There should be no limit on reporting sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church

Baltimore Sun

April 25, 2019

The latest listing of sexually abusive priests testifies to the long history of sexual misconduct by Catholic clergy (“Archdiocese of Baltimore discloses the names of 23 deceased clergy accused of child sexual abuse,” April 24). Some of the abuse cases date to the 1940s. In several cases, there is a significant gap between the time the abuse occurred and when the victim(s) reported the abuse to the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

To me, this is proof of the need to expand the window of time for bringing perpetrators to justice. I have been asked why I did not report the sexual abuse I experienced by a teacher when I was 10 years old. As a child in the late 1970s, I had no words to explain it. It takes a lot of time to process abuse and more time to come forward to authorities. There is no magic timeline.

In my case, the teacher was ultimately found guilty of raping a student at a Baltimore Catholic school. He is serving four consecutive life sentences for his crimes. I hope everybody who has ever committed sexual abuse is rooted out and appropriately charged. Sexual abusers, whether dead or alive, should not be shielded by artificial timelines. Maryland’s current law limits victims’ reporting to the age of 38-years-old. This must change so justice prevails.

Nancy Fenton, Baltimore

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.