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Since my last post, I have spoken briefly with an investigator. I am looking forward to a more in-depth interview with him. He initially offered to meet me here in Virginia until he realized that I was much further south than he expected. Contact has been made. He seems to be working a very large case load for the Diocese of Scranton, which is not surprising at all because the bishops there were protecting a number of predator priests.
I will let you know when a more detailed interview is conducted and I will pass any information that is made available to me.
If you share an experience similar to my own within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I urge you to contact the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-888-538-8541 .
The following is the content of an email I received yesterday from the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA):
Over the many months of the current PA Legislature’s session our team has continued to monitor for legislative efforts that will protect children from sexual predators and provide some measure of justice for CSA victims. Most recently there were several pieces of legislation signed into law by Gov. Corbett including the following changes:
- Designated state licensing boards will now be required to provide training on child abuse recognition and reporting.
- New provisions clarify who is mandated to report child abuse and the reporting process they must follow to report suspected abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
- Employees will now be protected from discrimination in the workplace as a result of reporting suspected abuse.
- Penalties will increase for those required to report supposed abuse but fail to do so.
Additionally a bill providing for stable funding of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in PA was also signed by Gov. Corbett. CACs are multidisciplinary treatment programs for abused children, which brings together doctors, nurses, prosecutors, social workers and law enforcement. This approach gives abused children the best chance to recover and also provides the most effective way to gather evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. There are currently 21 CACs in PA.
However, although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
One champion for this much needed legislation is Rep. Mark Rozzi. Rep. Rozzi represents part of Berks County. He and some childhood friends were victims of CSA. Rep. Rozzi has introduced several pieces of legislation to help protect children and promote justice for victims.
- You are Invited!
Please join us in Harrisburg on Wednesday April 30th to support Rep. Mark Rozzi’s HB 2067 and after the press conference join one of our teams who will be meeting with key legislators to ask for their support of this important legislation.
PRESS CONFERENCE INFO:
Rep. Mark Rozzi Press Conference on HB 2067
WHEN: Wed. April 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Capitol Media Center, Room 1 East Wing of Capitol, Harrisburg, PA
MEETING WITH LEGISLATORS:
If you are interested in joining one of our teams who will be meeting with legislators after the press conference, please contact Tammy Lerner at 610-509-9568 or email her at email@example.com to sign on. You will need to arrive at our legislative team’s office across from the Capitol Building in Harrisburg no later than 9:00 AM to review plans for the day.
MORE INFO RE: HB 2067:
HB 2067 does several things:
- Going forward, it permanently eliminates the SOL for child sex abuse, both criminally (now to age 50) and civilly (now to age 30)
- As a compromise, it does allow for previously time-barred victims (up to age 50) to bring suit.
- If the perpetrator was employed by a public or private entity that owed a duty of care for the victim, damages against the entity may be awarded with a finding of “gross negligence”.
- Add “child sex abuse” as an exception to immunity laws thereby removing the “sovereign immunity” defense for public officials and institutions.
Why this legislation is important:
- Victims deserve their day in court.
- It takes courage (and often decades) for children to acknowledge abuse.
- Perpetrators and responsible entities have not been held accountable.
- Perpetrators are still involved with children.
- Perpetrators have been deliberately shielded from prosecution.
- The SOL laws are arbitrary and archaic.
- Only lawmakers have the power to enact laws to protect the public.
- Although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
- HB 2067 is sound public policy.
Below is part of an e-mail Rep. Rozzi recently sent to his colleagues to encourage them to support HB 2067:
“Once again I am appealing to the sense of civic responsibility that leads every one of us to seek public office. As legislators, we have an obligation to institute laws that safeguard our citizens… especially those who cannot protect themselves.
“We read how venerable institutions, insulated by outdated laws, have not only allowed the victimization of children….but have exposed countless others to the horrors of sexual abuse. The problem will NEVER GO AWAY as long as perpetrators are shielded. Witness Sandusky, the Boy Scouts, any religious organization, and any school system…public or private.
“We have learned that victims of child sex abuse often take decades to acknowledge their demons and that they rarely make false claims. We know that perpetrators can’t stop abusing. But if we can give survivors of child sex abuse the opportunity to expose predators through accessing records to support their claims, without the constraints of arbitrary statutes of limitations, than this will go a long way to stop the abuse of the next generation of children.
“I implore you to co-sponsor my legislation, House Bill 2067 and call upon the Chairmen of the Judiciary Committee to at least hold a meeting on the merits of the measure. On behalf of all victims of child sexual abuse, I thank you in advance for your consideration and support.”FACSA 740 Cornerstone Lane Bryn Mawr, Pa 19010
Passed along from a friend in PA:
Justice4pakids-5k Run/Walk & 1 Mile Kid Run
On May 4th, 2013 8am come out and run or walk the beautiful Chester Valley Trail located near Exton, PA. Punch into your GPS 140 Church Farm Lane Exton, PA as this is our starting point! There is plenty of parking, public restrooms and a playground!
