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I am writing this from the low country of South Carolina. A break needed to assess where I am and where I am going. I am also working on a project that I will keep under wraps for the time being. The first steps are proving to be very challenging.
After the post from July where I asked the question “What is it going to take?” I did not hear crickets, but I also did not hear a lot of consensus. Most of the comments were via email to this blog and, as a rule, I don’t publish the contents of email unless I have the permission of the correspondent.
I keep coming back to the same basic conclusion. We, the community of survivors, don’t trust each other. I am sure someone with a lot more education in psychology can explain all this. In fact, I would love to hear the explanation.
What I have discovered is that there are divisions within the community that baffle me. There seems to be a concern that someone’s abuse is more important, more devastating, more valid than another.
There is no criteria to determine who is a survivor and who is not. There is no experience barometer to determine who had it “bad enough” to be in the “club”. I almost hesitate to say the word “community” anymore. I really don’t think there is one. There is no network, there is no organization because we cannot come to a definition of who can be considered a survivor. And that serves the interests of the predators and the institutions that have protected them.
It is not a competition. It is a very destructive game of “I had it worse than you”. Can’t we agree that is awful, devastating, damaging and life altering? It is completely confusing to me that the people who should have the most empathy for survivors are other survivors. And yet, that is where I find the most intensely judgmental collection of individuals who are often very vocal when anyone offers an opinion other contrary to the “norm”.
If this is the game, I don’t want to play anymore. I have better things to do than sit around comparing stories of abuse and the levels of devastation caused by that abuse. I will leave that sorting to someone else.
It is not all SNAP’s fault either. We can wax poetic about how screwed up an organization, any organization may be. We can waste our time affixing blame. Or we can get organized, concentrate on the predators and the institutions that protect them and move forward. At some point this has to stop being about individuals and it has to start being about something greater.
If we are to have that kind of community of survivors, we must not sit in judgement of each other, we must work together to change the environment that has allowed predators to target children and vulnerable adults. If we cannot do that, we have already failed.
It seems that what it is going to take is empathy for each other. Once we have that we can start to be more organized and focused on changing the conditions that allow an environment for abuse and criminal conspiracies to protect predators to exist.
I wrote a blog post in February, 2013 titled “Is there a Survivors’ Community” in which I was looking for answers from survivors about our community, our way forward and who speaks for us. In May,2013 I expressed my frustration in another post, “Crickets, Silence on the net…” that I did not hear from anyone in the survivor’s community. According to the analytics I see on this blog, plenty of people read the original but no one offered their thoughts.
Here we are again and I am wondering why we can’t move forward. I am wondering what the factors are in keeping us separated, unorganized and losing ground in efforts to change legislation and have society take the problem of sexual abuse and rape of children and vulnerable adults seriously.
A reporter contacted me a while back on a story concerning a priest accused of molesting a young boy. He had already published the story but wanted my feedback. He had used a quote from SNAP for the article, the same inane drivel that the National Director of that organization generically applies to any and all cases of abuse on which he is queried. It made me wonder.
What is it going to take? What would it take to get a coherent message from the survivor community to articulate the message that children and vulnerable adults are at risk from predators who enjoy a certain level of top cover from institutions who are more concerned with a risk management strategy than with the protection of those who need it most? Is there a way that the message can be successfully crafted and articulated? Can it be molded into a strategy that allows for the development of stronger laws to protect victims and enable the predators and their protectors to be held accountable both criminally and civilly? Can we develop a voice that is institutionally agnostic and not narrowly focused on the Catholic Church, the Boy Scouts of American, Penn State or any other notorious institution with a history of child sexual crimes?
The other side of this argument is well-organized and well-funded. Despite the fact that organizations like the Catholic League are notorious for spewing lies and portraying victims as predators or being responsible for the abuse inflicted upon them, we have no credible organization, at the national level, that can present a coherent case for the need for change in legislation, education, institutional culture, and society in dealing with predators who prey on children. We have no credible counters on Fox News to the Bill Donohues of the world.
