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Catholic, Orthodox Officicals Work to Deny Justice to Abuse Victims

Posted by libhom Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Religion so often is on the opposite side of justice. (NY Times 3/11/09)

Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish officials in New York are mounting an intense lobbying effort to block a bill before the State Legislature that would temporarily lift the statute of limitations for lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of children.

State Senator Thomas K. Duane, who met on Wednesday with the New York Coalition to Protect Children, is the sponsor of a bill that would suspend the statute of limitations on abuse claims.

A perennial proposal that has been quashed in past years by Republicans who controlled the State Senate, the bill is now widely supported by the new Democratic majority in that chamber, and for the first time is given a good chance of passing.

If signed by Gov. David A. Paterson, a longtime supporter, the bill would at minimum revive hundreds of claims filed in recent years against Catholic priests and dioceses in New York, but dismissed because they were made after the current time limit, which is five years after the accuser turns 18. Similar legislation has passed in Delaware and in California, where a 2003 law led to claims that have cost the church an estimated $800 million to $1 billion in damages and settlements.

The rekindled prospects of the New York bill, known as the Child Victims Act, come at a delicate juncture for the Archdiocese of New York, the nation’s flagship see, where Cardinal Edward M. Egan is scheduled to hand over the reins in April. His successor, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee, was so hard hit by settlements for past abuse by priests in that archdiocese that he was forced to put its headquarters up for sale.

“We believe this bill is designed to bankrupt the Catholic Church,” said Dennis Poust, spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, a group representing the bishops of the state’s eight dioceses. He said that Cardinal Egan and Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn visited Albany this week to voice their opposition, and that a statewide network of Catholic parishioners had bombarded lawmakers via e-mail.

Orthodox Jewish leaders have gotten into this.
But while the Catholic Church is leading the opposition, in recent months a loose coalition of disparate groups has also joined the effort. They include leaders of the Hasidic and Sephardic Jewish institutions in Brooklyn, which could face equally costly abuse claims.

Never, ever trust a preacher.

Bankrupting these monstrous churches would be the best thing that could ever happen. It would dramatically reduce brainwashing, and cut way back on raping children too.



  1. thepoetryman Says:
  2. Yes. It would also reduce the number of the delusional nearly by the number in attendance.

  3. Jimmy Says:
  4. That's the price of being complicit in such monstrosities. Those clergy who knew about the abuse but did nothing belong in jail too.

  5. Just a little thought experiment. I wonder what would happen if this bill came up before the California Congress, and the author agreed to shelve it in exchange for rescinding Prop 8?

  6. Bart Says:
  7. AMEN

  8. two crows Says:
  9. the statute of limitations should, at the very least, be lengthened to a minimum of 18 years past the age of 18 -- permanently.

    23 year olds still don't have the supports to bring suit against an organization like the church they were brought up in.
    even at 36 years it would be extremely difficult to do -- but it might be at least possible.

    the 5 year statute is obviously designed to make sure such suits are not brought.

  10. libhom Says:
  11. thepoetryman: It couldn't hurt.

    Jimmy: You make an excellent point.

    Shafeen: Anyone homophobic enough to try to associate legislation on child molestation with legislation on same sex marriage would pretty much have ended his or her chances for statewide office in California.

    two crows: You make an excellent point about how the system is rigged to prevent such lawsuits. It also points out the need for better support for victims of clerical rape.



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