Help Protect Children: Ask Majority Leader to Call Up House Bill 342


Please send out this letter to your state representative. Locate their contact information by clicking here.

To:     All Members of the General Assembly
From:
Date:
Re:    Ask Majority Leader Turzai to Call Up House Bill 342

HB 342 proposed by Rep. Marguerite Quinn prevents the disclosure of the names of victims of child sexual abuse in the court system, regardless of their age. This legislation was one of the  recommendations of the PA Task Force on Child Protection and deserves a vote by the General Assembly.

Rep. Michael McGeehan and Rep. Mark Rozzi have drafted amendments to this bill to provide a one-time two-year window of opportunity to suspend the statute of limitations for adult victims of child sexual abuse to pursue civil actions.

It is well known that for many reasons, it can take decades for victims of childhood sex abuse to come to terms with their abuse and to muster the courage to seek justice. Most survivors, for fear of public exposure, or because they simply can’t prove the abuse that has taken place in secrecy, can’t bring suit. But if they are ready, and there is evidence to substantiate claims, victims should be able to file suit, and if successful, expose the predators among us.

We urge you to ask Majority Leader Turzai to call up Rep. Quinn’s HB 342 for a vote on the Floor of the House.  And we also ask you to support the McGeehan and Rozzi amendments attached to it. It is time to protect survivors of childhood sexual assault and to provide them the opportunity to seek justice and thereby safeguard our communities from lifelong predators.

Other critical legislation:

HB 238 and HB 1185 proposed by Rep. Michael McGeehan and Rep. Mark Rozzi provide a one-time two-year window of opportunity to suspend the statute of limitations for adult victims of child sexual abuse to pursue civil actions.

HB 237 proposed by Rep. Bishop, removes the statute of limitations for filing criminal or civil actions in cases involving child sexual abuse altogether.

We urge you to ask Majority Leader Turzai to move these bills immediately. It is time to protect survivors of childhood sexual assault and to provide them the opportunity to seek justice and thereby safeguard our communities from lifelong predators.

More on the “Window” Legislation

Recently, the Los Angeles Times exposed Archbishop Roger Mahoney and his assistant Monsignor Thomas Curry for their roles in concealing child molestation by priests from law enforcement.  A common strategy was to give predatory priests new assignments to avoid criminal investigation.

The investigation is ongoing with the files on 75 other predatory priests yet to be reviewed. The release of these files will expose both previously unknown predators as well as the officials who protected them.  And that will make children in Los Angeles safe.

How is it that these files came to be released?  They were released as part of a civil action taken on behalf of child sex abuse victims covered by the one year window in California suspending the statute of limitations on civil actions for past victims.  No window, no trial.  No trial, no documents.  No documents, no exposure of predators.  It really is that simple.

In Philadelphia, the Archdiocese has spent over $12 million (and counting) defending predator priests and they are still fighting against victims who are simply seeking justice

The sad reality is that child sexual abuse occurs in every imaginable setting. The “window” legislation is not about the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts of America or any other institution. It is about exposing predators and their protectors – wherever they may be found.  We know, for a certainty, that these laws are the single most powerful tool available to us to protect children.  It is time we started using them.

Other Recent Incidents

Over the past few months, we have been bombarded with stories involving the sexual abuse of children:

In State College, we have watched a revered coach being led away in handcuffs and arrested for child sex abuse – while two of the leaders of Penn State were indicted for lying to a grand jury about the abuse.

In Philadelphia, a Monsignor is in jail – not for abusing children but for enabling his fellow priests to abuse children by allowing them to be reassigned to parish after parish, giving them access to more and more child victims.

In Philadelphia the 48 year old former coach of the Ukrainian national hockey team is found dead in February – an apparent suicide.  He had been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting underage boys in Philadelphia.

Besides these all too familiar cases we’ve seen many other cases from across the Commonwealth from Pittsburgh to Johnstown to the Philadelphia suburbs.  This problem is not going away.  How can this happen?  How can there be hundreds of documented cases of child sex abuse in our Commonwealth – yet the perpetrators of that abuse almost always evade prosecution or any accountability at all?

