Take action now, your parish is at risk!!

Timothy Kincaid

April 14th, 2010

If you live in Connecticut, you must take bold action to protect your parish. Politicians want to change the statute of limitations on child molestation, and we must not let them attack the Holy Mother Church in this way.

Currently the law protects priests, perhaps your pashish priest, from being charged for any sexual molestation of children once the child has grown up and reached the age of 48. This protects our beloved servants of Christ from the malicious attacks from former altar boys who are being pushed by the homosexuals, the Jews, and the press who hate the church because it defends the familiy from same-sex marriage.

Call your Congressman now!

This would be a tasteless parody if it weren’t what the Catholic Church in Connecticut is actually doing. (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.

In a letter inserted in Sunday bulletins, the bishops appealed to parishioners to take action to fight the change.

This bill would retroactively eliminate the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits related to allegations of child sexual abuse. Connecticut already has the longest retroactive statute in the United States – 30 years past the age of 18. Over the past several years in states that have even temporarily eliminated the statutes, it has caused the bankruptcy of at least seven dioceses. House Bill 5473 would make Connecticut the only State without a statute of limitations. This bill would put all Church institutions, including your parish, at risk.

And as for the victims… well, the Church is the real victim here.

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.

So Catholics should oppose the change because it would allow the Church to be held liable for the molestation of their children by pedophile priests and might cost the Church some money. They make no pretense, it’s all about money.

Almost every day I am dumbfounded at the way in which the Catholic Church just doesn’t get it. Rather than show repentance for the horrific and inexcusable pattern of systematically covering up heinous acts of abuse by those entrusted to be the Church’s most intimate contact with the World, they continue to shift blame, circle the wagons, protect their leaders, blame the victims who “want it”, and do anything to protect their assets and power.

RCM

April 14th, 2010

” malicious attacks from former altar boys who are being pushed by the homosexuals, the Jews, and the press who hate the church ” The altar boys don’t have brains of their own? As for Jews…that bit seems just downright sinister. Plus the press…I understand the American press are often quite intense, but are they really out to get the Roman Catholic Church? Now actually I’m having troubling believing this thing is for real. Not accusing Box Turtle of fraud here, just like, did they actually really say that? Mind blowing.

Timothy Kincaid

April 14th, 2010

No, RCM, they didn’t “actually say that”.

The italicized part is parody… except that it also is true.

DN

April 14th, 2010

Gays… Jews… have they blamed their childrape on Gypsies, yet? Don’t forget atheists. Keep throwing the spaghetti of blame at the wall, boys – maybe something will stick.

(God forbid you try looking in the mirror)…

Jason D

April 14th, 2010

uh, what ON EARTH was going on in Connecticut 50 years ago???!!

Jason D

April 14th, 2010

Also, if I were a parent I would be compelled to ask

“So which one of you is the supposedly reformed-pedophile that’s afraid of prosecution?”

Cause come on, the only reason to object to something like this is because you KNOW of someone who would be at risk for prosecution.

What, Did Father/Bishop XYZ molest a whole baseball team 60 years ago and got it out of his system, so now he’s okay?

Burr

April 14th, 2010

Isn’t this basically an admission of a vast amount of abuse? There’s no reason it would bankrupt them if they were innocent.

Bill

April 14th, 2010

There should be no statute of limitation on child molestation or rape, just like it is for murder.

Bill

April 14th, 2010

Oh yeah, and tax all churches!

Zach

April 14th, 2010

Are religious organizations even allowed to direct their congregants to support specific pieces of legislation like this? This seems like it would violate legal boundaries of church-state separation.

anteros

April 15th, 2010

hmmm. gotta wonder… if they got nothing to hide, why would they want parishioners to oppose the change? by trying so hard to protect veteran church pedos from this change… isnt that some kind of admission of guilt? are they all pedos in priests’ clothing? please keep all kids far away from those who want parishioners to excuse veteran church pedos from justice.

Paul in Canada

April 15th, 2010

CBC: Encore presentation of one of the first documentaries to link the Vatican to the cover-up of pedophile priests.

http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyeshowcase/2010/sexcrimesvatican/

paul j stein

April 15th, 2010

If it has caused the bankruptcy of at least seven dioceses then why have the victims not seized the assets of the church and sold them at auction, or better yet started an AMERICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH? If I remember correctly when you are legally judged insolvent you give up the assets.

Richard Rush

April 15th, 2010

paul J stein said, “If I remember correctly when you are legally judged insolvent you give up the assets.”

That may be true if we were dealing with a corporation, but we must remember that churches have special rights.

