Posts Tagged statute of limitations
BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 10, 2021 – Former Roman Catholic cardinal Theodore McCarrick had already become the poster child for the now two-decade-old Catholic clergy sexual abuse scandal when he was charged July 28 in Massachusetts for three counts of indecent assault and battery. The 91-year-old former prelate is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 3.
McCarrick’s charges show like nothing before how the states must repeal statutes of limitations to provide justice for clergy abuse survivors. McCarrick had eluded prosecution for decades, despite multiple allegations of abuse. He was finally defrocked in 2019 and is now criminally charged with abusing a 16-year-old boy in 1974 in Massachusetts. The statute of limitations clock had stopped when he left the state, demonstrating how important the details of the statutes are. He is the most senior member of the Catholic clergy in modern times to have been defrocked and criminally charged due to allegations of sexual abuse.
Many states, but not all, have undertaken SOL reform in recent years, spurred on especially by the 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report and the Vatican’s McCarrick report on his activities prior to his recent charges. Here is an SOL reform rundown as of 2020, according to the ChildUSA 2020 SOL Tracker, where much additional information about SOLs is located (statutes can be complex and confusing):
- SOL reform laws were passed and went into effect in these eight states in 2020: Florida, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
- SOL reform laws were introduced in these 30 states and the federal government in 2020: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming
The tide may be turning regarding the number of states having passed or considering SOL reform, but VOTF and like-minded Catholics have always found getting such legislation passed challenging. Even though SOL reform does not target the Church and helps all survivors of sexual abuse, the Church and other large organizations continually attempt to limit their exposure to lawsuits from abuse survivors.
Perhaps greater transparency and a more pastoral approach toward clergy abuse victims by the Church may have curtailed the scope of the present scandal and spared many ruined lives, but the circumstances today leave survivors with few avenues for justice except civil courts so that progress toward additional reform of all statutes of limitations cannot proceed quickly enough. Forty-two states, the federal government and Washington, D.C., may have eliminated criminal SOLs, but reforming remaining criminal and much civil SOL legislation requires diligent effort.
Voice of the Faithful Statement, Aug. 10, 2021, Contact: Nick Ingala, email@example.com, 781-559-3360 — Voice of the Faithful®: Voice of the Faithful’s® mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the Faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church. VOTF’s goals are to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse, to support priests of integrity, and to shape structural change within the Catholic Church. More information is at www.votf.org.
To head off the bill and to push other items on its agenda, the Catholic Conference has spent hundreds of thousands a year on lobbyists. For example, the conference last year paid Sheinkopf Ltd. $5,000 a month, the Greenberg Traurig firm $6,000 a month and New York City attorney Stanley K. Schlein another $6,000 a month. The conference represents New York’s Catholic bishops and is headed by the archbishop of New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan. (The Buffalo News)
The state’s Catholic Conference has spent $1.8 million over six years lobbying Albany to, among other things, derail a bill to make it easier for sex abuse victims to sue.
“The Democratic-led state Assembly approved the Child Victims Act last week, but its prospects for passage in the Republican-led Senate are less likely.
“The act’s most controversial provision would open a one-year window in which victims currently blocked by New York’s statute of limitations could sue for damages linked to decades-old abuses. But the Catholic Conference says the act would force institutions to defend misconduct ‘about which they have no knowledge, and in which they had no role.’
“To head off the bill and to push other items on its agenda, the Catholic Conference has spent hundreds of thousands a year on lobbyists. For example, the conference last year paid Sheinkopf Ltd. $5,000 a month, the Greenberg Traurig firm $6,000 a month and New York City attorney Stanley K. Schlein another $6,000 a month.
“The conference represents New York’s Catholic bishops and is headed by the archbishop of New York City, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”
By Matthew Spina, The Buffalo News — Read more …
The silence of children (locked away in secret archives of the Archdiocese of New York City) / Verdict.justia.com
“The problem for the Catholic bishops on SOL reform is that all of the arguments
against SOL reform don’t hold water.” (Marci Hamilton)
New York lawmakers last week closed their 2017 session in “legislative hell,” as one Senator called it, without resolving a number of important issues, including the Child Victims Act, which would reform New York’s antiquated child sex abuse statutes of limitations (SOLs). It would extend the civil and criminal SOLs, revive expired civil SOLs for one year, and eliminate the “notice of claim” requirement that has hobbled public school victims’ access to justice.