The answer to these questions is simple and clear.

Pennsylvania, like many states, has antiquated statute of limitations laws which protect sexual predators and penalize sex abuse victims.  They must be changed immediately.

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19 Responses to “Help Protect Children: Ask Majority Leader to Call Up House Bill 342”

  1. Eve McFarland, LCSW Reply May 16, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I commend you on your persistence with this age old injustice to the innocents! Because “sex abuse” is essentially about abuse of power, it will forever persist and requires unceasing vigilence.

  2. For what it’s worth, I contacted Turzai and his chief of staff weeks ago asking both to get back to me because of my concerns for this bill. Sadly, there’s been no response.

  3. This is not the time to ask however it is the time to DEMAND turzai ACT, no more delay tactics , the enablers and abusers must be held accountable !

  4. “In Philadelphia, the Archdiocese has spent over $12 million (and counting) defending predator priests and they are still fighting against victims who are simply seeking justice.” Actually, as meticulously documented at bigtrial.net the Archdiocese is fighting against lies and corruption which have put 4 innocent men behind bars. The “victims” are not seeking justice – they are seeking ill-gotten pay-outs so they can buy more drugs. And they have been aided and abetted by so many people in the legal and law enforcement fields that this has become America’s dirty little secret. But the lid is about to be blown off that secret and a whole can of worms is about to be laid bare.

    Los Angeles? Just in the last 15 months, some 600 teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) have either been fired, have resigned, or have been administratively “housed” due to allegations of serious “inappropriate conduct,” much of it involving sickening child sex abuse. Oh, don’t expect to read that in the Los Angeles Times. They are ignoring it, and the other real areas of today’s epidemic of child sexual abuse. But the exemplary Barbara Jones of the LA Daily News is covering it and it is disgusting:

    http://www.themediareport.com/2013/05/15/lausd-abuse-la-daily-news-barbara-jones/

    Meanwhile, the latest report on Catholic clergy molestation, released last week, shows practically zero cases – 6 credible allegations out of 40,000 priests in 2012.

    Finally, you list SNAP in the resources section. With all due respect, you cannot be serious. For more about this unhinged bunch of anti-Catholic bigots (one of their own members was caught with child pornography on his computer – and was defended by one of SNAP’s most senior bigots), simply check out SNAP watch at themediareport.com

    Truth will set you free.

    • So Matt would you give the same congrats to the Inquirer reporters who covered the suspensions of the 26 priests under Rigali? Why is that people who call others anti catholic bigots ,always “use” statistics of abuse outside of the church. Matt,most kids are abused in their homes by family member,not by priests. Many kids are abused in public schools, scouting,recreational sports etc…it happens everywhere which is why it is so important to have better laws in place. Do you actually do anything to help children who are abused or do you just spout of statistics,because behind every statistic is a child,even if that number is 6 or 6,000. If you are the same Matt who I encountered in the parking lot in Downingtown a few months ago, you were rude,interfering and downright out of line. if this is a different Matt,my apologies. Go help kids whether they are Catholic or not..we do. Let’s make all the statistics zero

    • Matt: Ignorance is bliss. As I was going through some old papers today I ran across the 2005 Grand Jury report. I am sure with your wealth of knowledge, you are quite familiar with both the 2005 and 2011 Grand Jury Reports. I am going to quote from a newspaper article written on September 22, 2005 by Craig R. McCoy, a staff writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer.”The grand jury report on sex crimes within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia yesterday painted unforgiving portraits of Cardinals John Krol and Anthony J. Bevilacqua-as architects of decades-long cover-up that exalted damage control above the cries of children”.”With an unremitting fury, the report dipped deep into the church’s secret archive of internal documents to make the case that the two cardinals protected scores of child molesters with clerical collars-enabling many to attack again and again.” It said the pair sabotaged investigations, transferred priests to hide them, made a mockery of abusers’ therapy, and punished whistle-blowers -all the while keeping police, victims, parents, parishioners and the public in the dark.”I could go on and on. As time goes on, many of us tend to forget what this organization that you so zealously protect did to thousands of innocent children. As the writer pointed out in his article, It was the Church’s own documentation that was used by both of the Grand Juries to come to it’s conclusions. The fact that the statute of limitations in Pennsylvania is so short has saved hundreds of priests and their accomplices from prison. As far as credible claims against priests, Credible according to who? For years the Church found victims credible if the priest admitted to the abuse. Before you defend this horrible institution, educate yourself.