Register today at:
The race is being managed by the Chester County Running Company .
The cause is for Justice4pakids, a non-profit working for better laws in our state for sexually abused victims. We want to raise money to do more child safety awareness seminars that are free and open to the public. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before age 18 and we want those numbers to change!
We have lots of great items for every child who participates such as free bowling passes, free cones from Dairy Queen, coupons for Rita’s Water Ice, free passes for Bounce U and each child gets a medal! The prize wheel will raffle off a Wegman’s gift card, 6 passes for QVC Studio behind the scenes tour, one free day of doggie care at Wagsworth Manor and much more. People are sending in prizes every day!
Every runner gets a T-shirt. The race is a timed event and winners in age categories will be presented with a medal!
Free pizza and refreshments from Seasons Pizza for all!
Please sign up online or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions!
There is a fight going on in the State Assembly in Harrisburg. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Ron Marsico is opposed to Window Legislation that would allow a window to open for civil cases to be brought against pedophiles and other sexual predators who have committed crimes against children and vulnerable adults. Marsico is a Catholic, so it is logical that he would like to protect his church. Well, not really logical, perhaps it is understandable that he would bow to pressure from his church.
But I am thinking that there may be a more personal reason here. A priest by the name of Guy Marsico was credibly accused of abusing a child and removed from ministry in the Harrisburg area. Is it possible that Representative Ron Marsico is protecting a family member who would stand to face civil action if a window was opened? This may not be political. It could be very personal, family business. I wonder what, if any, the familial relationship is between the House Judiciary Chairman in Harrisburg and the former priest assigned to St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Rohrerstown?
That would be a fairly huge conflict of interest and a slap at survivor’s of sexual abuse as children if it turns out that the peoples’ representative is putting the interests of a predator family member ahead of the protection of children and justice for victims of prior abuse. I would love to know the answer!
House Bill 342 needs to get an up or down vote on the floor of the Pennsylvania State Assembly.
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.
This is from Philly Inquirer Sunday June 24 page c-4 OPINION PAGE
Outside their own circles, they’re mostly unknown — and certainly not referred to as Victim No. … But other child sex-abuse victims across Pennsylvania are just as entitled to justice as those whose accusations were heard in the sensational trials of a former college football coach and a high-ranking Catholic Church official.
Many of the other victims have also suffered in silence for decades, often unable to admit to themselves the horror of being abused as a child or teen. And if they did decide to come forward, it would likely be too late under the state’s criminal and civil statutes.
These other victims waited even as separate juries wrestled with the charges against former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, whose alleged victims now include an adopted son, and Archdiocese of Philadelphia Msgr. William Lynn — who on Friday became the first U.S. church official convicted in a child sex-abuse case.
Sandusky was found guilty late Friday on 45 counts of child sex abuse. Lynn was found guilty earlier on one count of child endangerment and acquitted on two other charges. The jury deadlocked on two child-abuse counts against the Rev. James J. Brennan.
For victims in yet unknown cases to get their day in court, Harrisburg lawmakers and Gov. Corbett must push aside special interests, including the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the insurance lobby, and carve a path to the courthouse.
A proposal from State Rep. Michael McGeehan (D., Phila.) would do just that, by opening a two-year window for long-ago victims to file civil suits that would allow victims to expose both the accused and those who shielded them.
For more than a year, McGeehan’s bill — and a related proposal to remove abuse-case statutes of limitation, sponsored by State Rep. Louise Williams Bishop (D., Phila.), who was also a childhood abuse victim — went nowhere in the face of determined church opposition.
Wednesday, however, in a sign that lawmakers finally felt the weight of publicity from the two trials, the House Judiciary Committee approved a modified measure crafted by the panel’s chairman, State Rep. Ron Marsico (R., Dauphin). That bill would eliminate statutes of limitation on future criminal prosecutions in child-sexual-assault cases and give victims until age 50 to lodge civil claims.
But Marsico’s measure still does nothing to help long-ago victims.
Apart from the verdicts, the Lynn and Sandusky cases amply demonstrated the need to loosen the statutes, to tighten reporting of abuse claims, and, most important, to provide justice to victims whose predators were shielded by institutional cover-ups.
In pursuit of Lynn’s conviction for child endangerment, prosecutors offered compelling proof that, as the city’s former top prosecutor, Lynne M. Abraham, said, “the cover-up went all the way to the top,” including then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
At Penn State, two top officials face criminal charges that they helped cover up child-molestation allegations about Sandusky. Appallingly, even former university president Graham B. Spanier failed to alert authorities.
