Why this time was different: The church’s objections to the Child Victims Act finally ran out

New York Daily News

January 29, 2019

By Marci Hamilton

It took more than 15 years, but when the Child Victims Act finally made it to the floor of the Senate, it passed unanimously. This is the harbinger of good things to come in other states.

For the very first time, the most powerful bishop in a state — Cardinal Timothy Dolan — publicly withdrew his opposition to the bill. That opened the door for Republicans to vote for the Child Victims Act, but it also changed the discourse about window legislation across the United States and even the world.

The Catholic bishops, the most publicly relentless opponents of victims’ access to justice, have been running out of arguments against the irrefutable logic of child sex abuse statute of limitations (SOL) reform. At first, they opposed SOL reform, period. Their battle against extending the civil and criminal SOLs did not last long, because it implied that they expected to have ongoing problems in the future. But they continued to ferociously battle the lookback, or window, legislation that revives expired civil SOLs.

They tried to blame the priests (and the victims) while not taking responsibility for their role, or they claimed it all happened decades ago. The 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report put those arguments to rest, as it prompted the world to take the side of the victims.

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