Twin hit of abuse claims and pandemic could push NJ Catholic dioceses toward bankruptcy

 | October 19, 2020

For Catholic churches around the country, it has become a familiar refrain: After shelling out millions of dollars in settlements to survivors of clergy abuse, a diocese says it’s broke and declares bankruptcy. 

Boys & Girls Clubs releases review of child sex abuse prevention

 | August 4, 2020

Local affiliates of Boys & Girls Clubs of America do not uniformly respond to reports of sexual misconduct according to a third-party review of the organization’s policies made public Tuesday.

While the organization has enhanced policies to prevent abuse over the years, its programming is not consistently implemented at local clubs, according to a summary of the review, conducted by law firm Alston & Bird and the nonprofit Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

Camden’s Roman Catholic diocese suspends payments to clergy abuse victims, citing COVID-19 financial stress

 July 31, 2020

Citing financial losses resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden said Friday that it would halt payments from a clergy sex-abuse victim fund that has paid out nearly $7.6 million.

In a statement, the diocese said it had suffered a “precipitous decline in revenue” and was rapidly approaching a point where it would not be able to continue to borrow money to pay authorized awards.

A Megachurch Reels After Learning Pastor Let His Professed Pedophile Son Work With Kids

 July 14, 2020

The leaders of a California evangelical megachurch are under fire for bungling the church’s response to a youth ministry volunteer’s confession that he was attracted to minors.

John Ortberg, the senior pastor at California’s Menlo Church, allowed his son to continue working with children, despite the confession.

Child pornography tips to N.J. police surge during pandemic

 June 1, 2020

The uptick occurring in New Jersey mirrors what is happening nationwide. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported a staggering 318% surge in tips this April compared to the same time last year, although some of that increase was due to several child sexual abuse videos that went viral on social media.

Marci Hamilton, CEO of the advocacy group Child USA, said online child predators are more likely to target children when they’re at home and unsupervised, and persuade them to engage in sexual activity either virtually or in person.

David v. Goliath: Marci Hamilton, Fels Institute of Government Professor of Practice, has faced down institutional child abuse for decades—and she is just getting started.

 May 22, 2020

When I sat down with Marci Hamilton this past winter, she was busy preparing to fly to Iowa, then a political hotbed with the caucuses fast approaching. Hamilton, as always, was laser-focused on developing new means to keep children safe, and who better to appeal to than presidential candidates? “This should be a bipartisan issue,” she says, “but in so many cases, adults think more about protecting adults.”


St. Paul Archdiocese has strong protection policies, review finds

By Jean Hopfensperger  | May 15, 2020

The child protection policies of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis are among the best in the nation, but improvements can be made in areas such as staff training and background checks, according to a review released Friday by the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.

The 79-page report compared the archdiocese’s written child protection policies to those of the other 31 U.S. archdioceses. It was conducted by Child USA, a child abuse research group based in Philadelphia.

USA Swimming To Settle Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed By Former Olympian

 March 11, 2020

Marci Hamilton, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, points out that state laws are empowering sexual abuse survivors to hold institutions accountable in ways that didn’t exist just a few years ago. For example, California, the state where Kukors Smith resides and where she filed her lawsuit, has increased the penalties covering up instances of sexual abuse.

“They are permitting treble damages,” Hamilton says, “which is to say whatever damages the victim can prove showing the harm that was done, you multiply that times three, if there was a coverup.”

Corey Feldman looks to name names, and move forward, with sexual abuse documentary (My) Truth

Rosy Cordero | March 04, 2020

The actor tells EW he’s ready to expose his childhood abusers in new documentary (My) Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys.

Feldman has also been working as an ambassador for the nonprofit group Child USA to advocate for victim’s rights and change laws governing statutes of limitations. In October, the group scored a victory when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 218, which grants victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to report allegations and file a lawsuit. In cases where abuse was covered up, victims could also be entitled to triple the damages.

Why aren’t Ohio officials investigating Catholic sex abuse cases?

Danae King | March 02, 2020

But when asked why Ohio doesn’t investigate the issue, state officials point to a home-rule law stating that county prosecutors must request such an investigation before the attorney general can initiate it.

Home rule isn’t a reason not to investigate the issue on a state level, said Marci Hamilton, founder and CEO of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based think tank tracking state efforts on child abuse.

New Colorado bill tackles sex abuse and the statute of limitations

Into the summer, the group of coalition members met roughly once per month, with Simmons meeting more frequently with individual contributors. Approximately eight different victim advocacy groups were represented. Calls were made to CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that chronicles efforts to reform sex abuse statutes of limitations.

N.H. Senate bill would end statute of limitations on sexual assault lawsuits

Christopherson pointed out that the average reporting age for child sexual assault of 52 — a statistic from the nonprofit think tank Child USA — is well beyond 30, and added that the current statute of limitations isn’t appropriate for how these situations “actually play out.”

The Priest Next Door

Lindsay Schnell and Sam Ruland | November 13, 2019

Hamilton said the church clearly knew the consequences of letting former priests move on quietly after abuses were reported but did so to shield the church and protect its image.

“They cover it up, they run the statute of limitations and then they wash their hands of them,” Hamilton said of the Catholic Church. “It’s never been enough to say, ‘Well, we laicized him,’ or ‘we expelled him.’ It’s like they had a firecracker and they threw it into the public square.”

Game Over Commission Gathers In Philadelphia To Examine Institutional Failures That Led To Larry Nassar Case

CBS3 Staff | November 4, 2019

Sexual abuse in collegiate sports was the focus of a gathering in Philadelphia on Monday. It was the first of many independent hearings by the Game Over Commission.

The commission is examining the institutional failures that led to the Larry Nassar case.

Nassar is a former USA Gymnastics national team doctor who’s behind bars for allegedly assaulting at least 250 young women.

Two Penn professors named Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania

Amelia Walden | October 2, 2019

Penn professors Angela Duckworth and Marci Hamilton were recently named Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf.

The annual Distinguished Daughter event has taken place since 1948 and recognizes women who demonstrate exceptional service through their career or volunteer efforts. On Sept. 25, five other women were honored alongside the pair of Penn professors.

Access to Justice for College Sex Abuse and Assault Victims

Marci Hamilton | September 13, 2019

There is a choice here: protect the perpetrators and the institutions that cover for them, or take the action that proves we do love our college students. This is a simple but revolutionary change in the law that would send a message loud and clear to all campuses: you are accountable for the well-being of your students and athletes, and if you are complicit in a compulsive sexual offender’s attacks on your students, you might just have to pay up and improve your policies. Surely, that is not too much to ask.

Governor Cuomo Takes Action to Ensure Prompt Attention to Legal Claims Filed Under the Child Victims Act

September 12, 2019 | Albany, NY

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is taking action to ensure victims of child sexual abuse receive justice by asking the Department of Financial Services to issue guidance urging New York State insurers with potential exposure to legal claims stemming from the Child Victims Act to act promptly and in good faith. The Governor signed the Child Victims Act, a key part of his 2019 Justice Agenda, into law earlier this year and the one-year look-back window began last month.

Through ‘Lookback Window,’ Jewish Orgs Face Retribution for Child Sex Abuse

Hannah Dreyfus | September 11, 2019

“Across the country, there has been no cause-and-effect relationship between statute of limitation reform and bankruptcy. The issue has become impossible to ignore. None of this is terribly surprising… but it’s certainly gratifying.”

State lawmaker makes motion to subpoena Congressman during hearing on Strauss bill

Brittany Bailey | September 10, 2019

What was supposed to be a routine hearing on legislation tied to the Dr. Richard Strauss investigation ended up with a surprise move that made waves all the way to Washington, D.C.

Rep. Tavia Galonski, a Democrat representing House District 35, made a motion to subpoena Congressman Jim Jordan.

First dissent emerges to bill giving Strauss victims more time to sue Ohio State

Catherine Candisky | September 10, 2019

A group representing several business and trade organizations became the first to publicly oppose a bill that would allow sexual abuse victims of Ohio State University team doctor Richard Strauss to sue the university.

Kevin Shimp of the Ohio Alliance of Civil Justice told lawmakers on Tuesday that House Bill 249 would “create endless liability” by extending the deadline to file lawsuits, allowing civil actions for claims previously barred because so much time had passed since the act.

