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  1. #1
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    Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill

    Connecticut bishops fight sex abuse bill


    Hartford, Connecticut (CNN) -- A bill in Connecticut's legislature that would remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases has sparked a fervent response from the state's Roman Catholic bishops, who released a letter to parishioners Saturday imploring them to oppose the measure.

    Under current Connecticut law, sexual abuse victims have 30 years past their 18th birthday to file a lawsuit. The proposed change to the law would rescind that statute of limitations.

    The proposed change to the law would put "all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk," says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.

    The letter is posted on the Web site of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, the public policy and advocacy office of Connecticut's Catholic bishops. It asks parishioners to contact their legislators in opposition of the bill.

    The "legislation would undermine the mission of the Catholic Church in Connecticut, threatening our parishes, our schools, and our Catholic Charities," the letter says.
    The Catholic archdiocese of Hartford also published a pulpit announcement on its Web site, which was to be read during Mass on Sunday, urging parishioners to express opposition to the bill.

    The bill has been revised to address some of the church's concerns about frivolous abuse claims against it, according to Connecticut state Rep. Beth Bye, one of the bill's sponsors.

    "The church didn't recognize that this bill makes improvements," Bye said. "The victims -- their lives have been changed and some will never recover from years of sexual abuse. For me, it's about giving them access to the courts."

    Under the bill's provisions, anyone older than 48 who makes a sex abuse claim against the church would need to join an existing claim filed by someone 48 or younger. Older claimants would need to show substantial proof that they were abused.

    "They were worried about frivolous lawsuits and so we made the bar high," Bye said.

    The bill does not target the Catholic Church, she said.

    The bishops' letter raised concerns that the bill would allow claims that are 70 years or older, in which "key individuals are deceased, memories have been faded, and documents and other evidence have been lost." The letter said that the majority of cases would be driven by "trial lawyers hoping to profit from these cases."

    The bill passed in Connecticut's House of Representatives, and Bye said the state Senate should vote on it in the next week or two.


  2. #2
    Member BillyBobThai's Avatar
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    Let's get these Catholic cocksuckers out of the church. Take away the churches tax exempt status, when a priest get caught. When Rome starts to loose money, then things will change. Your soul does not matter, only $$$$$$$.

  3. #3
    Pronce. PH said so AGAIN!
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    Basically they are saying that removing statute of limitations on sex abuse is unnecessary because they've eliminated sex abuse through a zero tolerance policy!

    Here's the letter:

    On March 29, 2010, the Judiciary Committee passed H.B. 5473 (in a 23-20 vote), which
    would completely eliminate the existing 30 year statute of limitations relating to sexual abuse
    of a minor. The bill would permit persons alleging such abuse to wait 40, 50, 60 or more years
    before filing a claim. Although the bill requires additional evidence to file a civil claim after a
    30 year period, these provisions are lacking in protecting the right of the accused to present an adequate defense. This legislation is specifically related to abuse claims arising out of the actions
    of Dr. George Reardon. Civil claims have been filed against Saint Francis Hospital and the
    Archdiocese of Hartford based on Dr. Reardon’s actions. Judiciary Committee Voting Tally

    When similar bills passed in California and Delaware, the result was over 1,250 plaintiffs filing suit against Catholic institutions, two dioceses in bankruptcy, efforts to foreclose on parish and diocesan properties, and the transfer of over $1.3 billion from Catholic institutions and their insurers to claimants and their counsel.

    These risks are real. Over 140 persons have already sued St. Francis Hospital due to the alleged rogue and wicked acts of one physician who practiced there decades ago. Forty-nine of these persons are now suing the Archdiocese of Hartford. According to the Hartford Courant, there are many more patients who have not yet sued. Since 2002, the dioceses in Portland, Spokane, Tucson, San Diego, Davenport, Fairbanks, and Wilmington have filed for bankruptcy. In most of these cases, claimants have sought to liquidate parish properties to satisfy their demands.

    * HB 5473 is unwise because it compromises sound judicial practices. A statute of limitation is a deadline for filing a claim. If missed, the claim expires, and the parties can rely upon this fact to arrange their affairs. Such statutes serve the common good by helping courts produce accurate results. Delayed claims means litigation after documents have been discarded, memories have faded, and witnesses have moved away or died. When California passed a similar bill, the dioceses there were forced to defend cases involving allegations against over 100 dead priests. Trials are unlikely to produce fair results when the only person able to testify about the alleged wrongful conduct is the party seeking the damage award.
    * HB 5473 is unjust because it imposes the burden of litigation expense and damages upon Catholic institutions that the State is unwilling to impose upon itself. The State is unwilling to permit a direct right of action against itself or any action against other government entities like towns, school boards, or public schools. Thus, a student victimized by a teacher in a Catholic school can sue the school for damages. A student suffering an identical assault in a public school cannot seek damages because his claim is barred by a doctrine called sovereign immunity. HB 5473 leaves this unfairness unaddressed.

    This unfairness is greater because Catholic institutions have largely resolved their problem of childhood sexual abuse through zero tolerance practices implemented in 1992 and excellent safe environment programs beginning in 2002. Connecticut Catholic dioceses and parishes have conducted over 2,500 classes on identification of early warning signs and on mandatory reporting; trained 234,000 clergy, lay employees, parents, and youth; and conducted over 68,000 criminal background checks.


    Connecticut Catholic Conference

    The proposed change to the law would put "all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk," says the letter, which was signed by Connecticut's three Roman Catholic bishops.
    Otherwise known as "Don't repeal it on the merits, or whether or not you believe child molesters should be brought to justice, but please repeal it because we have a lot of child molesters in our ranks and if they all go to jail we have no one to be priests."
    bibo ergo sum
    If you hear the thunder be happy - the lightening missed.
    This time.

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