A new report reveals that, over the past eight years, the Catholic Church has spent $10.6 million in the United States to block legislation that would help victims of sexual abuse seek justice.
Attorney Gerald Williams, a partner at the law firm that commissioned the report said:
“We represent hundreds of people, who have truly been victimized by clergymen in the Catholic Church. We’ve heard a lot about the church’s desire to be accountable and turn over a new leaf. But when we turn to the form where we can most help people and where we can get the most justice — the courts of justice — the church has been there blocking their efforts.”
The Catholic Church has spent millions lobbying against the Child Victims Act, which Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law on February 14, 2019. The act allows the survivors of sexual abuse more time to seek justice against their abusers. The act increases the age at which victims are able to sue, rising from 23 to 55.
Notable areas that the church invested heavily on trying to repel the act were New York and Pennsylvania. In New York, they spent $2,912,772 and in Pennsylvania — where a 2018 grand jury report documented evidence of more than 300 priests accused of sexually abusing over 1,000 children — the Church spent $5,322,979 trying to keep restrictions in place limiting how victims can seek to prosecute their abusers.
This damaging report goes directly against a recent public statement by the Church, vowing to take accountability.
In August 2018, Pope Francis said in a letter,
“The pain of the victims and their families is also our pain, and so it is urgent that we once more reaffirm our commitment to ensure the protection of minors and of vulnerable adults.”
The report is called, “CHURCH INFLUENCING STATE: How the Catholic Church Spent Millions Against Survivors of Clergy Abuse,”
It concludes that the Catholic Church’s investments in lobbyists in these ares have actually increased year upon year, signifying a systematic problem.
What’s worse is that data from the report reveals that it’s “likely” that at least some of the money used by the Church came from Sunday collection plates.
The church failed to give an official statement however CBS News reports that Al Gnoza, the communications director for the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, said:
“We have not reviewed the report. For more than a half century, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has lobbied on a myriad of issues that are important to people of the Catholic faith. We do not have a breakdown of costs, but our lobbying budget funds this broad effort.”
Each and every amendment detailed in the report would benefit all victims of child sex abuse, not just those that are abused at the hands of the Church.
By now, the Catholic Church has spent $10 million in fighting the loosening of limitations for victims to sue their abusers. I for one find this completely disturbing…
Watch the Daily News report below: