Sunday, September 22, 2013

Church abuses victims of childhood sexual abuse by blocking law to protect them

John Hrabe, an investigative reporter for Huffington Post, San Francisco is betting that Jerry Brown, governor of California will sign into law a bill (SB131) to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits against the organizations like the catholic church who allowed those crimes to take place. Whether Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student (who decided not to become a priest) signs the bill or not will not be known until October.
Lawmakers in government have been trying to block this effort to aid sexual abuse victims.  Why? The answer is money, says John Hrabe.  Organizations that protected and covered up for abusers of children don’t want to be held liable for what they did. According to Hrabe, catholic dioceses in California have already spent $1.2 billion in abuse settlements and would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lobbying campaign to block the bill to avoid more settlements. They hired five lobbying firms who distorted the facts and spread misinformation about SB 131.

William A. Donohue, a spokesperson for the church and president of the catholic league for religious and civil rights, said: "In California, in particular, there has been so much progress that priestly sexual abuse has long since ceased to exist."  John Hrabe, couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  He said, “Ceased to exist? Donohue doesn't understand that the threat of sexual abuse is ongoing. It never ceases to exist because there are always more predators. Victims will always face an uphill battle to be taken seriously. For that very reason, big institutions must remain ever vigilant and adopt procedures that encourage an ongoing discussion about sexual abuse.”
California Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, (R), the strongest opponent of the bill commented that it was supporting trial lawyers and just opening old wounds.  These words were strongly criticized by Joelle Casteix, a regional director for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).  Casteix said that these words were a “slap in the face to the brave victims” and that “the only way old wounds are opened is when abuse is kept secret and wrongdoers are allowed to continue in abuse and cover-up.”

So again, we have the church pouring money into abusing the already abused and protecting themselves. Where does all this money come from?  Hopefully not from the donations of those parishioners who still believe it goes for helping the poor and abused.