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:

New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Window Legislation Enacted:


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

14 thoughts on “PA Catholic Conference Lobbies Against Child Sex Abuse Statutes Reform

  1. As a survivor, all I asked for was justice for the crimes committed against me when I was young and that all children be protected, that was all I wanted. To my great sadness, neither need has been enacted by this legislature. Years go by, years and still nothing. I have been at the fore front of this topic since 1993! I have sent letters, I have called, I have sent my personal copies of my CD’s showing my confrontation in front of my priest abuser, still nothing. I have told my story in front of 500 priests and spoke to students at St. Joseph’s University on the affects of sexual abuse and Trauma and have traveled to several parishes to speak as a survivor and still nothing. How else can we get this information out to the people of where their money is going? And I ask, where is the heart of these legislators, where is the personal conscience, is money the only motivator? My heart, hurts, it hurts for every child that has been raped of their bodies and minds and for every child that will suffer at the hands of an evil person because adults think more of money than the welfare of our most innocent and trusting children. My heart just hurts because I know what their life will be like for them, does no one hear my voice anymore? God keeps hearing my prayer for the children every day, I don’t want to give up hope because our most precious children deserve what fight I have left. What has come to this state of affairs when we fight a war against people who see only money and refuse to even do the most minimal that is, to protect a child? Money is their only priority and yet they accuse us of only wanting a settlement to sue. Yes, I deserve justice but I also deserve to know that children will be protected by a just and moral state. Is doing “the right thing” so out of vogue these days? Hope is all I have left because I see such good people doing all they can, good and decent people. The best way to crush the human spirit is to render the core of someone’s being invalid there by making even that which causes them to suffer to be non-existant. It’s a very cunning form of cruelty. Every survivor knows this to be true. We always have a choice, courage will heal this death knoll, one must become a warrior and defend that which has always been so worth it, ourselves!

    1. Vicky, you express deeply the following, “The best way to crush the human spirit is to render the core of someone’s being invalid there by making even that which causes them to suffer to be non-existant.” This sentence has this emotional impact on me. When there is nothing in the world to identify with, nothing true or valuable to believe in it creates something perverse and dark. It is like what is left other than this attraction to the darkness. Yet your courage to act and speak in complete truthfulness speaks of your essential identity. Your precious truth is recognizing how all children are precious to you. The experience of your truth offers this profound connection with others and me. Indeed, to experience the depths of your heart is a living moment in hope and is a profound unfolding where darkness is given the rays of sunlight. I just want you to know I appreciate your value and your glow.

    2. Vicky I saw this awhile ago and I was thinking of it recently. Like you said child sexual abuse is a sin and a crime and I was watching this today and reflecting that priests are so wrapped up in thinking they are Christ on Earth but do the ones that abuse realize like Matt says on this video that when a person is raped the offender’s raping Jesus too. I know you may not believe in Jesus but I do and I was thinking this is profound. It reminds me of Mother Teresa how she said that Jesus told her whatever you do to another person you do to me(meaning Jesus). I don’t think many priests or catholics have thought about this fact that much. Thankyou for all you do Vicky many times you may feel you are a voice in the wilderness but you really have educated and touched many peoples lives including my own.

  2. I visited both the PA and NY Catholic Conferences’ official websites. I found that they both practice selective disclosure. It seems they both rely on gaining and maintaining legitimacy by revealing what they consider to be benign interests and efforts while omitting controversial ones such as their lobbying efforts against SOL reform. Both websites offer plenty of information on a vast assortment of Conference-related interests and efforts. In doing so, both websites create the impression of transparency. The truth, however, is that, in omitting and concealing their lobbying efforts against SOL reform (and God knows what else), they are not transparent.

    Catholics in PA and NY fund their Conferences’ interests and efforts. When the Conferences’ official websites practice selective disclosure, they are treating their benefactors as imbeciles, and obscuring their interests and efforts in order to minimize
    exposure and scrutiny.

    Why am I not surprised that what is wrong in PA is wrong in NY? Part of the great distaste I have for Catholic institutions and organizations are their tactics and strategies. The words their tactics and strategies bring to mind are: bait and switch, bill of goods, cahoots, collusion, complicity, con game, conspiracy, craft, deceit, dodge, fast shuffle, flimflam, plot, racket, scam, scheme, sting, and whitewash.

    1. Beth, thank you for this article, and for your extraordinary post shedding light on the lobbying activities and supportive relationships of SOL reform activists and survivors. The lens through which you see things is always compelling but hopeful. I think the two afford you the peace you experience. Thank you for your work.

  3. This disgusting church of Pedophile Pimps, Priests and the Pew Polishers who stand up and defend them…and praise them and attack us, the victims. Your church branded me a liar and when we proved I was not, they then used the statute of limitations to get my case dismissed.

    Popo Frankie and his empty promises again, as usual and has always been given to us victims time and time again.

    To those who abused us: The sin is yours, the crimes are yours and the shame is yours.
    To those who protected the perpetrators: blaming the victims only masks your evil within, making you as guilty as those who abused us.


  4. Hello everyone,

    For the longest time I thought no matter what sin I committed I still earned my spot in heaven because of what happened to me at the hands of a catholic priest. As I got older I knew that was a wrong way of thinking. However, I read articles like this and the suffering fellow survivors have gone through and that thinking returns. Not because of the abuse I went through. That is my cross to bear and one day I will receive the reason why it happened. But I will go to heaven because there is not going to be any room left in hell for me. Its going to be filled with all those who turned a blind eye to child abuse.

    I will though continue to live everyday like I need to earn my place in heaven.

    1. Dennis, You are very sensitive to God and I believe you are here to give people hope. I frequently read the lives of the Saints in adoration and one surprising thing I have learned is like Saint Paul most Saints were very aware Hell existed and many were terrified of going to Hell. I believe this was because they knew how Good God was and how only in a Pure state could we be in His presence. On the other hand I believe the further people are from God the more likely they are not worried about going to Hell and not reaching Heaven.

  5. These men have no souls, so they’ll do anything to save their worthless necks.

    And, the sheep keep providing the money. It’s endless. Watch the documentary film “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” (2015). In both “religions” the money continues to roll in. Indoctrination is not a condition that is easy reversed.

  6. The civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse needs to be lifted for old and new crimes. The victims deserve to have their day in court, plus it helps to expose the truth and hold wrongdoers accountable and therefore protect kids today.
    Those who enable and cover up these sex crimes need to be held accountable too. Unless they are held accountable they have no reason to change. and children will never be safe within this system.
    By filing a suit, this gives victims the opportunity to enter into the discovery phase, which allows them to subpoena secret archive documents and to subpoena high ranking officials to testify under oath. This is the main reason that Catholic bishops pay big bucks to lobby against lifting the civil statute of limitations.They want their secrets and crimes of cover up to stay hidden because they could eventually land themselves in jail.

    Removing the statute of limitations helps to expose the child predators, but it also helps to expose those high ranking officials who continue to cover up these sex crimes.
    We wish for the full truth to be exposed so that no other child is sexually abused.
    Silence is not an option any more. It only hurts, but by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511,
    SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,

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