Once again, the Delaware state legislature is considering a bill that would open up a two-year “look back period,” allowing victims of sexual abuse to sue long after the statute of limitations for such crimes had expired.
In response, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property is asking its web subscribers to send an instant email to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who are considering the bill.
The American TFP sees the legislation as an assault on the Catholic Church and has been engaged in an ongoing effort, since January 2006, to counter similar bills in other states.
The TFP position paper, “Is It Fair that the Innocent Pay for the Guilty” argues that these retroactive laws are unjust since they throw the burden of punitive damages on the Catholic faithful, rather than individual criminals. It fears that, if passed, such retroactive measures would force many dioceses into bankruptcy.
The document calls these legislative efforts persecution:
“Taking the extraordinary measure of lifting or extending the statutes of limitations for civil tort actions involving child sexual abuse will make the Church and the faithful who are innocent pay for the crimes of others. It victimizes the Church as an institution and 67 million Catholics nationwide. This is not justice. It is religious persecution.”1
Concern over the potential cost to the state has been a major stumbling block for the bill, since it allows for abusers in public schools to be prosecuted.2 This has further angered some opponents of the bill, who feel that the senators’ reasoning is the epitome of self-serving politics.
“This is a classic example of legislators looking out for their own interests to the detriment of the citizens,” said TFP Webmaster John Horvat. “If this initiative is not viable because of the money it could cost the state, why shouldn’t the money it could cost innocent Catholics make it equally unviable?”
Thus, the TFP web site hopes its subscribers will send a loud message to the Delaware Senate Judiciary Committee. It hopes to encourage its readers to defend the Church and show America that Catholics are willing to stand up for the Faith.
We wish to thank all those who sent their instant email and voiced their concerns to the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- Miller, Beth, “Sex-abuse Victims May Get More Time to Sue”, posted on Delawareonline, January 26, 2007, available at: http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070126/NEWS/701260331