The sexual abuse investigation: Some much-needed light
An expanding state grand jury investigation into sexual abuse by priests in dioceses throughout Pennsylvania is an encouraging step toward bringing closure to the horrific scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church for years.
There’s new hope in the cooperation by all involved: law enforcement, legislators and the church, which after decades of sheltering abusers now appears to be on board in the clarion call for justice.
But state legislators, refusing to extend the statute of limitations on such crimes, are failing that mission. Experts say the ever-brighter light of the grand jury probe could be the pressure needed to bring them into the fold. “The more there is public information about the abuse in a valued institution, the more likely it is that the Legislature will actually do something to protect our children,” Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA, told the Tribune-Review.
A bill that passed the state House 185-14 before dying in the Senate focused on extending the statute of limitations for civil and criminal actions by clergy. It should be resurrected and passed — with amendments that extend the action to all child abuse cases.
Helping these victims should not be predicated on the place — be it a church, school or day care center — where the abuse took place. The time is ripe for action — and justice — on behalf all victims of sexual abuse.