We don’t need shrill fundraisers who only seem to hang around looking for the next donation to pay the salary or travel expenses for the next hit and run media opportunity. (It must be convention time again.) We need serious people who can step up and credibly do the work. We need to actually network the survivors of child sexual abuse, their supporters, law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the legislatures in all the states to move in the direction of making the punishment so vile for crimes of this nature for both the predator and the institution that protects the predator that there is no where for the predator to find a safe haven.
As with many stories, the public eventually gets weary and loses interest. That is what institutions like the Catholic Church want. They want everything to blow over, go away, disappear. The predators want that as well so that they may return to the business of grooming their next victim. Perhaps it is time to find our national voice, our national strategy, our universal calling to actually effect a long-lasting change. The shrill voices from Chicago and St. Louis have proven that they are not up to the task. Who will step up?
Are you still out there?
An article in the Scranton Times-Tribune online follows up on the story of Carlos Urrutigoiry and his elevation to a position of authority over priests accused of misconduct in a Catholic Diocese in Paraguay.
The National Director of SNAP, David Chlohessy, is demanding the Diocese release the files on the Urrutigoiry and the events that occurred at St. Gregory’s Academy in Elmhurst, a residential school sponsored by the Society of St. John, a religious order. Urrutigoiry was credibly accused of sleeping with teenage boys as part of his “ministry”.
It will come as no surprise that the Diocese of Scranton will take no action and that the National Director of SNAP will move on to another press release/photo opportunity. The dance continues and yet no progress is made.
“When one goes looking for something, one rarely finds it, but when you least expect it, the object of your search tends to fly up in front of you.”
This is a hard topic to write about. What happened all those years ago, the coverup by the church, the discord in the survivor community. I find myself both drawn to writing and wanting to put all this down and walking away to something else, anything else. I have had people recommend both courses of action, some more profane that others.
I wrote a piece not too long ago looking for the “Survivor Community”. There was no response from the “community”. I know someone is reading “Off My Knees”. I see readership numbers that mystify me everyday. I am even more perplexed when I have not had a post for a little while and the numbers start to climb into the hundreds per day. Usually that is the indicator that something has stirred in the universe and another person in authority (priest, coach, teacher, cop, relative…) has been identified as a molester/rapist of children or that a major piece of legislation has come to a head or that someone has died. When I see random peaks in readership, I go to the analytics that I track for my blog looking for an explanation.
I do get emails from survivors or people close to a survivor looking for answers, advice or a conversation with someone who understands all too well what happened all those years ago. I am very wary of requests for phone conversations and even more concerned about requests for face to face meetings. I am also hesitant to offer advice, mostly because I still have more questions than answers.
The other night I was tracking activity in this blog that turn out to be someone who was reposting a blog post I had written. That is when the thought came to me. As Survivors, we don’t trust each other. Is it possible that what we have in common also alienates us from each other? Our vulgar initiation into this universe of survivors makes us ever vigilant and doubtful of the motives of our correspondents. We will read each other’s posts on blogs and message boards, but there is a hesitance to respond, to act, to come together. For many, we have not really given up the great terrible secret that we have carried for so long. We may be silently watching from the comfort of our own world. Many are not engaged. Many are not ready to be engaged. Many are too tired of all of it to be engaged.
While we may have a great deal in common, we, as a group, do not really talk very much. I kept quiet for well over 33 years. All that silence keeps things from happening. It keeps the well-organized people who protected the criminals who preyed on us strong. It keeps them on the street, it keeps them from being called to account for their complicity.
Our silence also fails to shape the message of our community. Silence is seen by consent by groups that are putting forward an agenda. Those agendas are not always in our collective interest. Within our community there are bitter divisions. Some of the worst vitriol I have seen spewed at survivors has come from other survivors. Discourse between us is not only discouraged, it is often attacked when the message does not support the “national position” .
We still need to find our collective voices, we still need to learn to network. Most importantly, we must understand that, while there is a common thread, we all have very unique experiences that don’t always fit nicely into the general picture being painted of the community. Just as I am amazed at the inability of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to tell the truth, I am amazed at the sometimes vicious tactics used between survivors.
Differences in points of view should be expected. But the infighting and the polarization in the survivor community are doing nothing but helping the people/organizations/institutions who desperately want us to remain silent and subservient.
