PA State Representative and child sex abuse survivor Mark Rozzi is introducing a new bill in Harrisburg today – Civil Window Bill, HB 2067. This legislation would provide a specific period of time in which victims of child sex abuse could come forward and expose predators who have escaped justice due to statutes of limitations. These monsters are still living out among children. They don’t retire! They come from all walks of life and don’t wear signs. Protect all of PA’s children by calling your state rep today and insisting on their support of this important bill. They may argue that evidence is hard to come by. Well that’s the job of the court – not theirs. They may argue that this is about lawyers getting rich. Well that could be said of any legislation. Our civil court rulings are based on financial penalty for all crimes. There is NO excuse good enough to risk even one child.
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31 thoughts on “Call Your PA State Rep and Ask Them to Support Rep. Rozzi’s New Bill”
I had the opportunity to meet with Rep. Rozzi yesterday. I found him to be an extraordinary and compassionate man. As you may or may not know I am running for a seat in the Pennsylvania House, the 158th district seat that is currently held by Rep. Chris Ross who is retiring. I fully support Rep. Rozzi’s work and if elected I will stand with him on these important issues. Protecting children and vulnerable people is what I’ve done for years and will do if elected.
Please know that the window for civil suits proposed in this bill, for cases previously barred due to an expired SOL, applies only to survivors age 50 and younger. I urge readers to carefully read this bill before deciding whether or not you support this legislation.
What is the rationale behind the window applying only to survivors age 50 and younger?
“Life is not fair.” I believe this is the first line in a book written by M. Scott Peck, entitled: ” The Road Less Traveled.” For those of us who were molested by priests as well as for family members who have watched their loved ones suffer from that abuse for years no truer words were ever spoken. No legislation is ever perfect. No bill can ever cover all the contingencies in life. I passed the fifty yard line some fifteen years ago .This June will mark some fifty three years since I was molested by a Catholic priest after serving Mass. The priest who molested me died back in 1989. I do not want now or have I ever wanted anything from the Catholic Church. For years the Church has brought the silence of victims by making them sign confidentiality agreements with settlements. Even the Catholic Church with their vast financial empire does not have enough money to buy my silence. After being molested, I watched my mother take money from the priest who abused me. My mother had little choice than to accept that money. She had seven children, an unemployed husband and no money in the bank. Her kids needed to eat .The priest who abused me, I have no idea what his motivations were for giving her the money. Was he just being charitable? Was he paying her back for what he did to me? That thought makes me sick.Looking back, that makes me feel like a little whore. Any legislation that helps victims of sexual abuse, I favor.Many victims need help. As far as the limitations on survivors fifty or younger, well as Scott Peck stated: “Life is not fair”.
So many brave survivors and advocates in this movie and in Harrisburg today……….God Bless you all……………
The Senators and State Rep’s have taken an Oath to Protect and Serve the Interests of the Commonwealth not organized religion ! DO they needed to be reminded of this ?
I wonder if the lobbyists just targeted the two St. Reps who are currently the heads of the Judiciary committee and one Senator in order to keep these long over due bills to move forward ? I watched a news clip where marsico stated the Civil Window was unconstitutional and has yet to qualify that bold statement. I hope he is called to task on this and make to qualify that remark !
“Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”)2 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. All public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving any federal financial assistance (hereinafter “schools”, “recipients”, or “recipient institutions”) must comply with Title IX.3
On April 4, 2011, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter on student-on-student sexual harassment and sexual violence (“DCL”).4 The DCL explains a school’s responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence against students in accordance with the requirements of Title IX.5 Specifically, the DCL:
Provides guidance on the unique concerns that arise in sexual violence cases, such as a school’s independent responsibility under Title IX to investigate (apart from any separate criminal investigation by local police) and address sexual violence.”
Any financial assistance – doesn’t the catholic church get some federal funds for educational purposes?. Maybe we need to put the pressure on the federal government also?
The previous bill didn’t go through. While I don’t see why this one should be limited to 50 it’s a start. We need to get it going. They could always do an amendment later, but we have to start getting the monsters off the street
I was privileged to be in Harrisburg a few days ago and a woman asked me” why do survivors wait so long to come forward?” That in my mind is the reason for the limitation in age to 50.It made me realize that their are many that still do not understand this issue.But thank God with more brave survivors coming forward this is starting to change. I truly believe with education, love and discussion changes can and will happen but we must be consistent and persevere. Every time this topic is discussed I believe this world becomes a better and safer place for children. As Jim said life is not fair but we have to try and do the best we can with what we got.
I’m only trying to learn the rationale behind limiting the window to age 50 and under. If someone can provide me with it, I’d appreciate it. Thank you.
Well then the criminal and civil statues would be at the same age 50. Many politicians are concerned older cases are hard to prove as predators maybe dead etc or evidence is hard to get etc. and then false claims with intent to make money would occurr in their minds.So age 50 is a compromise unfortunately.
