Pesch: Litigation needed to expose abuse

Pacific Daily News

Bill Pesch, For PDN April 30, 2017

As I near the end of my series on family-related laws passed by the 33rd Guam Legislature, I turn my attention to statute that’s received tremendous public attention since its passage in September 2016 — Public Law 33-187. This law removed the statute of limitations for acts of sexual assault and allowed long ago sexual assault victims to sue both the abuser and those institutions that failed to stop the abuse.

Since the law passed, more than 50 people have filed lawsuits against the Catholic Church. A few cases have also been filed against the Boy Scouts of America. There is a strong probability more lawsuits will follow.

Those who have filed claims against the Church and the Boy Scouts allege various priests sexually molested them. From what we have learned so far, the abuse appears to have been widespread, frequent and intentionally suppressed by Church officials.

The unfolding events clearly demonstrate the power of laws to address egregious wrongs. For more than 50 years, these alleged acts of sexual abuse and cover-ups went officially undetected and unpunished. Why this is true is the subject of some debate.

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