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI came as a shock to the Catholic Church and the world. In the last month pundits have examined and speculated on the reasons for his sudden retirement and the tremor that went through the trouble Catholic Church that resulted from his announcement.
In what is being touted as his farewell speech, the Pontiff sited failing health and energy as the reason for his unconventional departure from the throne of Saint Peter. Canon Law (Canon 332, No. 2) states “If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone.” In other words, he can leave and no one has the right to say “No you can’t go!” It seems that the only restriction is that he can’t take his red shoes with him into retirement.
Catholics have an expectation the their Pope will die in office. The departure of Benedict, without benefit of death, opens many wounds that should be addressed by the Conclave. It should be noted that the last Pope to “retire” St. Celestine V, was imprisoned by his successor and died in a papal prison. Scholars believe that the line “who made from cowardice the great refusal” in Dante’s The Divine Comedy was a reference to Celestine V.
So here we are on the first night of the Conclave. Ballot 1 resulted in black smoke. Tomorrow we will see up to four more polls of the assembled Cardinals. These men are as far removed from the teachings of their Lord as can be. Take a look at the media coverage during the last month. Think of the image that is being presented by the princes of the church in their blood-red, silk cassocks and hand tied fine lace. Each in what seemed to be different patterns of finery. Is this what the successor of Peter should look like? Or are we seeing the excesses of royalty in a church wracked with scandal? These men are addressed by grand titles such as “Your Eminence”. Have they become the modern-day Pharisees, enamored of their titles?
These men are sweeping away the numerous scandals and crises in the church as they prepare to crown a new monarch. They talk of looking to the future (why look at the carnage in their wake?). They ignore the sex abuse crisis that has seen children and vulnerable adults preyed upon by sexual predators. The church continues to protect these monsters. As much as Cardinals would like the “scandal” to be over, new stories come forward every day detailing the loss of innocence, faith and trust.
The Vatican Bank has been a scandal for decades. Can you believe that the bank run by the Vatican is considered to be one of the most corrupt in the world? It has consistently failed to be in compliance with international standards. The Pope’s bank has been involved in laundering money for years! Can someone tell me why the Vatican needs to be running a bank? Are there no Italian Banks that can serve the needs of the Curia, while adhering to Italian law and international banking practices?
The fact that the Vatican is a sovereign nation unto itself also makes me wonder what these men in red silk are up to. Although, most of these men are citizens of other countries, they are voting for the head of state of another nation. Should Cardinal Dolan’s American citizenship be revoked because he is an official of a foreign government?
It seems that the men in red silk are a little taken with themselves. They parade around in their finery, vote under the watchful eye of Renaissance masters and try to look like humble servants of the church. I wonder if Jesus was alive today if he would be throwing these pretenders to the throne of Peter out of the temple, exposing them as the frauds that they really are.
Benedict spoke of his concern that the “Lord seemed to sleep”. I would theorize that it is Catholics who are sleeping. They allow crisis after crisis, scandal after to scandal to go unabated. There are no consequences for the princes of the church. Perhaps the forces at work in the Vatican are not those of light and salvation.
Benedict XVI should be wary in his retirement. He did not have the good sense to die. Celestine V was imprisoned by his successor, Pope Boniface VIII. He was seen as a threat that could be used to destabilize the Holy See. He would die in his prison cell, some scholars think he was murdered by order of Boniface.
In the meantime, the world is glued to their smart phones, computers, iPads, tablets and televisions waiting for white smoke to rise from the makeshift chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel. I guess we will know who will be wearing red shoes soon enough.
The past year has seen some spectacular events that have given some hope to survivors of child sexual abuse at the hands pedophile predators in our society. Indeed this crisis knows no borders and is not limited to those of a certain faith. We have seen the conviction of a Catholic Bishop for covering up sexual crimes committed against children, the conviction and imprisonment of Jerry Sandusky for committing those crimes and a monsignor in Philadelphia for carrying out a program of protecting pedophiles at the expense of innocent children and parishioner’s money. Large institutions still are willing to sacrifice the innocent in order to protect the privilege of the few at the top and to prevent scandal from coming to light.
