Bishop Accountability

Ten-Minute Activist: Statute of Limitations
Help Reform the Indiana Law

The Indiana Legislature will vote early next week on a bill to extend the state's statute of limitations (SOL) regarding the sexual abuse of minors. While this bill is an improvement on current state law, it is insufficient. The proposed law extends the statute only until the victim's 31st birthday, but most victims do not report the abuse until they are in their forties. The bill also does not include a retroactive clause, so only new cases will be subject to the new law. There will be no "window" (as there was in California during 2003).

If you're pressed for time or enjoy working on the phone, please consider spending five minutes with two Indiana lawmakers or members of their staff: Rep. Patrick Bauer, Speaker of the House (1-800-382-9842), and Rep. Brian Bosma, leader of the House Republicans (317-232-9604). This is an easy and effective way to have an impact. Please drop us a quick email and let us know if you choose this option.

Or write a brief letter and send it to Indiana legislators and newspapers regarding these two important issues: the age limit and the need for a retroactive window. Below we offer information on Bill 1061 and on comparable initiatives in two other states. Then we provide email addresses and other information that will make your letter-writing to legislators and newspapers easier.

Information and Background on the Indiana Bill

* For information on House Bill 1061 and the Indiana bishops' lobbying efforts against it, see: Bill Extends Time to File Sex-Abuse Lawsuit and House Panel OKs Sex Abuse Bill.

* For the result of the retrospective California bill see Law Spurred Flood of Sex Abuse Suits.

* For the Connecticut bill, (approved in 2002), which extends the statute to age 48, see
Connecticut State House Backs Stricter Penalties for Sex Abusers and on the issue of the confessional in the Connecticut bill see Stricter Molestation Law Approved by House.

* For statutes of limitation generally, see Why Statutes of Limitations for Child Abuse Should Be Extended, and for a useful collection of articles on legal issues, organized by state, see SNAP's legislation page.

Contacting Legislators

Note: The email system for the Indiana House of Representives will be down on Sunday, February 1, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

* Write to all the Democratic members of the Indiana House of Representatives by using this simple form.

* Write to Rep. Brian Bosma, leader of the House Republican caucus, by using this form.

* Write to Rep. William C. Friend, House Republican floor leader, by using this form.

* Please let us know if you send a letter.

Letters to the Editor

* Indianapolis Star: information on sending an email or fax.

* South Bend Tribune: send an email
and see their letter page for guidance and examples.

* Please let us know if you send a letter.

* Click here for SNAP's helpful guide to writing letters to the editor and contacting your local newspaper.

Previous Ten-Minute Activist Features

* Bishop Admits That He Is Keeping an Accused Priest in Ministry (12/5/03)
* Audit the Audit: USCCB Audit Needs Local Perspectives (1/9-16/04)
* Join the Dialogue among NY Priests and Bishops (1/23/04)


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Original material copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.