Tuesday, January 15, 2008

WCC Opposes Changes to Rules for Abuse Claims

Said the Capitol Update December 7, 2007 of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.
The WCC is opposed to a bill that is expected to be introduced in mid-December, which would repeal the statute of limitations in civil suits relating to child sexual abuse cases, and provide a three-year, one-time “window” in which victims can bring a civil action in cases previously barred by the current statute.


More information will be forthcoming in future editions of the Capitol Update.

If you needed something to pass the time while waiting for the next Capitol Update, you could take a look at the bills, SB356, introduced December 17, 2007, and AB651, introduced January 3, 2008. The bills have lined up quite a bit of support, according to a listing at the National Association to Prevent Sexual Abuse of Children. On January 10th, the local chapter of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) emailed that the bills were set for hearings,
1. Wednesday, January 16: The Senate hearing (Judiciary Committee), 1pm, Rm 411 South, State Capitol

2. Thursday, January 24: Assembly hearing (Children and Family Law). 9am, Rm 328 NW. State Capitol

Obviously these bills are on a fast track.

After the weekend, the WCC emailed the promised-to-be-forthcoming Capitol Update. Though at this writing the Update is not posted on the WCC website, WCC has posted this Issue Brief: Lawsuits Involving Sexual Abuse of Children. This afternoon the WCC emailed about tomorrow morning's hearing, again including this appeal.

Please write your legislators...

For a hearing tomorrow, I might have suggested call, email, and then write your legislators. The email listed talking points for constituents, adding,
As you make the points discussed above, please emphasize that the Catholic Church remains committed to the healing process for victims/survivors of child abuse.

The bills are extremely bad policy, but I wouldn't bet against their passing if the best the Church's lobbyists can finally come up with is to have us blathering about being "committed to the healing process".

P.S. On the other hand, maybe it is a wonderful turn of phrase, and a special liturgy/Mass for victims/survivors could include "...but only say the word and my soul shall be committed to the healing process."

Update: from the LaCross Tribune, January 17, 2008, Lawmakers ponder wiping out time limits on child sex abuse suits. "Unjust" versus "validation"; now that's a battle the Church could win.

Update 2: Andrew Beckett reported for the Wisconsin Radio Network on Lifting limits on sexual abuse lawsuits
Archbishop Dolan's testimony at WCC
(via The Wheeler Report)

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