IN THE NEWS-2021
To see a yearly archive of CHILD USA in the news, click a year from below
Vindicated: Former Teacher of the Year opens up about dropped child molestation charge
Heather Crawford | February 8, 2021
It was a life-altering accusation: An elementary school assistant principal accused of child molestation by a former student, but the accusation wasn’t true according to the same student two years later.
Now that educator is sharing his story and hoping to clear his name.
Honored as Glynn County’s 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year,
Eric Cabrera worked hard build his reputation and advance in his career, climbing his way up the ranks from a teacher’s assistant to assistant principal.
He was working at Oglethorpe Point Elementary on St. Simons Island in August 2018 when a police officer came to the school and met with him.
“He said that a student that had been at the school years before had said that I had molested him,” Cabrera recalled.
Abuse survivors and advocates push emergency measure for May ballot
Deb Erdley | February 6, 2021
A bipartisan team of Pennsylvania lawmakers will invoke a rare emergency provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution, seeking to restore a constitutional amendment ballot question long sought by victims of child sex abuse. An administrative error by the Department of State, discovered late last month, prevents the question from appearing on the May 18 ballot.
The proposed amendment gives child sexual abuse victims a retroactive two-year “window” in which to file civil lawsuits, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. The enabling legislation was approved in the General Assembly on three separate votes — two in the House and one in the Senate — and was headed for a final Senate vote this month to put it on the May ballot. But the Department of State failed to complete an essential task: legal advertising of the proposed amendment.
‘A slap in the face’ to abuse survivors: PA advocates want action after Boockvar’s office error
J.D. Prose | February 3, 2021
Advocacy groups for child sex abuse survivors are joining to push for legislation now that a constitutional amendment to retroactively expand the window to file civil suits will not be on the primary ballot this year.
The efforts comes after Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar submitted her resignation to Gov. Tom Wolf on Monday because her department failed to properly advertise the constitutional amendment that passed the Legislature in November 2019.
Now it could be years before the issue is resolved through a constitutional amendment rather than moving more quickly through legislation in Harrisburg.
Angry over botched constitutional amendment, Pa. lawmakers call for action to aid child sexual abuse victims
Ivey DeJesus | February 1, 2021
For some, it was a kick in the gut.
Some lawmakers and advocates have fought for nearly a decade to reform the state’s child sex crime laws. Now, members of the General Assembly, who were within days of approval for a long-anticipated constitutional amendment to open the doors to justice for victims, are outraged to learn a procedural mistake at the highest level has dealt a body blow to their efforts.
“I’m devastated. I’m just stunned,” said Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-Berks County.
Lawmakers learned Monday that due to a procedural mistake, a proposed amendment to the state constitution to aid victims of child sex abuse will be delayed by two years. The Department of State failed to advertise the proposed amendment that would provide a two-year window for litigation by survivors of child sexual abuse who are beyond the statute of limitations.
‘Just sick over it’: Clergy sexual abuse victims, their advocates lament error that derailed Pa. amendment
Deb Erdley | February 1, 2021
Mark Rozzi was crushed Monday when Gov. Tom Wolf called to tell him an amendment seeking to open a window of opportunity in court for old child sex abuse claims would not make the primary ballot this year because of an advertising oversight.
Rozzi, a state representative from Berks County who has recounted how he was raped by a priest in junior high school, has led the charge to change the law for several years. During that time, he’s become a champion of other survivors who stayed in the shadows for decades.
Pa. House passes measure to allow voters to create a window for child sex abuse victims to go to court
Ivey DeJesus | January 27, 2021
Pennsylvania on Wednesday stepped closer to paving the way for adults who were sexually abused as children to seek recourse in court against their predators.
By a vote of 187-15, the state House of Representatives passed a measure that could lead to a temporary lifting of expired statute of limitations for some abuse victims, allowing them to file civil suits.
House Bill 14, authored by Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Blair, calls for a voter referendum on a two-year retroactive window that would lift expired statute of limitations to allow such legal civil action.
Trove of Buffalo Diocese abuse records turned over to victims in bankruptcy court
Jay Tokasz | January 10, 2021
Lawyers and survivors of childhood sexual abuse are reviewing more than 25,000 pages of internal Buffalo Diocese documents relating to clergy abuse, diocesan finances and personnel files.
Diocese lawyers began handing over the files in December under the terms of an agreement that they hashed out with abuse survivors who make up the committee of unsecured creditors in the diocese’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, according to multiple sources.
Whether the general public will be able to examine the confidential records someday remains unclear and likely will be subject to intense negotiations during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Philly child abuse advocacy group to survey Larry Nassar victims
Mark Abrams | January 6, 2021
A Philadelphia-based child abuse victim advocacy organization is spearheading a survey of victims of disgraced USA Gymnastics Dr. Larry Nassar.
Nassar was convicted of sexually abusing members of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University teams over a period of decades. He’s now serving a 175-year prison term.
Jillian Ruck, executive director of CHILD USA, Philadelphia, said the group and its high-powered CEO and founder, child abuse victim lawyer Marci Hamilton, are behind the anonymous survey.