Letter to the editor: Catholic Church and statute of limitations

Tribune-Review [Pittsburgh PA]

July 22, 2021

In response to the article “Pa. lawmakers threaten university funding over statute of limitations deadlock” (June 18, TribLIVE): First, my heart truly breaks for the suffering the victims of abuse have endured, and I truly hope they find closure. But the issue of the statute of limitations is more complicated than being reported.

I believe the Catholic Church is being targeted because the victims believe there is a big payday waiting for them courtesy of the Vatican. Most of these old cases already have been settled civilly. Many victims are working with trial lawyers who also stand to gain financially.

But what about those who were abused by someone or some entity that didn’t have money to pay out? Are they another class of victims, since they will never see a payday? Additionally, we hear almost nothing about the child abuse that takes place in our school districts, which I believe dwarf what happened in churches and even continues today. If school districts were treated on the same terms as the Church, the payouts would be so great that taxes would have to be raised on residents across Pennsylvania. I also believe there is a political element. The Pennsylvania State Education Association is a very strong lobby and a Democrat constituency, so it’s put into another category.

This is a tangled web that isn’t being fully explained to the public, and those who are being honest and understand it know that the statute of limitations shouldn’t be lifted unless it’s done for all institutions in a fair, nonpolitical way.

Allen Leighliter
Mt. Pleasant