Maybe I should not say many but the concern of those in opposition is what I state above.
older cases are harder to defend against I meant to say but we can argue they are hard to prove also. I just say let the court decide just like they decide murder cases etc
Remember that bills previously proposed were not even let “out of the drawer” to be discussed. They went nowhere fast because for one thing, the Insurance Lobby and Bishops’ Lobby, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, have a lot of clout in Harrisburg. No amount of money is too much for either of these groups to spend on their talented lobbyists. They have the contacts, they have access while many legislators are beholden to special interests groups including the two I’ve just mentioned. Yes, HB 2067 isn’t perfect, compromises were made, but we’ve got to keep chipping away until all inadequate laws are dealt with. What needs to be done in PA is to get to goal of having no SOLs criminally or civilly going forward as far as the sexual abuse of children is concerned AND a civil window of at least two years to bring forward previous time barred cases. In Delaware we accomplished that in 2007 so it can be done. Also in Delaware there were two/three constitutional challenges regarding “sovereign immunity.” That was handled in detail and the legal challenges went nowhere. Keep in mind, as well, is that the burden of proof in a civil trial rests with the plaintiff not the accused. Think OJ. But that hasn’t stopped the Catholic Church’s lobby from using that argument. Look, it worked in Colorado. Remember, that’s the place Abp. Chaput came from. He wasn’t sent to Philly for nothing.
Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
Advocate for Survivors & Legislative Reform
New Castle, Delaware
Thank you, Beth. Now I know the rationale behind it.
Sorry I missed you in Harrisburg Beth. Would love to meet you! Someone ask me recently how I could really remember details over 45 years later. I said do you remember where you were on 9/11? thank you for all
Yes I got there after the press conference unfortunately because of traffic but got there at 11am and made some of the meetings with the different senators aids etc.I am sorry I didn’t get to meet you also. I will be at the walk tomorrow for Justice4PAkids though and am driving there with Vicky.I didnt know if you will be going or not. Take care and God Bless.
Suzpt: How can you remember details forty five years later? That is at the crux of why those over the age of fifty will be denied justice. For years I drank enough alcohol to keep those memories at bay. When I stopped drinking, those memories came back within two years. There are many days, and especially nights when I wish those memories would disappear. I know how to do that but that creates another whole set of problems. I was lucky in some ways. I was only molested one time by a Catholic priest .But the memories are so vivid ,it is like they happened yesterday.But since victims are only looking for a big payday, those of us who are over the age of fifty will not get our day in court.
Yes Jim. I remember where and how my mom was standing and how she started to collapse when she heard JFK was assassinated. I remember my brother’s voice and hia words telling her and how I was positioned in my room. The same for the picture of the room hearing the towers went down. And when the challenger exploded taking off I remember where my car was on the highway what store I was by and the flatbed truck that was passing me. These are video tapes burned into our brain like the violation event
The freeze response of the attack has given me chronic pain. I have had to suppress this to survive and push through. Had a tooth that needed a crown once and the dentist said he couldn’t believe I hadn’t come in screaming in pain. I didn’t even feel it as I was so used to pushing iif away. Now in therapy and recovery I feel physical pain and now would feel a toothache. Am no longer numbing myself to survive
Talked to another survivor that had suppressed her attack for years. One day it exploded to the surface like an infected boil erupting. She said she couldn’t understand how it hadn’t haunted her like my video tapes in my head. I replied it must have been like the toothaches I couldn’t feel. Would have been too much for a little girl to process so she pushed it under the surface where it festered and leaked poisons into her relationships, self confidence, etc.
Suzpt: I also remember the events that you write about. In 1960 , as an eleven year old, I remember attending a rally held in a shopping center in Willow Grove for Kennedy. I also remember 9/11 all too well. My wife and I were on a plane to Las Vegas to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.Just past Columbus, Ohio the airplane was turned around and made to land. The pilot chose not to tell us why ,until after we had landed .But the memories of what happened that day in June of 1961 are so much more vivid. Even though, it happened fifty three years ago, I remember the course of events so vividly, it truly amazes me. I remember conversations held between the two priests who were there. I remember what I did after the abuse. And yet a day later after being told by my very religious mother to forget what had happened, I seemed to do that. And yet within a year, I would make two unsuccessful attempts at suicide. Children are very adaptable, they would say ,and they will get over it. And that is true but at what cost? One thing that I am really enthused about is that the true nature of child abuse is coming to the forefront. It has been a slow, methodical course but it is happening. Now if only the Catholic Church, its apologists and some politicians concerned only about their next election would get out of the way, greater progress could be made.
Sorry that I am late to return to this discussion. Others have made the point that the memories are indeed as sharp today as they were when the abuse happened. Still others have articulated the reasoning behind this “compromise” bill. The point that everyone seems to be making is that justice must be served for all survivors. I wholeheartedly agree. And I worry that if this bill does pass, the PA legislature, specifically the House and Senate Judiciary chairs, who are SOL reform’s biggest adversaries, will consider SOL reform “all done,” and will bar further window legislation from consideration, and older survivors will be left out in the cold forever.
