October 20, 2005

Group asks for change in sex abuse law

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Angela Couloumbis
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau

HARRISBURG - A national advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests and other clergy is asking Pennsylvania legislators to move swiftly to strengthen state laws dealing with the sexual abuse of children.

The group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests and Other Clergy, gathered in the statehouse yesterday to urge lawmakers to enact sweeping changes to current law, in light of a recent report by a Philadelphia grand jury that investigated sexual-abuse allegations in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

The report found that dozens of priests sexually abused hundreds of children while Philadelphia archdiocese officials in many cases excused - and enabled - the abuse. But the grand jurors said they could not pursue criminal charges against priests or any of their superiors because of restrictions in Pennsylvania law.

The archdiocese has called the report slanted, biased and anti-Catholic.

Yesterday, members of Survivors Network, better known as SNAP, said that lawmakers must enact a "comprehensive package" of legislation to correct what they believe are deficiencies in state law.

Posted by kshaw at October 20, 2005 07:15 AM