“Governor Andrew Cuomo had endorsed the concept earlier in the year, making him the first state governor to step forward before being asked to sign such a bill. While the assembly had passed a version and the senate appeared to have a majority to vote for it, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, on the next to the last day of the session, blocked its progress from committee to the floor …
“The problem for the Catholic bishops on SOL reform is that all of the arguments against SOL reform don’t hold water …
“They say there will be no evidence from cases long ago and, therefore, they will be at a disadvantage. If I hear ‘memories fade and evidence is lost,’ one more time … But in fact, the bishops have done some great recordkeeping on priests’ sexual assaults on children. Their Secret Archives … have held and still hold much of the information that is needed to prove up a case against a priest, bishop, and/or diocese.”
By Marcia A. Hamilton, Verdict.justia.com — Read more …
“A serious sin has been revealed during our time at the Church… This sin committed by some was made possible by certain structures and certain ways of behaving and thinking,” Monseigneur Charles Morerod said in his prayer, quoted in the statement.
Catholic bishops in Switzerland have created a fund to help people sexually abused by clergy members in cases where the statute of limitations has passed, they said Monday (Dec. 5).
“The Swiss Bishops Conference (SBK) said it had created a reparations fund worth 500,000 Swiss francs ($495,000, 462,000 euros) to be used to pay sex abuse victims who no longer have the right to seek redress in court.
“‘The responsible clergy believe that sex abuse victims in cases where the public statute of limitations has passed and where the Church has long turned a blind eye and provided no reparations, are in a particularly difficult situation,’ SBK said in a statement.
By Agence France-Press on Today.ng — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“In the 14 years since the Catholic priest sex abuse scandal was uncovered in Boston and spread to parishes across the country and around the world, abuse allegations on Guam remained secret. Until now.”
When Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes arrives today (Nov. 28), he will step into a fractured community of the faith.
“Officially, he is coming to assist Archbishop Anthony Apuron in running the Archdiocese of Agana, and to serve as Apuron’s successor. But Apuron has been out of the public eye since June, when the Vatican suspended him and sent Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai to temporarily oversee the Guam church. Apuron faces what an archdiocese spokesman described as “credible accusations of child sexual abuse against him,” and a canonical trial is being prepared in Rome.
“Prior to his departure, Apuron led the Catholic faithful here for 30 years. He positioned himself as a fierce defender of morality, local culture and tradition, and used his power as a spiritual leader to influence political decisions. He also argued against a law that would remove the statute of limitations for civil suits in child sex abuse cases, and he once wrote a letter to a judge urging leniency for a former altar boy who confessed to sexually abusing a 2-year-old.”
By Haidee V. Eugenio and Dana M. Williams, Pacific Daily News — Click here to read the rest of this story.
“‘It’s disappointing,’ said John Salveson, a victim founder of the Foundation to End Child Abuse, an advocacy group. ‘I just don’t know what it’s going to take to get these legislators to do the right thing.'”
A controversial proposal to extend the civil statute of limitations for child sex-abuse victims appeared to collapse Tuesday (Oct. 24), after supporters said the House was unlikely to move an amended version of the bill or reintroduce the original measure. With little chance of its passing, they said, they will try to revive it when the Assembly reconvenes next year.
“With little chance of its passing, they said, they will try to revive it when the Assembly reconvenes next year.
By Maria Panaritis and Karen Langley, Philly.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.
Statement from the Catholic Coalition of Conscience
on the Archdiocese of NY Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program
The Catholic Coalition of Conscience and its participating groups (listed below) welcome the announcement by the Archdiocese of New York of the formation of an “Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program” designed to help victim-survivors of clerical sexual abuse. Although such an initiative has been delayed for too long, as acknowledged by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, the effective implementation of this program could bring much needed aid to victim-survivors who have been denied justice by New York State’s Statute of Limitations (SOL) restrictions governing sexual abuse of children.
Mr. Kenneth R. Feinberg, the independent mediator charged with reviewing cases and making monetary awards, said in the press conference announcing the program that it would be a “model.” Having worked for SOL reform over several years in New York State in the face of strenuous opposition from the Catholic Church, the Catholic Coalition of Conscience respectfully asserts that this program will only be a “model” if it reflects five key principles:
Transparency: The workings of the program are governed by “protocols” which were reviewed and approved by members of its Independent Oversight Committee: former NYC Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Judge Loretta A. Preska and Dr. Jeanette Cueva, M.D. Presumably these protocols cover such issues as mandatory non-disclosure agreements. These protocols must be disclosed to the public, so that victim-survivors contemplating participation in the program can understand the ground rules under which it will operate.