Child sex abuse victims deserve time to sue

September 9, 2019 | The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Victims of child sex crimes deserve more time to grapple with trauma and contemplate a public lawsuit. The vast majority of states, including Oregon and Idaho, have laws that provide at least a few years longer. The nonprofit Child USA traces a national reform movement on this issue to 2002, the year The Boston Globe brought to light the Catholic Church’s systematic concealment of abusers.

Donna Grethen / Op-Art

Indictment of former Pa. priest signals aggressive new reach by federal prosecutors in clergy sex abuse investigation

Ivey DeJesus | September 9, 2019

Two priests have been convicted; one other awaits trial.

That’s about the sum total of legal action that has taken place in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse, which identified more than 300 predator priests statewide.

That narrative could be about to change.

Effort to help adult survivors of sex abuse to get aired at Capitol

Sep 7, 2019 | John Finnerty

HARRISBURG — Adult survivors of sexual abuse by priests hope that they will get a chance to share their perspectives at an October hearing scheduled by the Senate Judiciary Committee to examine whether or how to change the statute of limitations law regarding when adults can sue over childhood abuse.

The judiciary committee has scheduled three hours of testimony on Oct. 2 at the Capitol to explore the controversy over whether to change the state’s statute of limitations, according to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Lisa Baker, R-Luzerne County

Priest with Bucks ties charged with lying to FBI

Jo Ciavaglia | September 6, 2019

A former Philadelphia Catholic priest with ties to Bucks County is facing criminal charges for allegedly lying to federal agents about knowing a Philadelphia man and his family who accused him of child sexual abuse in 2013.

The U.S. District Attorney in Philadelphia unsealed the indictment Thursday against Robert Brennan, 81, of Perryville, Maryland, which charges him with four felony counts of making false statements. Brennan briefly served at a Lower Makefield parish decades ago.

Will Child Victims Act prompt false claims of abuse?

Dan Herbeck and Jay Tokasz | September 3, 2019

Marci A. Hamilton, law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and expert on the effects of child sexual abuse, founded and runs Child USA, a national think tank and child advocacy organization.

Hamilton said window legislation that allowed child sex abuse claims from decades ago to be filed in other states did not lead to a rash of false accusations in those states.

Opening the Door

Insurers are concerned as states are changing or reconsidering laws allowing child sex abuse victims to sue.

Timothy Darragh | September 2019

Consider: Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have new laws this year giving childhood sex abuse victims decades more time to file civil lawsuits, according to Child USA, a victim advocacy group. Five of them also are allowing victims whose cases had been time-barred to reopen a “window” on their statutes of limitation, it said.

Dan Herbeck and Jay Tokasz | September 3, 2019

Marci A. Hamilton, law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and expert on the effects of child sexual abuse, founded and runs Child USA, a national think tank and child advocacy organization.

Hamilton said window legislation that allowed child sex abuse claims from decades ago to be filed in other states did not lead to a rash of false accusations in those states.

Clergy abuse victims seeking justice find hope in new court decision

Laura Benshoff | August 30, 2019

“It’s certainly not a substitution for statute-of-limitations reform, but it is an opening,” said Marci Hamilton, attorney and founder of Child USA, a think tank dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect. “It will provide more information to the public about what has really been going on.”

Vote for the most startling statement on the ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ finale

Tony Ortega | August 27, 2019

Marci Hamilton of Child USA and Jim Ellis, the former FBI agent, both said that civil lawsuits can help bring about change. No institution like the Church of Scientology will change on its own, Hamilton said. But in a civil lawsuit, you can refuse to settle unless the organization stops doing these things to children. She says that approach has produced positive results in other organizations, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Jewish ultra-Orthodox. And Ellis, the former FBI agent, said that civil lawsuits can open a “breach” that law enforcement can then step into. While we were heartened to hear both of these experts put their faith in litigation, it troubled us to hear that private individuals (such as Valerie Haney and Chrissie Bixler) will have to put themselves at risk in court because law enforcement has simply not done its job.

