Comments Off on Catholic League urges veto of ‘discriminatory’ Calif. abuse bill
Sacramento, Calif., Sep 11, 2013 / 02:01 am (CNA/EWTN News).- California Gov. Jerry Brown should veto an abuse lawsuit bill that is “flagrantly discriminatory” and “targeted at the Catholic Church,” says Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
“Going after the Catholic schools today for cases of abuse that took place decades ago, while exempting the public schools – at a time when there is a serious problem with the sexual molestation of minors in the public schools – is irrational, discriminatory and grossly unjust,” the Catholic League president said in a Sept. 10 letter to Gov. Brown.
His comments come in response to S.B. 131, a bill now headed to the governor’s desk that would lift the statute of limitations on abuse lawsuits only for private institutions, but not for public schools.
Donohue said the bill is “indefensible” because under its provisions “no one who was abused in public schools before 2009 can sue the teacher, the school, or the school district, but if someone was abused in a Catholic school when JFK was president, he can sue the teacher (if he is alive), the school, and the diocese.”
Last Friday, the state senate passed the bill by a vote of 21-8. Gov. Brown has until Oct. 13 to sign the bill into law or veto it.
The legislation would lift the statute of limitations on child sex abuse lawsuits against private schools and private employers who failed to take action against sexual abuse by employees or volunteers. It would allow alleged victims younger than 31 to sue employers of abusers, extending present age limit for alleged victims presently set at 26 years-old.
However, the bill specifically exempts public schools and other government institutions from lawsuits. It also exempts the actual perpetrators of the abuse from civil action in some cases, while leaving their employers vulnerable.
“Does anyone doubt that a bill that applied only to the public schools, exempting all private ones, would be roundly condemned? So should this bill,” said Donohue.
He rejected claims that contemporary Catholic institutions are “rife with sexual abuse,” citing data from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice saying that most clergy sex abuse took place between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s.
Donohue said that about 90 percent of California children attend public schools, where thousands of cases of sexual abuse are alleged each year. The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing says action is taken …read more