Law Limits Abuse Liability to Catholics

By Mark F. Sullivan
Ventura County Star
August 24, 2007

California — In 2002, when the state Legislature adopted a special one-time waiver of the statute of limitations for suits against child molesters, concerns that it created cases so old they would be impossible to defend were brushed aside by the special law's Democratic sponsors in Sacramento as being the unfortunate consequence of correcting long-standing wrongs.

As was inevitable, given the fact that most potential defense witnesses were long dead, the archdiocese of Los Angeles ended up paying a $660 million settlement under this special law.

Monday, in a suit aptly named "Shirk v. Vista Unified School District," the state Supreme Court made it clear that the unfairness inherent in the special law would only apply to the Catholic Church.

Molesters in the ranks of the favored teachers unions could shirk any liability concerns. Suits involving school districts that negligently exposed children to molesting teachers would remain subject to a strict six-month statute of limitations.

Does anyone else see the screaming injustice and blatant discrimination here?

The Legislature, with the signing approval of then-Gov. Gray Davis, effectively passed a law tapping the collection plate of the Catholic Church but exempting its pals.


Posted by AbuseSurvivor on August 24, 2007 at 10:48 a.m.

Your statement couldn't be further from the truth, but it was expected some Diocese representative would take and twist the ruling. The ruling dealt with Hightower not compiling with Governmental Laws in the filing of a claim against a governmental entity. He argued the new law that allowed the 2003 abuse claims allowed him to file his case, and circumvent Governmental law. The court ruled the legislature did not intend for the 2003 law to supersede existing Governmental law. But alas you have done what we predicted, see this as an opportunity to spout off about how it singles you out. When it doesn't. It affects the statute of limitations for non-government entities, that needed to be clarified. Perhaps in the future they will see clear to equally allow the application of law applied to everyone else, to also apply to themselves, as spelled out in existing law.


Posted by russ on August 24, 2007 at 7:37 p.m.

Clearly the law would appear biased by the description given by Mr. Sullivan.

What Mr. Sullivan fails to mention is that though, throughout CA society, including teachers, public employees, there are indeed pedophiles, and indeed even US Congress routinely exsempts themselves from most every piece of legislation they pass, the law in question was explicitedly passed to deal with the clear, overt, and present danger, in collusion & obstructed justice by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of LA, and Bishops Barnes of San Bernadino, Brom of San Diego, Brown of Orange, Walsh of Santa Rosa, then Leveda of San Francico, and now CDF Prelate in Rome, with diplomatic immunity, other CA Miters, Rivera of Mexico City, and outside CA, George of Chicago, Egan of New York, Law/O'Malley of Boston, etc. who all CONSPIRED & COLLUDED TO BEAT, the statute of limitations on these many tens of thousands of felonious crimes, cover them up, and to game and thwart criminal and/or civil justice.

Though individual felons do exist in the the state government employment, there is no extraordinary secretive and hiearchical means or ways to create the massive rape, mental torture, perjury, physical maiming, sexual assault, oral copulation, sodomy, kidnapping, extortion, and superiors' enabling of over 1,000 children, in multiple decades, as is the case in the CA Roman Catholic Church.

For daily vetted coverage globally of the ongoing Roman Catholic Church Curial Criminal Cover Up, and why such laws Mr. Sullivan believes to be unfair, are indeed only a scratch on the surface of what is really needed, we recommend:

These guilty men, including the ones mentioned by name above, need to be stripped of their jobs, placed under house arrest like pedophile founder Marciel of the Legionnaires of Christ, canonically censored, and sent off to bad food, & hard labor, in a cold remote monestary for LIFE! If they refuse,they should be swiftly and irrevocably EXCOMMUNICATED to pay their own legal bills from law suits or criminal prosecution levied against them, and their clear EVIL deeds.

No Bishop Accountability? No Laity Monies!

Respectfully submitted,

Russ Bianchi
Lay Member of the Diocese of Monterey


Posted by Chris on August 24, 2007 at 8:44 p.m.

Yes, Mr. Sullivan does describe the law as biased, but you, Russ, pretty much admit that it is. If, as you say, "the law in question was explicitedly passed to deal with the clear, overt, and present danger, in collusion & obstructed justice by [names of hierarchy here]", then it IS a biased law. A law which focuses on the punishment of a particular group IS BIAS. It is obvious that the law is less about protecting children than it is about punishing the Catholic Church. Public school teachers get a pass? "...there is no extraordinary secretive and hiearchical means or ways to create the massive rape, mental torture, perjury, physical maiming, sexual assault, oral copulation, sodomy, kidnapping, extortion, and superiors' enabling of over 1,000 children, in multiple decades,..." in the public sector? Oh, come on! Already teacher's unions are forcing school districts to keep accused abusers in place, where a priest abused is now to be removed immediately. There is definitely a double standard here, and that, in my book, is bias.

