February 14, 2006

Panel OKs sex abuse bill

Rocky Mountain News

By Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News
February 14, 2006
National experts, lawyers and the Murphy brothers - first in a long line of sex abuse survivors - put the Catholic Church center stage Monday in more than six hours of testimony on a bill to allow long-ago sex abuse cases to be brought to civil court.

Senate bill 143 cleared the committee late Monday after nearly 50 people testified.

Although the bill's backers have repeatedly said it doesn't target the Catholic Church, the theme of every witness was its effect on the Catholic Church.

The Denver Archdiocese is fighting the bill because it makes churches and nonprofits vulnerable to decades' old cases but doesn't include public entities, such as schools, which are protected by the principle of "governmental immunity."

But sex abuse victims testified that the only way they could get justice from past clergy abusers was to be able to retrieve old church records and bring their claims forward no matter how old.

Posted by kshaw at February 14, 2006 06:47 AM