Paul Wagner

April 15th, 2010

As repugnant as the actions of pedophile priests may be, I do not believe the church should be liable. It was not their responsibility to notify law enforcement, but the parents choice. If the parents chose not to call the cops, why would the church?

Jason D

April 15th, 2010

“Paul Wagner
April 15th, 2010 | LINK

As repugnant as the actions of pedophile priests may be, I do not believe the church should be liable. It was not their responsibility to notify law enforcement, but the parents choice. If the parents chose not to call the cops, why would the church?”

Paul, are you not aware of the law?
Failure to report a crime — IS a crime in and of itself.
It may also count as “obstruction of justice” “interfering in a criminal investigation” and or make the church an “accessory” to the crime itself.

And since when is an employer NOT responsible for reporting crimes that happen on their property, or that their employees commit while on the clock?

CLS

April 15th, 2010

It is dangerous to everyone to have the statue of limitations expanded. I have no love for the Catholic Church at all. But the reason for such limitations is that they are necessary so that people are able to defend themselves. The longer back you go with accusations the harder it is to find evidence for a defense. We must still operate on the assumption of innocent until proven guilty and a lot of innocent people are arrested during this sort of sex panic.

I should also note that gay men are often targeted for false accusations as well and these limitations protect their rights. If you were accused of molesting a boy 20 years ago, sometime in May, exactly how would you present an alibi? How would you find evidence to the contrary.

Now in a rational legal system one is supposed to be presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. But for years now that has been chucked out the window with a presumption of guilt until proven innocent. All it takes is some prosecutor scapegoating a gay man to some unsympathetic jury and he will be presumed guilty. But he will be unable to mount a defense because of time factors.

The exceptions to limitations that have already allowed prosecutions in abuse matters are too lenient now, resulting in incarceration for people who are probably innocent. We seem to operate on the premise that tis better to incarcerate 100 innocent men than allow one guilty to go free.

Jason D

April 15th, 2010

CLS, you might have a point of the statute of limitations were 5 or 10 years.

But the current statute of limitations is age 48. Are you suggesting that 49+ year old men and women are given to suddenly making up false abuse claims?

Do you have any proof that the older someone is the more likely they are to make up false abuse claims? That the further back the abuse is, the further back the abuse allegedly took place, the more likely someone is to report it?

Seems to me that after such a large amount of time a jury(these are jury trials, usually, aren’t they?) Would be just as suspicious of the plaintiff as they might be of the accused. Simply stating “that man molested me” is enough to get an arrest, but falls far short of getting a conviction. The burden is still on the plaintiff to provide evidence, witnesses, establish motive, etc, etc.

Richard Rush

April 15th, 2010

CLS, I pretty much agree with you.

I have never assumed that all the accusations against priests are valid. I can easily imagine that an innocent physical touch by a priest many years ago could now be redefined as sexual molestation. I can also imagine some teenagers being more than willing participants (or even the aggressors), and while that does not excuse a priest’s participation, it should not necessarily be classified as “abuse” or “molestation,” in my opinion. And some of those more-than-willing teenage participants may now be self-loathing closeted homosexuals eager to blame a priest for making them that way. And I would not be surprised if some false accusations have been made by men salivating at the prospect of receiving a pot of gold out of this scandal.

Right about now it may be instructive for all of us to revisit the story of the Salem Witch Trials. Seriously.

Jason D

April 15th, 2010

Richard, I’m still hung up on why 48 years is a safe bet for false charges, but indefinite suddenly makes them more likely.

Are there 49 year olds who were too busy to come up with false charges until now? Does coming up on or exceeding the half-century mark suddenly make people want to come up with false charges?
Does it take 3-4 decades to craft false charges?

I’m also rather disturbed by your post and thankful that you’re not the one who decides what counts as “abuse” or “molestation”.

Richard Rush

April 15th, 2010

Jason D,

My comment was not intended to convey, nor do I have, an opinion about specific lengths of time for statues of limitations. I agreed with CLS about the general concept he was writing about.

And I’m also thankful that I’m not the one who decides what counts as “abuse” or “molestation.” Every state has, rightly, established an age-of-consent law (generally 18, I believe). But from a practical standpoint a guy in his mid 20’s having sex with a 17-yr.-old is simply not the same as if that older guy is having sex with an 11-yr.-old. Although the case with the 17-yr.-old would be illegal, I don’t think it is rational to automatically label it as “abuse” or “molestation” without knowing more specifics. The latter case with the 11-yr.-old would clearly be heinous “abuse” and “molestation.”
Despite the simplicity of the law, there is no magical transformation that occurs in a person’s psyche on their 18th birthday, but there is normally a dramatic difference in one’s level of development from 11 to 17 years of age. I would hope the authorities take those distinctions into consideration when prosecuting these cases.

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