Shapiro tells victims, "The script has been flipped. You're the hero. That bishop is the villain."

By Jackie Roberts
October 05, 2018

[with video]

The Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro in Erie today, sitting down with victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Shapiro says reforming the statute of limitations is not a partisan issue; he says it's a matter of right and wrong. "The script has been flipped. You're the hero. That bishop is the villain."  He's holding those accountable who allowed the abuse to continue and praising those who chose to come forward.

This visit to Erie comes on the heels of the release of the nearly 900-page grand jury report detailing cases of sexual abuse in six Catholic dioceses across the commonwealth. Shapiro is talking to victims about creating a two-year window, for survivors take their cases to court, even if the statute of limitations has already expired. 

James Faluszczak, Clergy Abuse Survivor, tells us, "I had been wanting for decades to be heard. I had gone to Bishop Persico, to Bishop Trautman, to multiple diocesan officials and was never heard." 

The attorney general is now asking for senators across the Commonwealth to vote on the side of the survivors.  He tells us, "if Senator Scarnati brings this bill up for a vote, it will pass. So, the real issue right now is, is he gonna bring it up for a vote and are people like Senator Laughlin gonna do the right thing?"

The State House passed the reform in September. Now, the Senate must vote by the end of the month. 

Bishop Lawrence Persico supports the creation of a victims' compensation fund, rather than the two-year window but the attorney general, alongside survivors and the grand jurors, say a check from the church won't solve the problem. 

Senators Pat Harkins and Ryan Bizzarro have expressed their support for the statute of limitations reform. 

Shapiro says Senator Laughlin was non-committal on the issue.  Laughlin was not available for comment today.



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