Now, more than ever, it’s time to stand with all abuse victims.
If you live in Pennsylvania, and I know a lot of the readers of this blog live in the Keystone State, it has been an interesting few weeks! But now is not the time to sit back and declare victory. We are a long way from that day!
I received a note from Maureen Martinez at justice4pakids calling for people to contact the Rules Chair in Harrisburg to keep the legislation that was crowbarred out of the hands of the Judiciary committee moving to the floor of the State Assembly for a vote.
The content of her email is as follows:
Two verdicts and the bills moved from Judiciary to Rules Committee—what a week it was last week! THIS WEEK IS CRUCIAL!!!!
CALL TO ACTION RIGHT NOW!!! Call to Rules Chair Rep. Turzai to call up 832, 878 and the new bill 2488 for a committee vote. The legislature is only in session THIS WEEK until June 29–then they break for the entire summer. Call Rep. Turzai: (717) 772-9943 or email him at: email@example.com
This is what you can say in an email:
Dear Rep. Turzai- Time is of the essence. Please call up bills 878 and 832 and 2488 (now residing in your committee as of June 20) for a committee vote. The children of PA thank you!
Why are you still reading this, if you live in PA you have an email to write or a phone call to make. Go on, you have things to do!
During the 2007 session of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, 3 lawmakers sponsored and many others added their names as co-sponsors to legislation to modify or eliminate statutes of limitation for criminal and civil actions in Pennsylvania. These pieces of legislation, if approved, would have opened a window for victims of sexual abuse by serial pedophiles to seek justice and get to the truth about the full extent of the criminal activities of these predators and the people and organizations that protect them.
The first bill was Senate Bill 326 sponsored by Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr. of Senate District 44 (parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties). That bill sought to allow anyone who was victim of a crime before they reached the age of 14 may commence a civil action at any time during their life.
Senate Bill 553, sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola of Senate District 18 (Parts of Monroe, Lehigh and Northampton Counties), expanded criminal statutes of limitations on certain crimes. Of note is the provision for prosecution of “Any sexual offense committee against a minor less than 18 years of age any time up to the later of the period of limitation provided by law after the minor has reached 18 years of age or the date the minor 50 years of age.”
The final bill was House Bill 1574 sponsored by Representative Douglas G. Reichley of House District 134 (parts of Berks and Lehigh Counties). This legislation can be called “Window” Legislation. Similar to laws passed in California and Delaware, this bill would have allowed a victim of childhood sexual abuse to commence a civil action, even if the statute of limitations had expired. This legislation allows a period of one year for those actions to be brought to a Pennsylvania Court from a date delineated in the legislation.
The three bills were sent to their respective Judiciary Committees where they were put on hold by the chairmen of those committees. The legislation never made it to the floor of either the Senate or the House in Harrisburg because special interests decided that victims of sexual abuse did not deserve to have the protection of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and that serial pedophiles and organizations that have a history of protecting them should be protected.
The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone of House District 127 (part of Berks County) is reported to have said that victims are just looking to get a quick buck in a settlement. He effectively killed the bill before him because he thinks that victims are greedy. I wonder if he has met with or answered correspondence from victims seeking the truth and some justice. I know he did not respond to an email I sent to his office asking for an explanation on why the bill before his committee did not get an up or down vote. I guess I could speculate that lobbyists for the Catholic Church and Insurance companies got to him. Perhaps he doesn’t mind that the intended or unintended consequence of his decision puts him in a position to support pedophiles and their protectors. One could speculate on his personal motives and interests just as he has speculated on those of victims. Get creative and let me know what you think motivates him.
As for the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf of Senate District 12, I would like to know why legislation died in his committee. I will be looking into that. If you are his constituent, why don’t you ask him. I would be fascinated to hear the logic involved.
I would be able to deal with a vote by the entire Assembly that defeats such legislation. I have great respect for the process when the process allows for a vote. But for one man to be able to kill the legislation, perhaps with a wink and a nod to the Bishops of Pennsylvania, is unacceptable and may be an act of cowardice. Constituents of the 127th House District and the 12th Senate must be so proud!
These bills died with the end of the 2007-2008 legislative session but they could be re-introduced for the 2009-2010 session. I spoke to the offices for the primary sponsors for these three bills and there was hope that these 3 courageous lawmakers would reintroduce the bills for consideration in the 2009-2010 legislative sessions.
If you live in Pennsylvania or you have an interest in justice, contact your Senator and Representative and tell them you support legislation that allow victims of serial pedophiles to seek redress for grievances in the criminal and civil courts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
If you don’t know who your representative or senator may be in Pennsylvania, you can find out by going to the website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly.