April 22, 2005

Bill on molesters is challenged

The Dallas Morning News

07:57 PM CDT on Thursday, April 21, 2005

By BROOKS EGERTON / The Dallas Morning News

A Dallas legislator is questioning the motives of people who are pushing a bill that would eliminate Texas' time limit on prosecuting child molestation cases.

The activism of clergy abuse victims, for instance, "brought down the Catholic Church, pretty much," state Rep. Terri Hodge said this week. "And it was more about lawsuits than it was protecting our precious little children."

Ms. Hodge is on a House committee that has left in limbo the proposed legislation, which has bipartisan support. An identical bill is stalled in a Senate committee. Supporters say they could win passage on the floor of both chambers.

The legislation applies only to the criminal statute of limitations, not to deadlines for filing civil cases. But Ms. Hodge suggested that the matters were related.

"It all gets back to lawsuits," she said at a late-night subcommittee hearing she chaired Monday, a recording of the event shows.

Posted by kshaw at April 22, 2005 11:23 AM