March 30, 2018
By Katherine Gregg
Abuse victims gave wrenching accounts at a House hearing on the bill introduced by Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee, whose legislation was motivated by her own sister’s repeated abuse as a child by their family’s parish priest.
A Rhode Island lawmaker has ripped the scab off the Catholic Church sex-abuse scandal with legislation born out of her older sister’s repeated abuse, as a child, by their family’s parish priest.
Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s legislation would remove the seven-year statute of limitations on the pursuit of legal claims against perpetrators of sex abuse. The statute of limitations derailed a lawsuit by two former victims of an infamous pedophile priest in 2016.
A late-night hearing on her bill earlier this week drew pained personal recollections from her sister, now a 65-year-old psychologist; a well-known doctor talking about his abuse publicly for the first time; and Jim Scanlan, a R.I. man whose account of sex-abuse by a Boston College High School priest in the late 1970s figured in the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight.”
But the tales of abuse by trusted elders were not limited to the Catholic Church. Two women describing themselves as victims of sex-abuse scandals reaching back to the 1970s at St. George’s School in Middletown and the Gordon School in East Providence also conveyed their support for the bill, which has no restrictions on how far back the cases might reach.
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