For me personally, I have had to come to grips with the death of the predator who counted me as one of his many victims. He was prolific throughout his life in targeting boys in dysfunctional family situations from alcoholism to catastrophic illness. He hid behind his Roman Collar and he found the protection of a Diocese that was willing to move him around to different parishes and ultimately out of the diocese and the state to keep him safe from prosecution.
With the announcement that the Pope has offered his resignation, something not done in over 600 years, just as the documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa” has aired on HBO (see the promo here), I wonder what the future of the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church will be. I can safely say that the entire College of Cardinals who will be voting in the next few weeks were elevated to helm of their respective curiae by either John Paul II or Benedict XVI. In a word, they are very conservative in the mold of the men who hoped to shape their church by selecting Cardinals who shared similar conservative outlooks on the Holy Roman Catholic Church.
The one piece of the puzzle that continues to vex me is the Survivor Community. The community that speaks for the victims. There isn’t really a strong confederation of groups in the United States that networks survivors and promotes an agenda in the State Capitols. There is no larger, worldwide organization that stands up for the survivors, that is a solid united front for the people who have been neglected all these years.
At this point I will say, again, that I don’t think SNAP is effective because its national leadership seems disconnected from the rest of us. The organization is not a network, despite its name. There is a vocal element out there that feels that the organization is an arm of the Catholic Church because of the way it is formed. They base this claim on the letter that follows:
Personally, I am not convinced this is a smoking gun. I think this was more of the birth of an organization that did not know how to chart its own course at its genesis. But I will let you come to your own conclusions.
During the last week I have been having a heated electronic correspondence with another survivor who has accused me of rolling over on the survivor community and stunting a dialogue between us. I have been accused of many things in the past few years from all sides of this issue. But, as much as I hate to admit it, my correspondent has got me thinking. We talk about a survivor community as if it really exists. We talk about networks but we are not networked as a community.
I need to know what the expectations of survivors are (I hate the word victim). I need to hear the thoughts of others with similar experiences on what needs to be done. I need to know what expectations are out there. If we are going to be a community, a network there is needs to be a common philosophical and pragmatic basis to gather the various groups into a confederation, an alliance or a coalition.
There are a lot of egos in this community. Mine to be counted among them. There has to be a way to come to some kind of accord in order to optimize the talents, energy and, if need be, the anger that resides within the universe of survivors and their supporters.
If no accord can be reached, is there another way to harness the energy of survivors to achieve tangible goals for our society so that we can remove the veil of protection that pedophiles in large institutions have enjoyed in the name of saving the reputation of those institutions? I have said it before and I will continue to say that I had to keep my great terrible secret alone for all those years, my perp had help keeping his.
My questions are not rhetorical, I need to know. I need you to tell me. I think we all need to have the discussion in a civil manner. But the discussion needs to be had, by the entire community, if there is really a community out there.
I am waiting to hear from all of you.
I put a blog post on January 16 entitled 99,601. I thought it was pretty innocuous, more of a “I’m still out here” piece than anything else. It drew a vitriolic response from one reader who decided that it was more of an exercise in narcissism and that I should be taking a more vocal stand against the Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). To be honest, this is my blog and I am going to write as often as I am moved to on topics of my choosing. If you don’t like it I would like to direct you the freshly pressed section of WordPress. There is some really neat stuff there.
If you have read this blog for any length of time you will know that I do not have a lot of love for the National Director of SNAP. I have voiced my opinion on SNAP and the way the national board conducts business. I wrote a blog post entitle Parting Company with SNAP that spun up a lot of comments and heated discussion, some of it too nasty to approve on both sides of the discussion. Do I really want to rehash that? Not so much! I don’t think, as a blogger, I need to announce annually that I am not a fan of the national leadership of SNAP. I still hold out hope that at some point the Survivor community finds a network where we all get an opportunity to work together collectively to advance a legislative agenda that will lengthen statutes of limitation
Instead of pointing out, again, that I think SNAP is a self licking ice cream cone, I choose to spend my time and some of my money supporting organizations like the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse and Justice4PAKids and their efforts to change laws and do real and tangible good. They are making a difference. SNAP is more focused on having 2 conferences this year, one here in the States and the other in Ireland. I guess the National director is working on improving his standing in the airline rewards program of his choice.
