Letter to the Editor published in Commonweal Magazine on May 18, 2007
My stomach turned as I read the title of Mark A. Sargent’s article, “Vengence Time: When Abuse Victims Squander Their Moral Authority” (April 20). Since 2002, when I first became involved in supporting men and women who were victims of clergy abuse,I have been appalled, ashamed, embarrassed, and angered by the actions of U.S. bishops.
I have testified before the Delaware Senate Committee in support of a “look-back window” that would extend the statute of limitations and allow lawsuits involving victims who were abuse as children many ears ago. It will force institutions to make public the records of predators who were known, protected, and enabled in their crimes.
Look-back window legislation seeks to correct one of the many legal loopholes exploited by church official, their lawyers, and their insurance carriers over the past fifty years in order to shield and protect priests who were known abusers.
Until church leaders admit to having allowed sexually abusive priests to continue in their perfidy long after their crimes were known by church authorities, it will be difficult if not impossible to reestablish both the institution’s credibility and their own. And until then, reconciliation and healing will not happen.
Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, New Castle