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Opinion piece

Opinion Piece: Diocese’s logic flawed on abuse of children

Letter to the editor, published in The Dialog, April 5, 2007

Though undoubtedly well intentioned, the position of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington on Senate Bill 29, the Child Victim’s Act (March 22 editorial in The Dialog), is skewed by two fatal flaws in logic concerning the nature of sexual abuse of children. First, the diocese states that there “is a new understanding of the crime” without actually stating what that “new understanding” is. Maybe it’s just me, but did anyone ever think that sexual abuse of a child wasn’t a crime? Yes, we now know its prevalence, but was it somehow more acceptable 20 or 30 years ago? I think not. Second, the diocese states that when sexual abuse occurred decades ago it is difficult if not possible to prosecute because “witnesses are few and memory is strained by the passage of years.” As a licensed mental health counselor who has worked with many adults victimized by sexual predators, including Catholic priests, I can assure the diocese that the memories of ad ult survivors of sexual abuse are quite good concerning the details of events that happened decades ago, and that the courts in Delaware are also quite good at prosecuting criminal and civil cases with fairness. The diocese has nothing to worry about regarding the capacity to prosecute these cases. It is remarkable to me that a legalistic argument is the primary response of my diocese. Please support Senate Bill 29.”

James M. Walsh, PhD, LPCMH, Newark

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