July 22, 2005

Santorum Meets With Priest Sex Victims' Group


POSTED: 7:33 am EDT July 22, 2005
UPDATED: 7:36 am EDT July 22, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A key Pennsylvania senator assured a group of advocates Thursday he would look into why the Justice Department has yet to respond to their request for an investigation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy.

The meeting between Sen. Rick Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, and three members of the Survivors Networks of those Abused by Priests was arranged after some members expressed outrage over a column Santorum wrote.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., criticized the 2002 column in a rare personal attack on Santorum last week on the Senate floor. The column linked Boston's liberalism to the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church.

The three members said Santorum stood by his comments, but they were pleased he agreed to contact the Justice Department.

"It's hard to say until we see what happens next," said Peter Isely, a national board member for the group.

Tammy Lerner, a member from New Tripoli, Pa., said they did not ask Santorum for an apology. Instead, they asked for help in affecting change that would lead to more prosecutions, she said.

"He made a commitment to doing that," Lerner said.

Posted by kshaw at July 22, 2005 08:00 AM