Bishops, Lawmakers Must Do More To Help Victims Of Church Sex Abuse
Let me get this straight. The President Pro Tem of the Pennsylvania Senate directs the Catholic Church to remove predator priests, provide restitution to victims and establish a victim compensation fund “this year,” administered by a neutral third party. Then the bishop of Erie endorses state Sen. Joseph Scarnati’s proposal noting that “We are days away from a short election-season session for the state legislature” and directs his lawyers to “collaborate with the Pennsylvania Legislature” to put together said fund. And, while both Scarnati and the bishop decry the pain and suffering of victims, they agree that a retroactive two-year window to access justice for those victims, would lead to “protracted legal wrangling over the constitutionality of a retroactive change” to statute of limitation laws. Wait a minute. In whose interests are they acting and in what capacity? Why do these interchangeable representatives of the religious and secular worlds insist on protecting pedophiles and their enablers at the expense of victims? Can they not comprehend that when predators harmed children, they violated the law and therefore subjected themselves to liability? Why should those victims, now adults who took years to reconcile their trauma, be subject to arbitrary deadlines? They were kids … not products and services. Do the Senate leaders and the bishops not appreciate that these restitution programs only benefit Catholic victims? What about all the others victims? Do these entities, in obvious collusion with one another, not understand that the true path to justice is through the courts, so that these criminals and those who cover up for them, can be identified and held accountable? Why, in God’s name, would the bishops spend one more dime litigating against a remedy for the thousands whose lives have been ruined under their watch? And why on earth, are Sens. Joe Scarnati and Jake Corman hell-bent on carrying the water for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference at this point? When all else fails, the bishops resort to victim compensation funds and legislative leaders claim unconstitutionality. I call BS on both. Bishops: Stop with the lawyers and lobbyists. Put your congregates’ money where it is most needed, in service to the vulnerable among us. Lawmakers: No more excuses. No more delays. No more political gamesmanship. Do your jobs and pass the window this session. The world is watching. STATE REP. MARK ROZZI, D-Berks, represents the 126th Legislative District in Pennsylvania and testified before a grand jury about his own experience being abused by a priest.