The joint committee headed to its conference May 1.
In his column,
published in the Denver Catholic Register, the archbishop warned
against suing current Catholic communities for the crimes of the past.
effort of some lawmakers in the Colorado General Assembly to burden the
Catholic community with retroactive civil liability for past sexual
abuse cases is a textbook example of anger posing as ‘justice,’” wrote
“The people who
pay for these damaging lawsuits are … average, innocent Catholic
families who had nothing to do with the evil actions of some bad or
mentally ill abusers 25, 35 or 45 years ago,” he wrote.
“No one disputes
the need for tough laws against the sexual abuse of minors. And
everyone — both inside and beyond the Church — agrees that helping past
victims of childhood sexual abuse to heal is a serious and urgent
need,” he said. “But suing the innocent today for sins and crimes in
the past is not justice.”
Chaput explained that the Catholic bishops of Colorado endorsed the
earlier HB 1088, which abolished the criminal statute of limitations
regarding future cases of sexual abuse with minors because it was
revised according to the concerns of the community.
But HB 1090 is
another matter, he said. While HB1090 “passed out of the House this
spring with some modest improvements to its content,” said the
archbishop, “some key senators then essentially rewrote HB 1090 with
the worst punitive and prejudicial elements of Senate Bill 143, pushed
it through the Senate by a one-vote margin, and sent it back to the
added that all institutions — both public and private, Catholic and
secular — should face the same penalties, financial damages and
reporting standards for the society-wide crime of sexual abuse of a
Archbishop Charles Chaput is urging a joint House-Senate conference
committee to broker a “fair” and “reasonable” version of Colorado’s
House Bill 1090, which deals with civil liability in sexual abuse