March 30, 2006

Window closed for old abuse charges

Toledo Blade


COLUMBUS - Ohio House members navigated photographs of children and chants of "Shame on you" yesterday shortly before a majority of them voted against opening a one-time, one-year window for the filing of lawsuits for child molestation that occurred as long as 35 years ago.

Amid finger-pointing and allegations of deal-making, the Ohio Senate soon finished the job, voting 18-13 to accept the House changes and forward the bill to Gov. Bob Taft, who plans to sign it. The Senate had unanimously and emotionally approved the bill with the window attached a year ago.

The bill now contains an untried civil registry. Victims of past abuse could seek a court order to place an accused sex offender's name on the public list, regardless of whether the person has been convicted or charged with a crime. Those placed on the list would be treated much like sex offenders who are required to register their whereabouts.

"The defeat came in a 12-hour period," said Barbara Blaine, a Toledo native and president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests. "This half-baked, last-minute scheme is unconstitutional. It won't stand up in court. This registry is a shallow, empty promise that will provide no measure of protection for children or justice for victims."

Posted by kshaw at March 30, 2006 08:20 AM