    • Kate FitzGerald (hadit) Reply May 20, 2013 at 2:23 am

      Matt, how are you hurt personally and/or spiritually when pedophile priests and colluding bishops are demonized? Say the story behind your hurt.

    • Matt with all due respect…… I searched for the truth. I read the articles, grand jury reports, testimony, talked to people from many parishes, talked to my parish priests, talked to priests at other parishes emailed Archbishop Chaput and got replies. Talked to people at the AD victims assistance and others. Talked to many survivors and their families both attending the catholic church and those who have left the church. I found the truth………we as a church have treated our survivors horribly……..and to rob someone of their belief in God is to take away their hope in many cases…..I can’t think of anything worse………..I go to church every Sunday. I go to confession as much as I can. I am a Eucharistic minister and on my parish council……..am I an anti-Catholic bigot? You can call me a sinner and a hypocrite but not an anti-Catholic bigot. Matt sadly I have found the truth you either have yet to dig deep enough to find or are yet to accept. Go to the streets Matt and meet with our survivors then maybe you will see the whole truth…………..The other week a survivor gave me a cross she said she no longer had a need for. Why she gave it to me I have no idea but although I was glad she gave it to me it hurt me deeply that something that symbolizes something I hold so dear my catholic faith was not a comfort to her but a source of pain……I took it to mass with me and cried all thru mass… after mass I told my pastor who it was from and asked him to bless it…satan has got a foothold in the institutional church Matt……I cling to Jesus because he saves us……….without him God help us……..I don’t think many pew catholic realize many in leadership positions have lost their faith…..it has become about money power and status…..they have lost God…..I pray to Mary often that she helps us…….the memorae

    • Matt, you stated, “And they have been aided and abetted by so many people in the legal and law enforcement fields that this has become America’s dirty little secret.”

      You’re not making any sense, “…America’s dirty little secret,” WHAT? This is a worldwide problem! The RC institution is corrupt. When people refer to “The Media Report,” or “The Catholic League” in a favorable light I place them in the enemy camp.

      Jihad is correctly defined as “to struggle in the way of Allah” (not holy war). I see what I term a “Catholic Jihad” as a struggle in the way of Jesus, against pedophile priests and the bishops who cover for them.

      I’ll brag a little; I have a “notch on my belt.” I played a role which resulted in a pedophile priest having to waste away in prison. That filthy Bugger wash crushed under the wrath of a Catholic Jihad. God is great!

    • Your post Matt sounds more like an infomercial, rather than an advocate purporting statistics in order to facilitate a reaction from a group of people who may wish to promote education and reaction to benefit the cause of ending sexual abuse of children in all aspects of society. The Catholic Church is definitely not alone when it comes to its employees abusing children, and to suggest otherwise is simply irrational. However, you managed to confirm in your post, the differences between the Catholic Church and other areas of society. The LAUSD actually removed those suspected of “inappropriate conduct” with children from their education environment. This is precisely the opposite reaction the Catholic Church has had in terms of removing priests, nuns, and lay teachers who are suspected of abusing children within their institution. The LAUSD didn’t cover-up the criminal actions of abusers, transfer those abusers to other schools, and spend millions of dollars defending these scum. The Catholic Church did and always had, throughout its history, covered-up, transferred, harbored, and defended the same sort of scum who abuse children. Thank you for reaffirming this obvious fact, but sometimes you just have to beat knowledge into people. Way to go!

