April 08, 2006

Help sought for alleged church abuse victims

Centre Daily Times

Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- Victim advocates are intensifying their efforts to prod lawmakers into passing reforms recommended last fall by a grand jury that investigated alleged sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Philadelphia.

They are organizing an April 24 forum for lawmakers at the Capitol to encourage support for lifting the statute of limitations on criminal charges for sexual offenses against children -- currently a victim's 30th birthday. They also want to waive for one year the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits, which generally must be filed within two years of an alleged incident.

John Salveson, a spokesman for the Philadelphia chapter of the Survival Network of Those Abused by Priests and Other Clergy, said his group is using the forum to counteract opposition by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which lobbies on behalf of the state's Catholic churches.

"They're only hearing one side of the story," Salveson said Friday. "One of the challenges for us is that there haven't been any hearings held on the legislation."

Posted by kshaw at April 8, 2006 08:31 AM