DC Child Protection Response to Opposition
Survivors Network of those Abused By Priests
.Windows Protect Kids.
Response to Opposition
Introduction: The opposition will claim the sky will fall if this bill passes. It’s nonsense. When church officials predict dire consequences, make them show you proof. Here’s the bottom line: you have to choose between actual harm to kids now, and potential harm to adults later. California adopted this window in 2003. It worked there. It will work anywhere. Delaware adopted the window in July of 2007 and it is already beginning to be a success.
You may hear: ‘we want to protect children but a “window” just isn't the right way to do it.’.
In California, more than 300 predators were exposed as a result of the window. Thousands of pages of previously hidden documents have been exposed containing information how much supervisors knew and how little they did to protect the kids.
You may hear Catholic officials boast about the numbers of volunteers and employees who have had back ground checks and been educated about child sexual abuse. But that is merely good business. Every institution that serves children does this and most started doing so decades ago..
You may hear ‘why make institutions pay today for something that happened decades ago.’ The answer is simple: because wrong-doing has consequences. And if there are no consequences, wrongdoing continues..
You may hear ‘Catholics today shouldn’t have to pay for past mistakes.’ But the truth is that they already have, long ago. For decades Catholics have unknowingly paid for defense lawyers and public relations firms and secret settlements and for tons of insurance policies to cover abuse. They have also paid with innocence of their sons and daughters..
You may hear ‘other interest groups will want some kind of retroactive window.’ Again, look at California. It hasn’t happened there..
You may hear, “how can a dead accused molester defend himself?” He doesn't have to. The burden is on the victims to prove the cases. The victims aren’t asking to reduce the burden of proof necessary or to waive rules of evidence. They are merely asking for more time. Mental health professionals make clear that children aren’t able to report until well into adulthood. We are ask that the law match current psychological understanding and give time to the child victims..
You may hear ‘focus on the individual predators, not the employers.’ The answer is simple: because police go after BOTH the low level street corner dealer AND the big supplier or king pin. Pursuing those who hire and shield predators will deter others from similar recklessness. Most predators have access to more children when employers and supervisors are reckless leave predators in positions of power and/or authority over children. Those who enable the crimes are just as guilty as those who commit the acts..
You may hear ‘how will non-profits be able to get insurance?” Again, look at California. No one has offered a shred of evidence suggesting that non-profits in California have experienced any financial burden as a result
You may hear ‘this will break the church.' Again, there is no evidence that it happened in California or will anywhere else. None. Challenge church officials to come clean with their finances, evaluated by a third party, to prove their financial claims. They won’t do it. (In San Diego where a Judge ordered a third-party evaluation of church finances they found large numbers of discrepancies and faulty bookkeeping establishing that there was no financial burden to provide for the victims.).
You may hear the church will be forced to cut back on their social and charitable services. But please remember that almost 90% of the funding for those services comes from the government and taxpayers..
You may hear about Ohio’s civil registry. The Attorney General there has publicly called it “a sham.” That bill passed in 2005 and there is not one molester on that list. Kids there are no safer..
You may hear that this unfairly targets private institutions and that kids abused in public schools and institutions won’t have the same rights as those abused in the private sector. It just not true.
Finally, you may hear ‘let’s protect kids but the window isn’t the right way.’ I challenge you: try to find something better. But kids need protection now. So for now, let's go with what we know works.
. Barbara Barbara Blaine, SNAP President, 312 399 4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com
David Clohessy, SNAP National Director, 314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com