Governor Paterson Opposes Sex Abuse Bill, More Worried with Churches Going Bankrupt

By Paul Kiesel
Injury Board
March 30, 2009

For reasons that are seemingly illogical, New York Governor David Paterson told Newsday that he opposes an Assembly bill that would allow sex abuse victims to have their day in court.

In siding with the Catholic Church, Gov. Paterson told Newsday, "These types of cases could go back, 20, 30, 40 years, and since the evidence probably doesn't exist in any way to convict the perpetrator [. . .] the accusation would hinder the career of any person who was accused."

Probably? How would the governor know that each case filed would PROBABLY have no evidence to back any claims of sexual abuse by priests? He doesn't know that and is speaking rather glibly.

In fact, a clergy sex abuse case involving the Fresno Diocese has exhibited evidence that is 20 and 30 years old (many other sex abuse cases have admitted evidence that is 30 or more years old, too). The evidence has shown several instances of sex abuse by the priest who abused two brothers, Father Herdegen, and that other bishops and priests had knowledge of some of the molestation that was taking place.

If Gov. Paterson's only concern is that lawsuits may bankrupt certain dioceses in New York State, then maybe the Catholic Church should have been more accountable and tried eradicating this problem 20, 30 or 40 years ago. If and when the bill passes, hopefully churches that were complicit in child molestation (at the very least, they allowed it to occur and the perpetrator priests went unpunished) will have to reap what they've sowed.


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