits have been filed so far, according to attorneys at two law firms handling abuse cases.

Justice4PAKids Holds Motorcycle Ride to Raise Awareness

Please click here to read: “Justice4PAKids Holds Motorcycle Ride to Benefit Mission,” by Kelly Lyons, Daily Local News, September 8, 2014

Excerpt: Now in its second year, participants will meet for the Ride4PAKids between 9 :30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 20 at The Office Bar & Grille in Charlestown. The ride will start at 11 a.m. and finish at about 1 p.m. The three-year-old nonprofit, Justice4PAKids, focuses on raising awareness of sexual abuse of children through seminars for adults and body-safety coloring books for children.

Editor’s note: Please consider participating in or donating to this event. Many Catholics4Change blog readers are involved with this action-oriented organization. A few months after the 2011 Grand jury report, we were invited to join a group of professionals who gathered together in their passion for children. From that initial meeting, Justice4PAkids was formed, and continues thriving to this day. This article is a great reminder of the work that many people do on behalf of children. We hope it gives some peace for victims to know that they are not alone in their hope to raise awareness.

Catholic School Ignored Reports of Concern

Click here to read: “Female coaches ‘had sex with students for years,’ by Brad Hamilton, New York Post, August 30, 2014

Excerpt: “Two female basketball coaches turned a Catholic secondary school into Horndog High, bedding students for years under the watch of a skirt-chasing athletic director, according to an alleged victim and three school sources.

The NYPD says it’s now investigating sordid allegations swirling around Moore Catholic High School, a top Staten Island institution founded by nuns in 1962 and charging $8,000 in annual tuition.”

Editor’s note by Kathy Kane: It seems a person in the school community tried to do the right thing by reporting the coach, even though the school did not seem to take it seriously. Reporting suspected abuse is not an easy thing, especially when you are a member of the community and lack hard evidence. Penn State coach Mike McQueary walking in and seeing a child being assaulted was an anomaly. Most suspected abuse is gray area and it can be intimidating for a person to make a report. I’ve been researching archdiocesan internal reporting and confidentiality. Look for that post soon.

Stars Join Movie On Boston Clergy Sex Abuse Cover Up

Click here to read about the movie titled “Spotlight.” Rachel McAdams, Micheal Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and more to join cast about Boston Globe investigation about the city’s Catholic priest abuse cover up. – Cinema Blend

Canon Lawyer Calls Out Church On Cavalier Attitude

Click here to read: “Whistleblower accuses Twin Cities archdiocese of host of misdeeds related to clergry abuse,” by Emily Gurnon, TwinCities.com, July 15, 2014

Excerpt: The whistleblower who disclosed priest sexual abuse cases and their mishandling by the Twin Cities archdiocese has written a scorching 107-page affidavit describing top officials’ cover-ups, blaming of victims, willful ignorance, lies and a “cavalier attitude toward the safety of other people’s children.”

Abuse Victim Tells Pope She Wants Cover Up Bishop Removed

Click here to read: “Irish abuse victim tells Pope she wants Cardinal Brady removed,” by Patsy McGarry, The Irish Times, July 7, 2014.

Excerpt: “It’s a big thing with me that there are still members of the hierarchy there who were involved in the cover-up. I feel personally they (Church) cannot contemplate any change happening, there will be no success” as long as such people remained in place, she told The Irish Times today.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/irish-abuse-victim-tells-pope-she-wants-cardinal-brady-removed-1.1858169

 

Massachusetts Bishops Endorse SOL Reform

Click here to read: “Massachusetts bishops endorse statute of limitations extension,” by Nicholas Sciarappa, National Catholic Reporter, June 27, 2014

Excerpt: The Massachusetts Catholic Conference released a statement to NCR June 20 supporting the legislation and affirming the bishops’ commitment to helping the victims and families of child sexual abuse survivors.

“We, the Bishops of the four Dioceses of Massachusetts recognize the suffering of survivors who have experienced sexual abuse and remain committed to assuring the safety of children entrusted to our care,” the statement said.

“Our support for this legislation is consistent with our continued and steadfast commitment to provide those services for as long as they are needed by the victims and their families,” it said.

According to Jetta Bernier, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children, a child welfare advocacy group, the bill is the result of difficult negotiations with the Catholic conference.

Editor’s Note: What will the PA Catholic Conference do? What will the PA bishops do?

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