April 06, 2006

Where are the reforms on sex abuse?

Philadelphia Inquirer

John Salveson
is a spokesman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in Philadelphia

On Sept. 21, District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham released a stunning grand jury report detailing decades of horrific sexual abuse of children in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It described both the activities of sexually abusive priests and the systematic cover-up perpetrated by the church hierarchy that protected those priests and enabled them to continue to abuse children without consequence.

The outrage and disgust felt by Catholics in the Philadelphia region were palpable. They wondered: How could this happen? How could children be put in harm's way so consistently, leading to more and more abuse and wrecked lives? Church leaders' response to the report did nothing to answer their questions or quell their fears. The report was characterized by one attorney for the archdiocese as "anti-Catholic." Cardinal Justin Rigali said he didn't think the report was "of value to families."

Yet the bottom line was simple: Kids were abused and priests were protected largely because Pennsylvania law is inadequate to address this criminal behavior. And the report outlined seven legislative reforms that are needed.

Posted by kshaw at April 6, 2006 07:30 AM