March 31, 2006

Victims sue over meeting held on abuse reporting bill

Beacon Journal

Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Victims of sexual abuse by priests sued Thursday to stop the state from enacting the abuse reporting bill that lawmakers sent to Gov. Bob Taft a day earlier, saying critical changes were crafted in what the victims called an illegal secret meeting.

The House deleted a provision allowing lawsuits over 35-year-old abuse cases before passing the bill Wednesday, and the Senate reluctantly agreed to the change. Taft intends to sign the bill - unless the lawsuit ties it up, spokesman Mark Rickel said.

Three members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said they were kept out of negotiations leading to the cut that hurts them directly.

Their two lawsuits, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, say Republican members of a House committee met illegally Monday with Speaker Jon Husted and another GOP member, Rep. Bill Seitz, while a guard kept the victims out of the room.

"Every time the door opened we could see them in there, but we had no access," said Claudia Vercellotti, a victim from Toledo.

Posted by kshaw at March 31, 2006 07:37 AM