PA Supreme Court Reinstates Msgr. Lynn’s Conviction

Click here to read: “Pennsylvania Top Court Reinstates Monsignor’s Conviction,” by MaryClaire Dale, Associated Press, ABCnews.go.com, April 27, 2015

Excerpt: The state’s highest court on Monday reinstated the landmark child-endangerment conviction of a Roman Catholic monsignor who was the first U.S. church official ever prosecuted over his handling of sex abuse complaints.

PA Catholic Conference Lobbies Against Child Sex Abuse Statutes Reform

Catholics who donate directly or indirectly (through their parish giving) to the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference might be surprised by how their money is being invested. The PA Catholic Conference, the public affairs arm of the Catholic Church in our Commonwealth, actively lobbies against reforming the Statute of Limitations (SOL) for child sex abuse. To be more specific, they hire lobbyists to visit our Representatives and Senators in Harrisburg on their behalf. Money talks and politicians only hear one side. Children can’t afford lobbyists.

I wanted to read about the Conference’s stance on this issue, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on their web site. Why wouldn’t they want to inform the faithful about a key point on their agenda? Why are they hiding this? While I certainly support their pro-life lobbying, I also think children deserve to be protected after they are born.

The current Statute of Limitations (SOL) for child sex abuse puts kids at risk. While the SOL was improved 10 years ago, those reforms were not retroactive. They only applied to future crimes. That leaves child predators, who were never prosecuted, free to live in our communities.

For example, think about the priests whose crimes were covered up by the Archdiocese until the SOL ran out. After the scandal was exposed, they were removed from ministry. Where are they living now? They are not registered and predators don’t retire from abusing. But this goes well beyond the clergy. What about the child predators from other walks of life – the family members, the coaches, etc.? These lobbyists are helping to give them a free pass in order to protect their client’s assets.

Several states abolished the SOL for childhood sex abuse and created “window legislation.” This legislation opens a two year window during which past victims (whose abuse previously fell outside the SOL) can come forward to name their abuser and press charges.

The “institutional” Church has many financially-driven reasons to seek to prevent this reform. I specify the “institutional” Church because I think it’s a very different group of people than the Catholic Church that Jesus created.

It’s time Catholic families demand their children’s safety be put first. We are asking for your voice and your prayers. Please spread the word on your social media, in Church, at your children’s schools and let your legislators know where you stand on this issue.

There is no SOL for murder in PA. Why is there one for child sex abuse?

There is No Civil SOL for child sex abuse in:

Alaska – none for felony sex abuse/assault of minor, felony exploitation of minor
Connecticut – none if events forming the civil claim led to conviction of first-degree aggravated sexual or sexual assault
Delaware – none as to perpetrator, or as to gross negligence against employer
Florida – none for sexual batteries committed against victims under 16 years old
Illinois – none
Maine – none
Minnesota – none for victims abused under age of 18
Guam – none for sex crimes against those under age of 18

No Criminal SOL for Certain Child Sex Crimes:

Arkansas
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Nebraska
Nevada
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Guam

Window Legislation Enacted:

California
Delaware
Hawaii
Guam
Minnesota

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape does a great job of explaining our confusing current laws with this infographic.

Jim Gardner Questions Archbishop Chaput About Clergy Child Sex Abuse

Click here to see Jim Gardner’s full interview with Archbishop Chaput, which aired on 6ABC in segments. Gardner asks the Archbishop of Philadelphia about the clergy sex abuse coverup at the 22:35 mark.

Editor’s note:

Archbishop Chaput continues to emphasize that clergy sex abuse occurred in the past. He does not acknowledge that the Church covered up these crimes intentionally to wait out the statutes of limitations. Because they can’t be charged now, priest perpetrators are out on the streets TODAY. They were removed from ministry – but not society. Children are still at risk. Abusers don’t retire. It’s a compulsion they take to the grave. Because these crimes fell outside the current statute of limitations, no one can press charges. What does the Church do to make amends and to protect children? The Catholic Conference continues to this day to fight statute of limitations reform in Harrisburg. Why should we believe children are being put first?

Bishop Finn, Convicted of Child Sex Abuse Coverup, Finally Retires

Click here to read: “Vatican accepts resignation of bishop convicted of sex abuse coverup but remained in office,” by Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, April 21, 2015

Excerpt: The Vatican on Tuesday announced the resignation of a Kansas City, Mo., bishop who was convicted of a sex abuse cover-up but remained in office – a fact that particularly horrified abuse survivors and their advocates. Bishop Robert Finn’s resignation will be seen as a key achievement for Pope Francis, who has said his papacy would show more accountability for abuse within the church.