      Like yourself, Matt, it bothers me to no end that many concerned people spend more time focusing on the crimes of the Catholic Church, rather than giving the same attention to all areas of society. Even one of the owners of this site concluded in a statement a couple of weeks ago, in response to other posts, that working to protect children in all areas of society isn’t a reality to her. She said she is “only one person.” I find that utterly sad, and those are the supposed “child advocates” I don’t want to associate myself with ever. Peter was one person. Jesus Christ was one person. Now the Catholics are 1 billion persons. Peter and Jesus didn’t only target a few people, or one specific group to teach the Word of God and they never quit. Might I ask, what exactly are you doing to protect children from sexual predators? Are you working with any politicians and trying to promote new and better laws that protect children from predators? I’d be interested in understanding your angle and what you’re do to make the planet safer for the innocent.

      I have to disagree with what victims may or may not do with the money they receive from a lawsuit against the Catholic Church. I was abused by a priest and I’m not, nor have I ever been a drug addict. Nobody has the right, not even you Matt, to suggest that the child who is sexually molested and raped, threatened and degraded by a Catholic priest is on any level beneath the rest of humankind because they sought out drugs to escape the pain of the abuse, the horrible memories the abuse creates, and the nightmares, shame, panic, guilt, and despair the innocent child will suffer. Most of us even asked the Catholic Church for help. We thought they’d do the right thing, remove the priest, apologize to us, and help us get on with our lives. Instead, they did nothing. You obviously don’t understand, nor have any experience with anyone who has had to drag the abuse they suffered in childhood all throughout their lives, even in adulthood. I just wish people like you would try understanding before you decide to be critical.

      I never wanted to file a lawsuit against the Catholic Church or anyone. Money will never replace what was taken from me as a child. No price is high enough to compensate the trials and tribulations of my life as an adult, which is directly influenced by the trauma I experienced as a little boy are the hands of sexual predators. Are you educated enough, brave enough to suggest that soldiers returning from war should just go about life as usual even though they suffered trauma in war and are often diagnosed with PTSD? I, too, have been diagnosed with PTSD, and severe panic disorder, and depression. How is any of those diagnoses my own fault?

      When I filed along with 151 other victims of clergy abuse in Delaware a few years ago, I didn’t want money. I wanted to hurt the Church like they hurt me. I wanted them to feel just a tiny percentage of the anguish they bestowed upon my life. I didn’t want a settlement either. I wanted to tell my story to a judge and jury. I wanted people to know my truth. I wanted those in the Catholic Church, who are responsible for harboring a sexual predator and allowing him to rape me and other boys to be punished and put in prison. The Archdiocese didn’t have to spend $12 million defending scumbags. They could’ve used that money to help a whole lot of the victims they’ve continually turned their backs to. They could’ve fed a lot of starving children in this country. They could’ve resurfaced the baseball and footballs fields at the Catholic elementary school a mile from my home. Since when is anyone considered “innocent” in the United States after they’ve already plead guilty to the charge?

      I want vengeance. And, I want money too. That’s the least the Catholic Church can do for the countless numbers of child victims they failed to protect. The Pope should be on his f#cking hands and knees begging for my forgiveness. (Anyone who supports and stands to protect those who also protect and harbor child rapists or the evil people who cover their tracks needs to be removed from society. Any person like that wouldn’t have survived 5 minutes in my old neighborhood in Philly.) Worker’s Compensation protects the American worker by providing necessary medical benefits and a supplement of their ordinary income to the worker who is injured physically, mentally, psychologically on the job, and those benefits continue until the worker has recovered to a medical maximum from his/her injury. Also, the recovered worker is awarded a settlement, regarded by the program to even the salary the worker would have made, and to compensate for future wages lost from their inability to do the same type of work because of physical, mental, psychological limitations directly stemming from their work injury. If an injured worker is protected by law, why am I not? If the injured worker is terminated or his job title is taken away, the law penalizes his/her employer. Why won’t the law penalize the Catholic Church for turning their back to me? I was injured physically, mentally, and psychologically. The majority of the settlements victims receive in lawsuits are used to pay the expenses we accumulate from trying to heal from the abuse.

