While this site creates a community for like-minded laity, we must do more than vent. We need to create the change the Church has been unwilling to implement in regard to sexual abuse allegations. Our best bet is through our court system and the legislature. The Grand Jury made specific recommendations for law makers. Please contact your state representative today and ask him or her to support bills that address the following:
1- “We recommend that the Pennsylvania legislature suspend for two years the civil
statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims. Such a “window of opportunity,”
appropriately limited to two years, would allow adults who were victims of sexual crimes
as children to have their cases heard in a court of law. The statute of limitations in force
when many of these victims were abused required that any civil litigation begin within
two years of the time of the abuse. Thus, a 10-year-old rape victim had until he was 12
years old to file suit against his abuser.
It is well established that most victims of childhood sexual abuse do not come
forward with allegations for many years, or even decades, after they were molested or
raped. For this reason, the civil statute of limitations in recent years has been extended.
However, as a result of the law’s past inadequacy, sexual predators who prey on children
continue to be shielded from exposure. “
2 – “Amend reporting law so that mandated reporters are required to report sexual
abuse of a child even though the victim is over 18 at the time of the report.”
3 – “Demand improved protection for children.
Because of the appropriate and constitutionally mandated separation of church and
state, Pennsylvania lawmakers would have limited leverage in attempting to influence
religious institutions’ policies. Nevertheless, the state has an interest in the safety of
students who attend parochial schools well as public schools. The Legislature should
consider reduced funding to schools, public or private, that fail to create a safe
environment for their children.
We understand that the Philadelphia Archdiocese has a “Safe Environment
Program” in place. But the lapses we observed in the hiring and supervising of Bernard
Shero indicate that better practices are necessary to protect children in parish schools. “