Editor’s note: However, he will remain a Bishop. That fact particularly horrifies me.

Urgent Request: Please Call By 10 am

URGENT REQUEST: Please call by 10 am.
Statute of limitations reform legislation may be brought before the House Judiciary Committee today. Please contact members of the Committee (you can leave a message on their phone line) to share your support for (HB 661, 951 and 655) to protect PA children.
BECAUSE:
* Child Sexual Abuse is an epidemic: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before they are 18. Only 1 in 10 every tell.
* The long-term healthcare and economic impact of child sex abuse is staggering and society has been picking up the tab for this for decades.
* Current SOL laws favor perpetrators who rely on the fear of children and teens to not report.
* There is a body of scientific, social and legal evidence that indicates it can take more than 20 years for adult victims to come forward thus aging out of the current SOLs.
* Predators do not retire. They cannot stop the compulsion to abuse children and teens.
Judiciary Committee Members and Harrisburg office phone numbers:
Ron Marsico 717-783-2014
Todd Stephens 717-260-6163
Jim Cox 717-772-2435
Sheryl Delozier 717-783-5282
Garth Everett 717-787-5270
Glen Grell 717-783-2063
Joseph Hackett 717-260-6168
Barry Jozwiak 717-772-9940
Mark Keller 717-783-1593
Tim Krieger 717-260-6146
Tedd Nesbit 717-783-6438
Mike Regan 717-783-8783
Rick Saccone 717-260-6122
Marcy Toepel 717-787-9501
Tarah Toohil 717-260-6136
Mike Vereb 717-705-7164

Please Help Us Help Kids

WE NEED YOU! Please come out to support the legislators who are fighting to protect your children. Statute of Limitations Reform for Child Sex Abuse Lobby Day will be held on Wed., April 15 at the state capitol in Harrisburg. There will be a rally in the East Wing Rotunda from 1:30 to 2:30 pm. We need to show our politicians we care.

Court Upholds Sentences of Priest and Lay Teacher for Sexual Abuse of Altar Boy

Click here to read: “Prison sentences upheld for priest and lay teacher in sexual assault of altar boy,” by Matt Gelb, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 26, 2015

Excerpt:

A state Superior Court panel upheld this week the prison sentences of a Catholic priest and former parochial-school teacher convicted of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy from Northeast Philadelphia.

The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, a former St. Jerome teacher, were sentenced by a Common Pleas Court judge in June 2013 for abuse that occurred in the late 1990s.

Second Mistrial for Father McCormick

Click here to read: “Jury again unable to reach verdict in Phila. priest’s sex-abuse trial,” by Joseph A. Slobodzian, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 11, 2015

Excerpt:

“This time, McCormick did not testify in his defense. That prevented him from denying the allegations, as he did the first time.

But it also prevented the prosecution from questioning McCormick – as it did in the first trial – about his two church reprimands for allowing boys into his private rooms.

McCormick also admitted in the first trial that he was among priests investigated in 2004 by a Philadelphia grand jury for questionable conduct with minors.”

Bail Decision Reversed for Father Haynes

Click here to read: “Bail denied for Catholic priest charged with child porn,” by Jeremy Roebuck, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 4, 2015

Excerpt: “The mounting allegations against Mark Haynes prompted U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel to reverse a lower court’s decision releasing the priest. Stengel said the allegations, if true, establish a “consistent pattern of predatory conduct toward minor children.”

Busy Day at Philly Archdiocese – New Abuse Accusations and More Child Porn

The Federal authorities have announced new evidence of more crimes committed by Father Mark Haynes. The new evidence includes destroying a laptop (which was evidence) and, far worse, allegations of sexual abuse of at least three children. The abuse accusations fall outside the statute of limitations (SOL). Therefore, charges can not be pressed. This is another example of why PA needs to catch up with all the other states who have abolished the SOL for child sex abuse and have enacted a retroactive window for past victims to come forward. Reform legislation is pending but being blocked by Judiciary chairman, Rep. Ron Marsico. Visit the Protect PA Kids Facebook page to find out more and how you can contact him.

Click here to read: “New Accusations Surface Against Chester County Priest Charged With Explicit Exchanges With Minors,” Tony Hanson, CBS Philly, March 3, 2015

It turns out the Archdiocese had a very good reason to remove Father Kolenkiewicz – possible child porn. Perhaps he accidentally downloaded a dozen of those alleged images while in a feeding frenzy of adult porn (over 12,000 images in 2005 alone and more in 2011). Who knows? What we do know is that maybe the priesthood isn’t for him.

Click here to read: “Priest on leave after allegedly downloading porn images of minors,” by Chris Palmer, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 3, 2015

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