Rewards Sought on Clergy Sex Abuse
By Jeremiah Marquez
Associated Press, carried in Boston Globe [Los Angeles CA]
July 7, 2003
LOS ANGELES -- A victims' advocacy group called on California's 12 bishops yesterday to offer rewards for information about Roman Catholic priests who commit sexual abuse.
The rewards would signal the church's commitment to stopping child sex abuse after last week's US Supreme Court ruling that could result in the dismissal of hundreds of California molestation cases, said David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.
The proposal, detailed in a letter to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the archbishop of Los Angeles, asks church leaders to help establish a fund supporting payments for information that leads to the successful conviction of priests who have abused children.
"Many times other church employees, both clerical and lay people, have suspicions or evidence that . . . can help win convictions," Clohessy said. "But people need to be invited and prodded and rewarded for coming forward."
Additional details such as who would operate the fund were undetermined, and the group views the proposal only as a rough outline. The group said the fund could provide a blueprint for other states.
Tod Tamberg, spokesman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said the church's mandatory reporting rules were sufficient and that seeking out witnesses and evidence was the job of law enforcement, not the church.
"I think this is an attempt to obscure the very real progress that the church has made to protect children," Tamberg said.
Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the city's district attorney, said she had yet to see the proposal and had no immediate comment.
The Supreme Court's June 26 ruling voided a California law that extended the statute of limitations on expired molestation cases when charges were filed within a year of the alleged crime's reporting.
Prosecutors have said that hundreds of cases brought under the law could be dropped.
This story ran on page A11 of the Boston Globe on 7/7/2003.
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