      I actually support you 1,000% regarding SNAP and I want nothing to do with that horrible organization, and I know a lot of victims who feel the same way I do. It was not a SNAP member that was caught with child porn, but rather the husband of a regional SNAP director. Also, David Clohessy, SNAP’s national director, warned his brother Kevin, a former priest, that law enforcement was looking into him and other priests in his parish regarding childhood sexual abuse. This information is kept hush-hush though, but it’s true and you can find the news articles in which David Clohessy was interviewed by reporters and even admitted to trying to cover for his brother because he worried about the humiliation it would bring to his brother and to their family. I guess David didn’t give shit about the humiliation the victims of his brother suffer. SNAP LIES!!! That’s the truth. These are two stories among many instances I can prove that SNAP may not be as bad as the Catholic Church, but they are certainly no better. That’s for sure. I’ve been asked by SNAP leaders to lie and exaggerate the truth. They asked the wrong person! I don’t criticize SNAP based on anything but my own personal experiences with their directors and outreach advocates. A few of SNAP advocates I believe to be very good people, who actually care about victims. I believe the top 3 in command of SNAP care about one thing, and one thing only – MONEY!

      I was sexually abused and raped by a Catholic priest. I don’t need to lie about or exaggerate any of my experiences I endured as I kid. The truth is painful enough.

      • Rich.have the guts to use my name. I am not an owner of a site,this site is free. Don’t twist my words,do not make me out to be something I am not. I am simply realistic about what I can do on a daily basis. Here is what I want you to do. Each day post the concrete thing that you did to protect these kids you are always speaking about. Not blogging…blogging does not save kids,I am talking concrete action plans and then come and throw stones my way. I help many victims,catholic and non catholic, and do so much for the protection of kids and I do not need your approval or condemnation and when you speak of me, use my name. You come on this site and bash me . I will not enable you Rich,I will treat you like an adult,those who don’t are not doing you any favors.

        • and before someone lectures me on victims,Rich you are the only victim I have met in the past 3 years who has taken their anger out on me repeatedly. You do not speak or represent all victims and I am not taking what you throw out any longer. I am not an enabler and that is what it seems you respond to..people who would never challenge or disagree with you. That is actually a shame because you have so much to offer and deserve to be treated like an adult.

          • Remind me to pat you on the back if the day ever comes when the laws are changed and children are protected and we “only” have Kathy Kane to thank for such an outstanding achievement. You must be Superwoman!

        • I have nothing to report. I have done nothing today, yesterday, nor any other day in my life that has been enough to protect children. I’ll try harder tomorrow.

          • Rich,
            I know that’s sarcasm but you have done plenty you and Kathy have both put yourselves out there . You are definitely both not shy and both strongheaded maybe its the Irish in you both…I don’t know. You went to court, you told your story, you blog, you were on tv and newspapers, you held vigils at churches on and on . I wish you would both call a truce and give each other the respect and credit you each deserve and then refocus on protecting children. By focusing on the catholic church it does help all kids because the catholic church leaders are wielding too much power to block laws changes for all children…….if they would stop lobbying and start reaching out to survivors the healing and amends they keep talking about would happen. I put my faith and trust in God and my money were my mouth is concerning law changes etc. Pray and act……that’s my mantra

      • Rich, I Know Personally Off And On This Site The Efforts In And Out Of The Church KathY Has Put Forth To Keep All Kids Safe And Help Survivors. She Is Not The Enemy.

  5. An injustice to a child by an abusive adult lives with that person forever.So the legal system must allow forever to prosecute the crime. The law said that the accused has a right to face their accuser. But the name need not be made public, only open to the police for possible future repeated crimes. The GOP must quit hiding and come out into the open and face the devil. Cowardness is not an option.

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