Advocates and Lawmakers In the Battle to Reform PA Laws on Child Sex Abuse

Click here to read: “Pa. Lawmakers Fight to Reform Statute of Limitations on Sexual Abuse,” by Tara Murtha,, Jan. 29, 2013

Excerpt: “Archbishop Charles J. Chaput was assigned to the Philadelphia Archdiocese in late 2011 after leading a successful campaign to squash similar SOL bills in Denver, Colorado. Church leaders have been fighting window legislation around the country ever since the first window was installed in California in 2003 and subsequently, 550 lawsuits were filed. They routinely characterize efforts to establish a civil window as prejudice against the Roman Catholic Church.

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote of Chaput’s meeting with its editorial board in 2011: “Chaput told the board any changes in Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations would have to be ‘for the good of the community as a whole,’ and that he ‘would not want the Catholic Church treated any differently.’

He was referring to the fact that by default, window legislation applies to private, but not public, institutions. As the law stands now, this is true: Public institutions such as schools are protected under the legal concept of sovereign immunity. (Penn State could be sued, however, because it is only a state-related school, not a state school.) But there’s an important point that often goes unnoted: Pennsylvania legislators supporting SOL reform have also proposed within the window bill that child sex abuse be added to the list of exemptions to sovereign immunity — thereby applying the window to private and public institutions alike.”

8 thoughts on “Advocates and Lawmakers In the Battle to Reform PA Laws on Child Sex Abuse

  1. When will our leadership, public and private, religious and secular, stand up for ALL OF OUR CHILDREN here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania? There is no other issue in the public forum that is more important and devastating than the sexual abuse of our children, regardless of where it occurs.

    How can our leadership be so selfish and think of themselves, of their institutions, and deny to our youngest citizens what they are entitled to……a safe home, community and school,….safe from sexual abuse and predation. These legislative proposals ensure that future sexual abusers of our children will be held accountable, both civilly and criminally, regardless of when the victims are able to come forward.

    There is no middle ground… is either FOR the children or FOR the perpetrators. My years of advocacy with this issue since the release of the first Grand Jury Report in Philadelphia in late 2005 has taught me one thing…….the Silence (in response to the horror, devastation, humiliation, shame and life-destruction of childhood sexual abuse)from various Philadelphia area Catholic colleges and universities is indeed DEAFENING.

    1. Thank you, Mike, for this and all you do and have done.

      Local legislators and prosecutors are too beholden to the political, financial and media clout of Chaput and others in the hierarchy. We know this sadly beyond a reasonable doubt, as we watch the latest obscene efforts in Philly’s inept criminal justice system to try to trump up a new way to spring Lynn from jail.

      More is needed. This is a national epidemic and needs a national solution. Please sign, and encourage others to sign, my new petition to President Obama to set up a national investigation commission into child sexual abuse in organizational settings. It is working well in Australia and can work here.

      Of course, the state reform efforts are also essential and must continue to be pressed as well. The pope and his corrupt organization must be pressed on all fronts.

      Please click on for the petition at:

      1. I am of course pleased Engelhardt and Shero were convicted today, which I ascribe largely to Philly jurors’ unwillingness to accept either Avery and other Archdiocesean efforts to dissemble or hardnosed defense lawyers’ efforts to destroy Billy again.

        Rigali remains untouched and Chaput still is dribbling out priests Rigali suspended almost two years ago. Seth Williams needs to press much more. President Obama needs to step up and speed up these investigations.

        Lynn’s initial investigation found personnel problems with almost one-third of Philly priests. In several years, barely a few have been properly addressed.

        More effort and resources need to be applied here in my professional view.

  2. Doesn’t Chaput think that Catholic priests should be held to a higher standard than the community in general?

  3. Are you kidding???These people could care less.!!! A higher standard for a man of God. would be what type of standard( ?? )when it comes to sexually abusing. (anybody) If they don’t get that SPIRITUALLY MURDERING AN INNOCENT child., handicapped or marginalized person for life, is not A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY. what is left of any standard? And these priests, nuns and brothers are teaching our blessed. ones about JESUS?????

    I have been out of the rcc for over 11 years, after being brainwashed. for for over 60 yrs as. a convert..Luckily JESUS called me & not the Catholic church..I feel no obligation to that corporation.
    I. have a long, loving, all day, all night, RELATIONSHIP with my LORD and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST! I will be 84 in Aug. MARRIED 61 yrs., 4 children, 7 grand children & 2 great grandchildren.
    PS I had..many reasons to doubt the rcc. over the. many years I taught CCD being a , euchristc minister, co-ordinator with the Phx. Magnification Ministry to Women, Legion of Mary etc., etc.,but wouldn’t. listen to. what our family. members (that) were in religious orders told us. When we found out what they said was true… but so much worse ….God guided us out.
    They are both gone now, much too soon ..but both died. of broken hearts. One a Notre Dame, Holy Cross Brother. From Mich. The other a Dominican. Nun. who had been the Superintendant of all the Dominican Schools throughout the world. None left anymore in Europe. Maybe none, any more, the. way God’s people” the church” are leaving!

  4. Michael, what about this silence from catholic universities? Aren’t catholic students and their parents owed truth and frankness from ANYONE connected with the church?! These institutions hold themselves up as centers of knowlege and enlightenment. How do they manage to stay mute on this topic and still remain relevant in higher education? This is a scandal and a betrayal of its own kind.

    As the crisis grows, and outrageous details about the RCC become public knowlege, all things “Catholic” appear increasingly ridiculous. Many of these local universities are run by religious orders implicated in the scandal….ALL are tainted by association.

    Exactly how concerned are the local catholic universities and colleges these days about their enrollment numbers and indiv. rankings among other schools? How has the growing rcc “situation” impacted their numbers so far? Their endowments? Has the abuse scandal lessened the value of a degree from a cath. university? (The price of one has not decreased.)

    1. Crystal, forget the Catholic universities, even though I graduated from the Dominicans’ Providence College. The Vatican has intimidated the facultly and administration of these subservient schools for decades and none will speak out, as far as I have seen. It is why none of my four children went to Catholic colleges.

      Ironically, Cardinals will soon elect a new pope, possibly to reign for decades. They saw, but for his terminal illness, that Cardinal Bevilacqua would have been prosecuted, thanks to prodding by C4C bloggers like you, Susan, Kathy, Mike, Kate, Joan, SW, Beth, Rich, Vicky, Martin, Patrick, and so many others. The Cardinals will never forget that Bevil the Devil almost went down. Trust me, I know that as a lawyer. Your persistent efforts bear much good fruit!

      For my warning to Cardinals, please read my, “Will Cardinals Try To Delay Benedict XVI’s Choice For Next Pope?”, accessible at:

    2. Glorybe,
      Your story of having relatives within the clergy that warned you about what went on in the Church is unique and really interesting. They were so brave. I don’t know of any ON THE INSIDE who are that brave to let the “secrets” out. I look forward to hearing more from you about those disclosures.

Leave a Reply