At this point I would add that I am very impressed by some of the state SNAP coordinators. Becky Ianni in Virginia is the real deal. I have only met her twice, but she is a force for good in the northern Virginia and Washington DC region. I would gladly support any effort she led. Karen Polesir has helped me on occasion and is active in a coalition of groups working to get SOL and window legislation through the State Assembly in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
I support people like Kay Ebeling who has been reporting (not blogging, reporting) on the sexual abuse crisis for years and has gotten little support from the survivor community. She has been inspiring and I consider her a friend. Funny, the vocal ones have the church, its apologist and many survivors attacking them. I guess that is the point I am circling here. Even in the survivor community there is a chasm between elements. Being a good, compliant survivor or victim makes you a darling to some of the national groups. Dare to criticize them and see how quickly you are on the outs. Lessons learned from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church I guess.
For now I look at the future. I think that change will come but it will not be led by a national organization. We don’t have an effective one. It will be led by regional groups, some affiliated with larger organizations, some will be independent. Fools will rush in and out. We all need to stay the course. We really will not get anywhere if we are sniping at each other.
The SNAP Conference is coming up this weekend in Northern Virginia. Beginning Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, just south of Washington, D.C., SNAP members from all over the country and perhaps from around the world will come together to listen to speakers, mix and exchange stories and try to draw some comfort and strength from other victims of sexual crimes committed by clergy.
I attended the conference a few years ago when after I went public with my own story of abuse. The weekend was eye-opening. There were people in the room who had made great strides towards recovery while others were still on their personal journeys.
At the conference I sought out some of the leaders of SNAP and talked to them about really networking the membership, setting up a blog roll for the people blogging on the topic of sexual crimes committed by clergy and lay employees of religious organizations and finding a way to use social media to bring this group together. There was lots of enthusiasm, but no action.
I withdrew my support for SNAP after I started seeing a pattern of odd behavior and an effort by the National Director to stifle any kind of initiative to do new things or come up with a more coherent strategy to lobby for changes in the laws of states that have not extended statutes of limitation to allow for more time to protect the rights of children or vulnerable adults who have been the victims of crimes committed by clergy.
There are some people who have contended that SNAP is controlled by the church while others say it is an organization that funnels clients to attorneys who make a lot of money suing the church. I think that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I also think that the current leadership is rehashing a strategy that is not working. If you look at the schedule of events for the upcoming conference you do not see any sessions in the main room, or as breakouts, about how to actually network the community through social media or to encourage blogging or other modern methods of harnessing the power of the community. You don’t see sessions on enabling survivors to work on local and state lawmakers to lobby for changes in existing laws.
You also do not see an open discussion of the organization’s budget, the decision-making process of National Leaders or the selection of board members out of the people who allegedly make up the membership of this organization.
You do see a lot of diverse groups talking about victimization and you will most likely hear a request for donations. What we have is not activism, it is passive submission to an agenda set by a very few, with those few having a direct financial stake in the agenda.
I would attend a SNAP Conference where the state of the organization to include a detailed discussion of budget and financial issues is encouraged. I would like to see an organization that would see the election of board members out of the membership in good standing. I would like to see National Leaders held accountable for their methods, tools and strategies. If they fail to meet goals agreed to by the membership, it should be the right of the members to demand a change in leadership.
There are many questions that don’t seem to be answered. There are many who would like to ask questions without fear of retribution from the National Leaders and their more zealous disciples.
I find it ironic that many of the tactics that the Catholic Church has used to control and isolate victims are part of the SNAP leadership strategy to remain firmly in place, collecting a paycheck and controlling a dialogue that is not really theirs to control.
Have a dialogue with all Survivors, encourage a conversation and realize that there is value in differing opinions. Take time to discuss the business of SNAP and establish procedures that will encourage confidence in those who donate to non-profit organizations that comply with established standards and best practices. Make this organization a true network and you will see results.
Finally, stop wasting everyone’s time changing the church. It is never going to happen. This fight will not be won in the pulpit or the pews, it has to be fought and won in the state legislatures and the courtroom. I have said it before and will continue to say it. There will be no profound change in the way the Catholic Church deals with pedophile priests until the church, as an institution, has to pay a price set by civil society that is so terrible that it has no choice but to change as an institution or perish. SNAP can be on the leading edge of that change or remain a self licking ice cream cone that does little more than offer a paycheck to a select few who may not really know where to lead the organization.
We will see what happens in northern Virginia over the weekend. Unfortunately, I do not hold out hope for any new direction!
It has been a while…
I have been struggling with some major issues in my life as of late. Matters involving my family and what is best for them, my job situation, and my own personal happiness are the priority. The blog just did not make the top of the priority list (or the middle for that matter) lately.
Like some of my blogging compatriots, I have been questioning whether keeping OFF MY KNEES going is really in my best interest. I have been asking myself if this is moving me forward or if this is helping me sort out the mess I have created in my life. I don’t think it is. As a result, the number of posts on this blog have slowed down considerably. I do not know if I will be pulling the plug on this, but it is a definite possibility at this point.
I have to sort out the path to normalcy and happiness for myself. No one else can do that for me. I need to chart my own future and put down what is not working for me. People close to me have been telling me to get rid of the things that are not making me happy. An article I read not long ago recommended that on your 50th birthday you should let go of the 50 things that are not working in your life. The universe is telling me to change. It is almost beating me on the head at this point. I am listening, finally!
I have pissed off a lot of people with this blog. Some of them I care about. Others (read as the apologists for the Church, the people who cannot see what is in front of their upturned noses and those that should have done something to deal with the crisis and did not) could fall off the earth tomorrow and it would not mean a thing to me.
People in the Victim community (and by victim, I mean those who will not move forward but just sit wringing their hands waiting for someone else to save them) are mad at me because I dared to question the leadership of SNAP and their methods. (OK ,Bob from SNAP MN, you can start the hate mail again, I need a good laugh, you would not believe how bad I need to laugh at one of your ridiculous epistles.). Others are focused on reforming the Catholic Church. News Flash—- THAT IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!
I have read the hate mail, read the threats of legal action or bodily harm. I have been called delusional, deeply disturbed and crazy. Not only from those who zealously and blindly defend those in their church who have enabled pedophiles but from the lemmings in the victim community who support a national leadership that has proven to be nothing more than a self licking ice cream cone (keep those donations coming, folks). Catholics seem to be particularly adept at writing the kind of vitriol that can only serve to prove that they will punish or attack anyone who dares to questions their leadership failures.
The Catholic Church and other organizations that prey on the victim community for their livelihood are going to continue to try to maintain control and separation over survivors in order to either preserve treasure or create it. The only way forward is through the state legislatures and the courts. I would love to see the day when Federal prosecutors raid every diocese to get the files of the predators and expose the full extent of this crisis.
For years I have said that the only way to make the Catholic Church do the right thing (because as a religious entity, they are incapable of showing compassion, doing the moral thing, and following their own teachings) is to hold them to a legal standard that will punish them so severely and devastate their war chests so completely that they will have no choice than to do what is right and just.
Sad, isn’t it?
So for now, I will leave the light on here. The plug is not being pulled yet. I will check in on the blogs of my fellow survivors and I will support the effort to change the laws of this country to allow for harsh punishment for all sexual predators who prey on children and vulnerable adults. I will support and campaign for all legislation that allows for the prosecution of all those that had information on credible allegations and failed to report them (to include lots of jail time), I will support the stripping of non-profit tax benefits to any organized religion, let them pay into the communities that they are willing to destroy.
If given the opportunity, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or the States of New York or Florida, I will sue the Diocese of Scranton for the truth on Father Gibson and those that protected him and allowed him to prey on me and many more. (Note, I did not mention money, I want the truth)
For Gibson’s other victims, please contact me. Stay in touch. There is hope and power in numbers. Just please understand that I cannot solve all this with a blog. I am not the answer, I am just one survivor asking questions, seemingly in the dark.
None of this will ever be fixed while everyone sits on the sidelines. So what are you doing?
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!