November 10, 2005

Priest abuse victims rally behind bill in Columbus

Cleveland Plain Dealer

Thursday, November 10, 2005
Julie Carr Smyth
Plain Dealer Bureau
Columbus - Victims of sexual abuse by Catholic priests descended on Columbus on Wednesday to plead with state lawmakers to pass a bill making abuse reporting mandatory and lawsuits against the church easier.

For two hours, victims and parents told heart-wrenching tales of rape, molestation and sodomy - some dating back to the 1960s - in an effort to attract the attention of state representatives poised to begin discussion of Senate Bill 17 today.

A panel discussion will be held and no victim testimony is scheduled.

They favor the reporting mandate, but victim advocates' keenest interest is in a provision to create a 12-month window during which the current statute of limitations for suing in abuse cases would be extended from two years after a victim's 18th birthday to 20 years after.

"We don't lose these cases on merit. We lose them on statute of limitations," said Claudia Vercellotti of the Toledo chapter of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "If this problem has really been fully vetted and solved, then the church should be sitting like the Maytag repairman for a year with nothing to do."

Posted by kshaw at November 10, 2005 07:22 AM