N.Y. archbishop fights child abuse legislation

dolan

In a meeting with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Democrat, Cardinal Timothy Dolan stressed that he was resolutely opposed to the proposed Child Victims Act, which, he says, "unfairly" targets the Catholic Church.

"We feel that this is terribly unjust. It singles [out] the church and it would be, and I use the word purposefully, devastating for the life of the church," Dolan told reporters.

In actuality, the bill neither explicitly targets nor mentions the Catholic Church. However, due to the church's ongoing abuse scandals, the bill would likely cost Cardinal Dolan's diocese and others a good deal of money by making it easier for victims of pedophile priests to bring charges. The Catholic Church has been fighting to stem the losses of huge sums of money it has spent in litigation fees and payouts to victims as the ongoing abuse scandal continues to unfold in New York and around the world.

Dolan, who was made a cardinal by Pope Benedict the XVI in February, is, by virtue of leading the New York Archdiocese, perhaps the leading Catholic in America. He recently returned from a trip to the Vatican.

The act, which was introduced in the New York State Assembly and State Senate by Assembly member Margaret Markey and State Sen. Andrew Lanza respectively, would extend the statute of limitations on child abuse crimes by five years. Currently, victims can bring charges against their tormentors only before the victim has reached 23 years of age. The new bill would change the age to 28.

"There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unknown sex abusers of children living and working among us - in schools, churches, synagogues, youth groups and especially in families," notes the website pushing the act. "To find and pursue them, our legislators must change the New York State statute of limitations, as two special grand juries in New York have declared."

The bill's sponsors note that sexual abuse costs the state more than $1 billion yearly, and that allowing victims to seek compensation directly from their abusers would shift some of that debt from the state to the criminal.

More importantly, the sponsors say, more must be done to stem the tide of child abuse. Currently, more than one in five young people are sexually abused before they turn 18, and often their perpetrators go free. When California enacted a similar law, 300 pedophiles, who would have otherwise gone free, were brought to justice.

Photo: Creative Commons 3.0

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  • What has happened has already been "devastating for the life of the Church"! It would be far better to let out the poison that is still festering there, and take the bitter medicine that is doubtlless coming, because the Church has failed us, and everybody except the ecclesia already knows it.

    Posted by Mary Kathleen Kisiel, 06/12/2012 7:19am (3 years ago)

  • Ahahaha, they say they are unfairly targeted? And on purpose too?


    Have the Catholic Church fallen so low so as to be worried more about their money--excuse me, their wealth (for they are wealthy beyond doubt), rather than be branded as a refuge for chronic sexual offenders?

    Posted by ferofax, 05/16/2012 9:33pm (3 years ago)

  • Brought to you by the people that were part of the Roman Slave empire & that wrote women out of the gospels. They brought us the Crusades, the Inquisition, officially sanctioned & encouraged Anti-Semitism, the Witch Trials coupled with official violence/discrimination against women & the selling of "Admissions to Heaven." The church supported every right-wing dictatorship, worked with Nazis against the left & helped many of the worst Nazi criminals escape after the war. After centuries of Pedofilia & stealing of poor children in Britain/Ireland they now are against justice for their victims. Presently, these great "moral authorities" are allied with the extreme right in our nation, attacking gays, marriage equality and campaigning for laws taking away women's right to contraceptives and health care away from the rest of us.

    The real question is why do people still listen to what these moral hypocrites have to say?

    Posted by bruce bostick, 03/19/2012 5:35pm (3 years ago)

  • With this kind of political meddling by clergy, I think it's time to revoke the Catholic Church's tax exemptions. They are no longer a religious organization, but a SuperPAC.

    Posted by DR, 03/16/2012 1:57pm (3 years ago)

  • As an adult survivor of childhood abuse by a catholic priest my 63 years have taught me wisdom. There should be NO statute of limtation on the crime of sexual abuse of a child. What is done to the child is the equivilant of "soul murder". Abuse done by members of the clergy compound the damage by shredding the child's spiritual connection with God.
    Too bad if the churches have to pay out money for therapy which can take years and years. God is more interested in the well being body-mind-spirit of people than in fine fancy vestments, big biuldings and the embarassment of the clergy involed actively or passively.

    Posted by Karha Us, 03/15/2012 7:01pm (3 years ago)

  • To me it is a clear admission of their guilt. To think that this legislation targets them directly says it all. The Catholic church has a history of putting profit before people, at the very least from colonial times to the present. Its disgusting in my humble opinion.

    Posted by Motherforever, 03/15/2012 2:07pm (3 years ago)

  • I am a Catholic physician. I have met many who have been sexually abused by priests. There should be no statute of limitations on cases of child sexual abuse.

    So many victims of child sexual abuse have repressed their memories of the abuse, to the point that the abuse might not be recalled until the victim is in her or his 50s or even older. Child sexual abuse by a priest is even more likely to cause repressed memory, because of the shame of being abused by a priest, the representative of God on earth.

    Cardinal Dolan seems more interested in maintaining his power and control, than in caring about the psychological and spiritual needs of the victim/survivors, in my view, and that is not like Jesus would do.

    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago

    Posted by Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, 03/14/2012 9:54pm (3 years ago)

  • ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL THAT WOULD BACK WHAT THE RCC HIERARCHY HAS TO SAY REGARDING CIVIL LEGISLATION TO EMPOWER VICTIMS/SURVIVORS DOESN'T DESERVE THE VOTES OF THE MASSES! WE ARE ALL THE CHURCH AND THE RCC HIERARCHY HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT THEY SUPPORT ABUSE (RAPE, SUICIDE, ETC.) WITHIN THEIR ORGANIZATION, SO LONG AS, THEIR POWER AND RICHES ARE NOT AT RISK. THE MASSES SHOULD BE OUTRAGED OVER THIS AND STAND UP FOR WHAT IS JUST IN THE CHURCH THEY WANT!!! "Victims/Survivors unite"

    Annette Nestler (SNAP Southern New Jersey)
    856-451-2123
    609-247-2966

    Posted by Annette Nestler, 03/14/2012 8:38pm (3 years ago)

  • Cardinal Dolan,

    Please, may you and your fellow hierarchs stop whining!

    Your moral weight is shrinking everyday!

    Posted by RICHARD J. BEAUCHESNE, 03/14/2012 6:20pm (3 years ago)

  • Why is Gov. Cuomo meeting with dolan and not the Victims ? As dolan claims that the legislation would unfairly target the catholic church is a false statement. If anyone was in an unfair position it was the Victims. Shame on any politician who kowtow's to these religious leaders and their phony rhetoric !

    Posted by Arthur Baselice, 03/14/2012 7:40am (3 years ago)

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