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Opinion piece

Opinion Piece: Diocese, like St. Peter, has denied victims three times

Letter to the editor, published in The News Journal, April 3, 2007

Senate Bill 29, the Child Victim’s Voice Act, repeals the statute of limitations in civil suits relating to child sexual-abuse cases and provides a two-year window in which victims can bring a civil action against their predator.

Victims of horrific child sexual abuse presented riveting testimony. Attorneys representing the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington presented conflicting testimony before the senators while trying to discourage passage of SB29.

The hearing was followed by an editorial, which appeared in a weekly diocesan publication. The diocesan editorial stated that extending the current statute of limitations for civil suits relating to child sexual abuse is the right thing to do, but SB29 should be amended.

It is apparent that, as St. Peter denied Christ, the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington denied victims of sexual abuse three times:

1. When victims notified the diocese of the crimes, the hierarchy transferred predators to another parish.

2. When victims attempted to communicate with the diocese, records of the predators were sealed.

3. When victims tried to have the statute of limitations removed so they could face their predators in court, the diocese fought any change in the laws regarding child sexual abuse.

Stephanie Town, Landenberg, Pa.

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