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After a long day working on a project, I came home to find an email in my personal account announcing a press event on 1 March to discuss the Pennsylvania Child Victim Act Legislation that will be introduced in Harrisburg by State Representatives Louise Williams Bishop (isn’t that an ironic last name?) and Mike McGeehan.

While I am trying not to get my hopes up, if this legislation is successful and finds a way to become law, I and many others would be able to seek something we have been denied by the Catholic Church, the truth! (I bet the boys on Wyoming Avenue thought I was looking for a payday!) I want someone to actually tell me the truth, answer my questions and be up front and honest. Shocking, my demands have always been so unreasonable! (Do I need to tell you to adjust your computer sarcasm setting, again?)

Here is the text of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse press release:

FACSA ACTION ALERT

WHAT: Press Conference to discuss PA Child Victim Act Legislation
WHERE: The Harrisburg Capitol Building Rotunda, Harrisburg PA
WHEN: Tues. March 1, 2011 at !0 AM
WHO SHOULD ATTEND: Any one interested in supporting legislation that will hold the criminals who commit child sex abuse accountable.

FURTHER DETAILS: State Reps. Louise Williams Bishop and Mike McGeehan, D-Phila., will hold a news conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 1 at the state Capitol Rotunda to discuss legislation introduced (H.B. 832) and (H.B. 853 ).
The purpose of the news conference is to discuss Rep. Bishop’s legislation that would abolish the statute of limitations on both criminal and civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse and to discuss Rep. McGeehan’s legislation to reopen a two year window to bring civil suit for victims of childhood abuse whose statute of limitations have expired.

Attending the news conference Tuesday will be Bishop, McGeehan, Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, SnDdeN – (NSA) National Survivor Advocates Coalition, Tammy Lerner (FACSA) The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, Sherry Sensenig, (PROP) Parents Reaching Out to Parents, Marita Green (VOTF-GP) Voice of the Faithful of Greater Philadelphia, Joy Wuenschel, SNAP-Philadelphia Survivor Network of Those Abused by Priests, Pam Erdely, (SNAP) Pittsburgh.

State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop D-Philadelphia Mike McGeehan D-Philadelphia

Our mailing address is:
The Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse
740 Cornerstone Lane
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Our telephone:
(215) 870-0680

End Text for FACSA.

If you are a resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I ask for your active support. Call your Representative and Senator in Harrisburg and demand that your legislature do the right thing to protect children and to afford the opportunity for justice to those who have been long denied that justice.

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While I was off in California on an assignment for work, some dedicated people were working hard on seeing that legislation in the Virginia State Assembly to expand the statute of limitation for survivors to find justice. HB 1476 Sexual abuse; limitations period, was passed unanimously in the State Assembly and had only limited opposition in the Senate. The text of the bill can be read here.

An article in the Washington Examiner details the passage of the bill in the Virginia State Assembly in Richmond. The bill gives survivors 20 years to file a civil action. The only public opposition to the bill came from the Catholic Church (Go Figure?!)

My thanks go out to Becky Ianni of Northern Virginia. Becky is the SNAP leader for Virginia who worked tirelessly to line up speakers and help move this legislation through.

The bill is now on the desk of Governor Bob McDonnell to sign, amend or veto. McDonnell, who is a Catholic himself, has not indicated which way he will go on the legislation currently before him. Jeff Caruso, the executive director of the Virginia Catholic Conference, has not indicated what the Catholic Church plans to do in order to persuade the Governor to veto the legislation. The Catholic Church, currently one of the largest institutional protector of rapists who target children, is sure to continue working to preserve its corporate policy of fighting legislation that would help to protect children and vulnerable adults in order to maintain their own wealth and status.

Send a note to Governor McDonnell and urge him to sign this legislation to allow victims an opportunity to seek justice and reveal the truth about those who protect child molesters and rapists. Email the Governor and tell him you want him to sign the legislation!

Thanks to some clever programming by my developer, the Child Sexual Abuse Survivors Blogroll is up and running pretty well at this point.  I have 13 blogs currently feeding into the website.  The entire point of this centralized point was to allow readers to find many different voices blogging on the topic.

If you read a blog that covers the topic of clergy sexual crimes against children or vulnerable adults or if you write one of your own, please consider sending me your link so that I can add it to the Blogroll. You can send the contact information to me at mbbaumannblog@gmail.com or at the blogroll’s contact page.

I have been trying to sort out so many things in my brain over the last two months.  Writing posts did not make the top of the list.

I have a list of topics for posts that needs some attention.   There was a great post on Tim Fischer’s blog “Altered Boy” that talked about the holidays.  I wanted to riff off of that and add my own personal talent at torpedoing the holiday season.  Never got to it.

The news never stops coming of priests committing sexual crimes and dioceses spending more time pointing out that they are being unjustly spotlighted when there are other cases of abuse in other religions.  Deflection, right out of the Vatican playbook.  I wanted to comment on that.   Never got to it.

Legislation is pending in Virginia to extend the statute of limitations on sexual crimes. I let myself down on that one. I will get to it, and soon.

The emails don’t stop coming.  That is not a bad thing.  It can be stressful and heartbreaking when you read the email from a survivor who has sent me his or her story.  A story not shared with a spouse, family or a close friend.  It is shared with me by someone who I have never met, but with whom I am permanently connected.  In some cases, the great terrible secret remains only now I am a party to it.  Some of them are Robert Gibson’s victims.  (Note to the Diocese of Scranton, While you claim that he has had 4 victims, I have spoken to many more than that.) The most recent was an altar boy who Gibson groomed at the parish that proved to be his last. He used the same games, the same manipulations he used on countless others.

On the plane from San Diego to Atlanta the other day, I received an email from a Notre Dame classmate who stumbled on this blog. There was an offer of support (gratefully accepted) and a mention that, as an adult, there were questions about odd behavior on the part of Gibson. That so many people consistently tell me that they thought he was odd is very telling.

I have a lot to catch up on. Many topics need to be addressed and more questions need to be asked. I will try to be more consistent in my postings. In the meantime, I still want to hear from survivors and people who are willing to stand up to protect children, even when the Catholic Church seems to be incapable of doing the right thing. The crisis continues, whose side are you on?

Copyright

This site is copyrighted by my statement.
Michael Baumann


Credit: Michael Baumann at "Off My Knees"

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