Video courtesy of CT Blogger
The Catholic Church has spoken in opposition to gay marriage, the distribution of emergency contraception to rape victims, and its latest battle is legislation that would increase the time victims of sexual abuse had to bring a lawsuit against a child sex offender from 30 to 40 years.
In the wake of the Hartford Courant’s articles on Rev. Stephen Foley, it was hard for any of the Judiciary Committee members to sympathize with the church’s argument.
“This is not a sympathetic party you’re coming to,” Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said
Nancy Matthews, a Bridgeport Diocese Chancellor, said:
“The bill before you threatens to deplete the resources- human and financial- that support the charitable works of the Church. The current law, passed in 2002, has already resulted in the additional payment of millions of dollars not just to victims but to the attorneys who represent them. Our counsel, Attorney Colbert, will speak to the practical impossibility of defending against allegations that date back to the early 1960’s against priests who are deceased and where possible witnesses are either deceased or their whereabouts unknown. Statutes of limitations are neither legal technicalities nor loopholes- they are there so that the parties involved have the ability to get to the truth of the matter, what actually happened, how bad it was, the nature of the damage. The ability of the plaintiffs to establish their case and the ability of defendants to defend diminishes with the passage of time. Our system of jurisprudence seeks to avoid stale claims precisely because of their inherent unfairness. H.B. 7408 extends the historical period such that we will be trying to evaluate claims from the 1950’s. This will be about suits against dead priests who can not defend themselves.”
Click here for the remainder of her testimony.
Attorney Richard Colbert said 40 years would put the church at even a greater disadvantage than 30 years.
Sen. Ed Gomes, D-Bridgeport, who is a Catholic said “that’s not the victims fault.”
Amen Senator Gomes.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal submitted this testimony in favor of no statute of limitation in these types of cases.