Inclusion: If the aim of the program is to promote reconciliation, why have no members of the victim-survivor community been invited to join the Oversight Committee to help guide and shape the operation of the program? The commission on sexual abuse formed by Pope Francis includes victims of abuse; should not this archdiocesan program be at least as inclusive?
Generosity: The awards made by the program must be made public, so that the Catholic community at large can evaluate the fairness of the awards in light of similar settlements made by other dioceses and entities of the Catholic Church. The awards must be generous, given the many years that victim-survivors have had to wait before receiving any meaningful response from the Catholic Church. The program should also allow victim-survivors more than two months (to the end of January 2017, according to published reports) to decide whether or not to participate in the first phase of the program. Given Cardinal Dolan’s own admission that such a program should have been implemented long before now, a two-month deadline is demeaning to victim-survivors who face the complex and potentially irreversible decision on whether or not to participate.
Accountability: The names of any sex abusers and enablers who are identified as part of the program should be published. If accusations against these accusers are credible enough to merit monetary awards, the Catholic community of New York and the general public need to know the names of the abusers. Further, the Archdiocese of New York should renounce all opposition to SOL reform legislation in the State of New York. The new archdiocesan program in no way negates the need for comprehensive SOL reform, which is urgently needed so that all children can be better protected from sexual abuse, and all victims denied access to the courts by archaic SOL limits can have the opportunity to seek redress.
Reconciliation: The goal of the program must be to achieve true Christian reconciliation between victim-survivors and the Catholic faithful. This demands more than monetary awards. Victim-survivors have repeatedly said that what they want most is to be heard and not dismissed or feel violated anew by aggressive court proceedings. Church leaders and members must meet with victim-survivors who are willing to re-engage with the faith community, and listen to their stories with compassion and understanding. The damage done by sexual abuse lasts a lifetime; programmatic support for victim-survivors should be strong and ongoing, not a one-time event. Beyond monetary awards, the Catholic Church must humbly ask forgiveness in this year of mercy from victim-survivors and their families, including those who lost a loved one to suicide.
The Catholic Coalition of Conscience calls on the Archdiocese of New York and Mr. Feinberg to revise the operation and procedures of the Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program immediately in accord with these principles, so that victim-survivors of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church receive the full measure of justice they deserve.
October 20, 2016
Call to Action Metro New York
Call to Action Upstate New York
Voice of the Faithful New York
Media Contact: Francis X. Piderit, Voice of the Faithful New York Leadership Team, 917-916-7575 (Cell Phone), PideritVOTF@piderit.com
“… whether it’s a coach or a relative or a priest,” no one who abuses a child, or allows such abuse, or shields the perpetrator should “get off scot-free.”
It’s important to say right upfront that this isn’t a story about pedophile priests.
“Bridie Farrell is Roman Catholic, but she says it was her speedskating coach who sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager.
“‘It happened at his house, in his car, in his hotel room,’ Farrell says.
“Farrell did what a lot of kids do when they’re molested: She kept silent. But 18 years later, when she was 31 years old, she went public with her story.
“The problem is that there’s a ticking clock. In a lot of states, including New York, where Farrell was assaulted, if you don’t report a rape or file a civil lawsuit fast enough, the perpetrator — whether it’s a coach or relative or a priest — gets off scot-free.”
By Brian Mann, All Things Considered, National Public Radio — Click here to read and listen to the rest of this story.
Catholic church leaders fight efforts to open old child sexual assault cases / North Country Public Radiio
There is a growing effort around the country to make it easier to prosecute or bring civil lawsuits against people who sexually abuse children. Many states have already extended or eliminated the statute of limitations for reporting sex crimes against kids.
“But the push to punish pedophiles has met fierce opposition from Roman Catholic organizations, who say they could be unfairly targeted and their institutions could be bankrupted.
“These proposed laws don’t just target pedophile priests …”
By Brian Mann, North Country Public Radio — Click here to read or listen to the rest of this story.
A Senate committee on Tuesday (Jun. 28) voted to remove the most controversial provision of a bill that would let child sex-abuse victims sue their attackers.
“By a near unanimous vote, the Judiciary Committee passed an amendment that bars the law from being applied retroactively, a move that would have enabled lawsuits by victims who were abused as far back as the 1970s.”
By Maria Panaritis, Philly.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.