January 11, 2006

Clergy sex-abuse victims rally

The Republican

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
BOSTON - Victims of clergy sexual abuse and activists yesterday rallied on Beacon Hill for legislation that would end the $20,000 cap on liability for churches and other nonprofit groups in certain civil lawsuits.

In speeches, proponents also called for approval of a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations in criminal and civil cases involving sex abuse of children.

"Accountability is the first step toward preventing future abuse," Peter C. Pollard of Hatfield, coordinator in Western Massachusetts for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told a crowd at the Statehouse.

"With accountability, the silence can be broken. With accountability, healing can begin for everyone involved," Pollard said.

Rep. Ronald Mariano, D-Quincy, is a lead sponsor of the bills to lift the $20,000 limit on liability for churches and nonprofit groups. The bill would abolish the $20,000 limit only for cases of sexual abuse of a minor.

Massachusetts is one of several states with caps on the amount of money nonprofits can be forced to pay for negligence.

Posted by kshaw at January 11, 2006 08:35 AM