Catholic church sex abuse survivors speak in Harrisburg

By Jaccii Farris
October 15, 2018

[with video]

Just after 10 a.m., a group of people standing in Pennsylvania's state capitol building was given a cue: begin reading.

But the words were difficult to say, especially out loud.

Sentences like "One of the victims was as young as 13 years old," began spilling from their lips.

Their words couldn't be posted on Facebook or found in an adult bookstore. But they echoed down the hall outside Senate chambers.

"Like a bad dream that we have to be here doing this. They should've done the right thing by now," said Catholic church sexual abuse survivor Julianne Bortz.

Bortz is among dozens of survivors who are reading the Pennsylvania grand jury's clergy sex abuse report in the hopes of getting the senate's attention just ahead of an important vote.

The grand jury made several recommendations, including eliminating the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse.

It also recommended creating a two year "window of justice" for those with expired claims to file civil suits.

Both measures passed in a House bill. But the Senate rejected the window due to different standards for private versus public entities.

Instead the Senate proposed a survivors claim fund. Lawmakers have been negotiating the language of the Senate bill ever since.

"I want to see, which hero, which senator is going to be a hero and come out on the floor and say this bill has to be passed," said survivor Peg Keegan.

"They need to support the victims, not the pedophiles," said Cindy Leech, the parent of a survivor.

With two legislative days left this month and one in November, survivors are hoping something is passed before time runs out.



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