St Rose Of Lima Catholic Church
In the state of New Jersey, sexual abuse victims only have two years from the time of their 18th birthday to file a claim of abuse. After that? The statute of limitations kick in and they are out of luck. Rob Tornoe from Newsworks in New Jersey has more in a June 12 OpEd:
Currently, the statute of limitations for a victim of child-abuse in the state isn't ten years or even five years. It's two years. If abuse victims don't come forward within two years of their 18th birthday, they're out of luck, which puts us way out of step with neighboring states. In New York, victims have until they turn 23 to file suit. In Pennsylvania and Connecticut, they have until they're 30. Delaware doesn't even have a limit.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-19th) wants to do something about that. He is sponsoring legislation that would extend the window for statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims to 30 years.

Great! State Sen. Joseph Vitale is trying to change the law. And you would think, given the heinous crime, he'd have a lot of support. But, one organization is quietly spending big money to keep the law from passing:
"Protect the child molesters" doesn't appear anywhere in the Bible that I know of, but the New Jersey Catholic Conference seems to be acting like it does, hiring the most expensive and powerful lobbying firm in Trenton, Princeton Public Affairs, to fight against Vitale's bill.

This isn't a New Jersey-specific issue. The Catholic Church has been active in pushing back proposals that lengthen the time allowed for victims of alleged abuse to come forward. And in addition to New Jersey, high-priced lobbyists have been hired in Colorado and New York to fight similar attempts.

And they didn't hire any ol' lobbying firm, they went with the well-known Princeton Public Affairs Group:
Dale Florio, the firm’s founder, is the consummate Trenton insider to whom, for example, the Orthodox rabbis in Lakewood turned when they wanted to get their yeshiva a chunk of the state’s higher education grants.

Patrick Brannigan, executive director of the Catholic Conference who is a registered lobbyist, said it was the first time the organization had hired an outside lobbyist in his seven years there, although he wasn’t sure if it had done so earlier.

Brannigan said the firm would be dedicated to all the group’s causes, not just opposing those two bills.

Why would they fight these laws? From the New York Times:
The Catholic Church has successfully beaten back such proposals in many states, arguing that it is difficult to get reliable evidence when decades have passed and that the changes seem more aimed at bankrupting the church than easing the pain of victims.
Ahhh, it's about money. Forget about justice for the victims of yesteryear. Forget about protecting children from future abuse. This is about preserving their fortune, even at the expense of sexual abuse victims.

Originally posted to Scout Finch on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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