Posted by russ on August 25, 2007 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I was not aware Chris that Unions, Schools Districts, and those running them, decided they were above the civil and criminal laws of this country?

As a matter of fact, as a condition of their employment these cicil servants must swear, to this day, an allegency oath to uphold all laws of the State and USA.

Such is NOT the case with ordained, cloistered monastic, secular, ordered, vocationed and curial.

RICO, the Federal Racketeering In Criminal Organization statue, long ago, should have been aggressively enacted on this cabal of extraordinary set of concentrated pedophiles and felons (far higher in percentage than the Church admitts to, and exceedingly much higher on an actuarial basis of the general population).

Remember, the JJ Report, comissioned by the Bishops, placed the number of children raped, sodomized, orally copulated, kidnapped, extorted, bribed, sexually assaulted, physicailly maimed, mentally tortured, and raped, at over 13,000 in approximately a 35 year period.

This train wreck, of the Bishops own doing, was not sudden, and unexpected, by any means.

The Bishops went out of their way to hide, lie, cover up, refute, deflect, spin, and thwart due process, in gaming the system and beating the statute of limitations for theses thousnads upon thousands of felonies.

The Bishops and the Church, are indeed, per US Supreme Court precident, a "clear and present danger" to the general welfare and safety of children, in the United States of America.

In 1991, the Bishops where overtly, and in detail, told of the problem and criminality, and ignored it. Such is generally called "OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE".

The infamous quote from that meeting was one Miters saying "Oh, you are so wrong", to a Canon Attorney telling the Miters that they needed to address and correct this, "No one will ever sue the Church."

Any expert on the subject, irrespective of ties, will also honestly tell you that the 13,000+ reported and "credible" is but the tip of this iceberg, and multiple decades (and still ongong) crime spree and the real numbers are easily in multiple 5 to 6 times this number!!!

Former Govenor Frank Keating, of Oklahoma, and fellow Roman Catholic, was 100% correct when on his resignation from the 'dog and pony show' Commission set up by the NCCB, as a sardonic side show deflection (to this day the Charter of Protection is a sham & PR stunt) Gov. Keating said, "the Bishops are acting like La Cosa Nostra".

"Double Standard", or not, Chris, the Bishops dug their own graves. I as a lay member of that Church now REFUSE to pay for their funeral, and ask my fellow laity to do the same!


Posted by accmed14 on August 26, 2007 at 8:27 a.m.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, Barbara Dorris of SNAP said in a statement that statutes hurt all victims, regardless of the perpetrator's affiliation. But her comments are totally inconsistent with SNAP's continuing legislative effort to overturn statutes in various states. SNAP has lobbied hard for statute-lifting bills that specifically exclude government institutions, like public schools and foster homes.
If SNAP - and its lawyers - truly believe what they say, then they should show it by lobbying strenuously for bills that lift statutes for all institutions public and private, under equal terms.

Instead, they use the cozy relationship between personal injury attorneys both in and outside the state legislature to enact laws that target only the Catholic Church. Did you know that the lead plaintiff attorney in Los Angeles is the treasurer of the California Trial Lawyers Association? He holds the purse strings for large amounts of cash that go straight into legislators' campaign warchests. He is, quite simply, one of the most powerful men in the state.

Don't think abuse happens in public schools? Then you're wearing the same blinders that some in the church used to wear. Look at the stats of abuse: 1 in 7 boys and 1 in 5 girls will be abused before they reach the age of 18. Do you think all of that abuse happens in church? Wake up, these are national stats.

Public entities have fought hard in state capitols to avoid being held accountable for child abuse. SNAP and its lawyers and legislators have given public institutions a pass, since they know they can't get laws passed that hold all institutions accountable (ie as in Colorado) for protecting children.

Still don't believe that the law targeted the Catholic Church? Follow the money. In every state, including CA, the only "private" entity sued as a result of these laws is the Catholic Church.

None of this justifies or minimizes the responsibility of those in the church to deal with the past and to make sure it doesn't happen again. The church has standards and practices to protect children that far outpace any institution today.

Again, those who profess to care about preventing child abuse, should let their actions do the talking. SNAP: If you mean what you say about statutes hurting all kids, then stand up for kids in public schools by refusing to lobby for statute-lifting laws that don't include both public and private institutions. Warning: Your personal injury lawyers will desert you in a heartbeat if you do, but you'll be doing the right thing.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.