We represent the Metro NY chapter of Call To Action, a Catholic organization of lay persons which addresses issues of justice within our church and in our communities. We are joined today by members of the Upstate chapters of Call To Action.
We are here to support Assemblywoman Marge Markey’s bill, the Child Victims Act, A1771 and S3809.
Some individuals in our church have harmed vulnerable, powerless children and minors, and the consequences of that remain today as a deep wound that needs to be opened up to be healed. Healing will not take place without transparency and honesty. The institutional church must deal with the horrible pattern of cover-up, and if there is one thing that in these recent years has dismayed Catholics and driven some of them to leave the church altogether, it is the issue of cover-up. Had there been no cover-up in the past, we wouldn’t be here today.
The documents released by court orders in the Los Angeles diocese, show without a doubt that there has been a pattern of cover-up in our church. We’re here to say it’s time to clear the air, to acknowledge the sins of offense, of concealment and cover-up and allow victims who were shut out of carrying their claims forward by unrealistic statutes of limitations to have a sense of justice and of closure.
Some think that the Child Victims Act is anti-church. We’re here to say it is anti-abuse of children, and FOR the protection of children, and that the protection of children should be the first priority of our church. This bill would cover all private institutions, not just religious, including those of other faiths, clubs for kids, prep schools, sports clubs etc. As we have seen from recent cases at Horace Mann, Poly Prep, University of Pennsylvania and the Boy Scouts, and the church cases in Philadelphia, Boston, Delaware, and Los Angeles, the CVA is desperately needed.
Our Love for the church impels us, as Catholics, to ask that the statutes of limitations be eliminated for both civil and criminal cases going forward, and that a significant window be opened for civil cases for past victims. Why? So that abusers still cloaked in secrecy and cover-up will be identified and children today can be better protected because that secrecy and cover-up will not be tolerated.
A new poll by the Pew Forum shows that Catholics stand with survivors and want our new Pope Francis to address the sex abuse crisis as his top priority. We in New York agree, and think that it should be addressed right here in our state. PASSING THE MARKEY BILL WILL BE A STEP TOWARDS THAT.
CTA Metro NY and Upstate NY members with Assemblywoman Marge Markey, far left. L.to .R.: Assemblywoman Markey, Steve Powers, Margaret Meehan, Nancy Lorence, Prof. Hamilton, Cecilia Springer, Nita Powers, Bob Corliss.