According to the
Washington Post, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington and Cardinal
William Keeler of the Baltimore archdiocese have expressed opposition
to the bills to House Judiciary Committee members directly and through
have hired prominent lobbying firm Schwartz & Metz to supplement
the efforts of the Maryland Catholic Conference. They are calling and
meeting with legislators and committee members about the bill, whose
main sponsor is Del. Pauline Menes (D-Prince George's).
Maryland law, lawsuits by childhood abuse victims can be filed until
the victim is 25. The two bills would allow victims file until they are
42 and open a two-year window during which victims of any age could sue.
the bills are needed because victims typically do not report the abuse
until they are in their thirties or forties. Church officials however,
argue it would be hard for defendants to present an adequate defense
decades after an alleged incident.
are currently being battled in dioceses across the U.S., including
Denver, where a prominent campaign raised heated tempers over a bill
that many called “blatantly anti-Catholic.”
Archbishop Charles Chaput has argued that as important as justice for
sexual abuse victims is, many of the proposed laws unfairly target the
Catholic Church, leaving other known violators—like public schools,
which are protected by federal statutes—all but untouched.
Federal law protects many public institutions from abuse cases from being brought more than 181 days after the alleged event.
With regard to
the Colorado bills, Archbishop Chaput has said that some “legislators
seem determined to be harsh when it comes to Catholic and other private
institutions, and much softer when it comes to their own public
institutions, including public schools. And it will be families,
including Catholic families, who suffer.”
officials around the U.S. capitol are opposing two bills that would
extend the time allowed for victims of child sex abuse to file lawsuits
against abusers and their employers. The bills seem to be part of a
nationwide trend, which many experts say threatens undermine and
scapegoat the Catholic Church for a larger and far more widespread