Aside from the fact that an age limitation is being set on previously expired cases, I support the remainder of HB 2067. Another point I can add is that the opposition’s argument that older cases lack documentation is weak. In fact, it is a thinly veiled excuse. For many cases, three Grand Jury reports and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s own Secret Archives contain documentation aplenty. I believe the real fear is that there IS documentation. Other states have passed window legislation that is all inclusive age-wise. Any case that doesn’t stand the test of evidence is dismissed, and cases with merit proceed., In my opinion, that is limiting enough, and appropriately so.
Compromising, to me, means that the bullies are influencing our actions. I am not comfortable with that. What we are asking for is right and just, and even though it has been a long struggle, I don’t think the time has come to capitulate. Doing so only weakens us. Remember, our opposition wants to silence us, not work with us. I think the best thing to do is to remove the part about retroactive cases from HB 2067, and keep the remainder of the bill intact. We can fight for window legislation after this bill passes, using HB 2067 to support it. Another concern I have is that by attaching even a compromised window to this bill it’s progress through the system may be hindered.
Certainly, there is a lot to think about.
brb harris I understand what you are saying and yes the leaders in the catholic have very good documentation and they don’t want all that to come out in the public as has happened in other states. In fact as you and many survivors point out that seems to be the biggest reason for Chaput lobbying against these law changes besides the monetary reason.The thing is insurance companies are also concerned about non clergy child sexual abuse as well and in that case there many not be as much documentation as in the catholic church especially in families etc. I am just bringing up the arguments that I have heard in opposition . Seems the catholic church and insurance companies are the leading opposition to changes in these particular laws.
Beth: I am sure the architects of this bill had nothing but good intentions .But the more I think about the ramifications of denying true justice to victims over the age of fifty, the more convinced I am becoming that they were out maneuvered by the Church apologists and the politicians that support the Church without any reservations. The one complaint heard consistently from the Hierarchy and those who attack victims is that these cases are from a long time ago and are therefore not valid .The fact that much of the abuse reached a peak sometime in the fifties, sixties and seventies is not lost on the Church or its insurance companies. To continue to deny complaints from victims over the age of fifty continues their long term use of the statute of limitations to avoid criminal and civil trials until that SOL had run out. SOL legislation is greatly needed, but I don’t think this is the right bill.
I hear you. Its an uphill battle.Unfortunately in politics as in other areas money talks . I wish this wasn’t the case. Please continue to pray for all involved in laws changes. You and all our survivors are in my prayers and yes all survivors deserve justice. I realized again the other day different survivors want different things. Some want financial reimbursement help with bills etc, some just want the truth exposed, some want to protect children from known predators today. Many survivors want all or a combination of the above. Peace and thanks so much to all you that blog here….you are really making a difference and there is so much to learn from all of you……I was on the Justice4Pakids walk with Vicky and again many times I really was challenged to think about a lot of tough ideas and attitudes I had on certain topics….
brb harris: I think you are right on target. Can you imagine the documentation contained in all of those secret archives. There is no way in hell that the Chaputs of this world want that information public. As damning as the Grand Jury reports were, I believe there is much more damning evidence they are trying to hide .By eliminating all cases for those fifty or older, much of that secret evidence becomes unobtainable. The Church ,for years has fought tooth and nail to avoid releasing documents. It has only been through lawyers for victims investigating and finding out that certain documents existed that much of that information has become public. As I have stated before, I want nothing from the Church financially, But I do want the whole truth to come out and up to this point the only way that is going to happen is with more trials[both criminal and civil].
Jim, I agree. The only way the truth will be told and future generations of innocent children protected is if every living survivor is given his/her day in court. Anything less than that is unacceptable.
Hey Art? You’re my hero, man!
I contacted my state rep by phone and email: Joseph T. Hackett District 161. It has almost been a week. No response. Good thing, my former shepherd Chaput is at the wheel!
My question though is Archbishop Chaput interested in saving souls or the money and reputation of the church? I would rather the physical church burn to the ground and then be rebuilt than one more soul be lost or murdered. This world is temporary……heaven is for all eternity……….Please focus on Jesus Archbishop Chaput……………
BY JOSEPHINE MCKENNA, RELIGION NEWS SERVICE
May 5, 2014
“VATICAN CITY – The Vatican could face a wave of new sexual abuse claims dating back decades if a United Nations inquiry finds that the Roman Catholic Church has violated an international treaty against torture and inhuman treatment.
The Centre for Constitutional Rights, on behalf of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said May 5 that victims may look at fresh litigation since torture was not bound by the statute of limitations in many of the 155 countries that have endorsed or ratified the UN Convention against Torture, including the United States.”
Could the UN’s action (if they do act) solve the SOL problem?