CHINO, Calif., July 17, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former White House spokesman Robert Weiner and Katie Schulze, Robert Weiner Associates' Senior Religion Policy Analyst, have spotlighted a California Senate-passed bill that "could become a national model law" to extend the time youth can sue the Church for sex abuse. They wrote an op-ed titled, "Sen. Leyva's (D-Chino) bill would protect child victims of sex abuse" published in The Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino County Sun and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. The article supports the Justice for Victims Act, which would allow child victims of sexual assault to press criminal charges against their perpetrator later in life when they are mature and have the courage to do so. The authors contend that the bill would help end the "Catholic Church's ongoing cover-up of sexual abuse" and urge Assembly passage and Governor Jerry Brown's signature.
Weiner and Schulze say that Senator Connie M. Leyva's (D-Chino) bill, SB 813, has already passed the State Senate and is on track towards becoming law. They urge legislators to prioritize this "important" bill to ensure it "maintains its momentum and is passed by the Assembly in August before its adjournment for the year."
They go on to explain that despite the admirable bill, the "Catholic Church has lobbied extensively to block extension of the statute of limitations and to ensure the perpetrator is able to go unscathed." Senator Leyva is cited explaining how her bill "would simply offer victims additional time to come to terms with the horrible crime committed against them."
The authors criticize Governor Jerry Brown for vetoing a similar piece of legislation in 2013: The Child Victim's Act. They state "The Catholic Conference, which lobbies on behalf of the Catholic Church, has spent over $2 million on lobbying efforts to kill various versions of a similar Child Victims Act in New York's Legislature this past decade. If the Justice for Victims Act becomes law, court costs would be 'devastating for the life of the church,' stated Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic Church's archbishop of New York."
Weiner and Schulze point out that "Although the Catholic Church rakes in $170 billion annually just in America, it always seems to claim bankruptcy to avoid paying for its child sex abuse. In fact, six Catholic dioceses have declared bankruptcy in the last two decades. This has allowed the institution to avoid paying a large chunk of the billion dollars in legal fees and settlements it has owed, denying justice to at least 1,835 victims who have accused clergymen of sexual assault."
They conclude with a call to action: "Now that the state Senate has stepped up, it's time for the Assembly and Gov. Brown to do likewise."
Robert Weiner was a White House spokesman, a spokesman for the Government House Operations Committee, and a senior staff member for Reps. John Conyers, Charles Rangel, Ed Koch, Claude Pepper and Sen. Ted Kennedy. Katie Schulze is senior religion policy analyst for Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change.
LINK to The Press-Enterprise: http://www.pe.com/articles/victims-808329-catholic-church.html
LINK to San Bernardino County Sun article: http://www.sbsun.com/opinion/20160714/sen-leyvas-bill-would-protect-child-victims-of-sex-abuse-guest-commentary
LINK to Inland Valley Daily Bulletin article: http://www.dailybulletin.com/opinion/20160714/sen-leyvas-bill-would-protect-child-victims-of-sex-abuse-guest-commentary
Contact: Bob Weiner 301-283-0821 / 202-306-1200 [email protected]
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates; Solutions for Change