Let’s Restore the Public Good to a Place of Honor and End Vaccination Exemptions Other Than Those Absolutely Necessary


The United States is racing toward rolling back our amazing record on ending childhood diseases like measles through the states’ generous exemptions for religious and philosophical objectors. We are going to lose “herd immunity” and have more serious and potentially deadly diseases among us due to these misguided exemptions. These exemptions are a direct attack on the larger public good.

It’s About Time for New York’s Child Victims Act

8/22/2019 | Katha Pollitt

“The victim has the burden of proof,” said Marci Hamilton, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the founder of Child USA, which advocated for the CVA. “In criminal cases, that burden is very high. If they have no corroborating evidence, it won’t go forward.” She is skeptical that innocent people will be convicted. “We have much more sophisticated methods of forensic questioning than in the day care cases of old.” “It’s basically to clear the decks,” she said, referring to the people who were shut out before. “Access to justice is the basic bedrock for civil rights.”
Hamilton added that #MeToo has been all about people making their experiences public—and while that’s important, stories can do only so much. “The focus has been on people telling their stories, and that’s fine,” she said. “But it’s not fair to ask child sex abuse victims to tell their stories if they can’t get justice.”

Why victims of clergy sex abuse embrace hope for justice even if lawmakers should fail to enact reforms

August 19th, 2019 | Ivey DeJesus

University of Pennsylvania law professor Marci Hamilton welcomes the Superior Court action.

“It is a theory that should have had legs long ago in Pennsylvania,” she said. “In other words, it’s about time.”

Hamilton underscores the idea that the decision opens the door for some cases in an institutional setting, but not most sex abuse cases that may have happened, for instance, in a home or other private setting.

The need for legislative reform, especially a window that revives expired claims, remains strong, she said.

New York grants a reprieve for victims of child sexual abuse

Aug 15th 2019 | R.W. | NEW YORK

A SURVIVOR of child sexual abuse in New York state previously had until the age of 23 to file charges or a civil claim against his or her abuser. It takes time to reckon with such malevolence, and to feel comfortable talking about the abuse, never mind speaking to police or a lawyer. A third of child sex-abuse victims never disclose that they have been abused. If they do, the average age of victims when they tell their stories is 52, usually too late to file criminal charges or to file a civil claim.

New York opens door to old abuse claims: “I never thought that this moment would come”

August 14, 2019 / 7:47 AM / CBS News

groundbreaking new law took effect overnight in New York. The Child Victims Act gives sexual abuse survivors, barred by a statute of limitations, a one-year window to file a civil lawsuit against their alleged perpetrators, and institutions like the boy scouts, schools and the Catholic Church.

As the act goes into effect, survivors like James Larney are coming forward.

A unique one-year window for child sex abuse victims to get justice opens this week in New York

August 12, 2019 | Eric Levenson

The Child Victims Act, signed into law on February 14, expands the ways that those who suffered sexual abuse as children can use the legal system to address the damage.In particular, the law specifically said that six months after its passage, there would be a one-year period when any adult survivors of child sexual abuse could sue an abuser or a negligent institution, no matter how long ago the abuse took place.
That one-year “window of justice,” as Child USA CEO Marci Ann Hamilton called it, starts Wednesday.

Boy Scouts failed to stop hundreds of previously unreported sexual predators, a lawsuit alleges

August 6th, 2019 | Kayla Epstein

The average age at which victims of childhood sexual assault choose to disclose the abuse is 52, according to the think tank Child USA.
And more cases could be uncovered. This year, laws reforming the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases will go into effect in 18 states and the District of Columbia, according to Child USA, giving victims of childhood abuse a new opportunity to seek legal recourse.
“We’ve never seen a year like this before,” said Marci Hamilton, Child USA’s founder and chief executive. “I don’t think the public is prepared for this tsunami of information about hidden child sex abuse in our culture.”


Nearly 800 accuse Boy Scouts of failing to protect them from sex abuse as new lawsuit is filed

August 5th, 2019 | Cara Kelly, David Heath and Rachel Axon

Former Scouts have filed hundreds of lawsuits, but many other claims fall outside of the statute of limitations for criminal or civil complaints. That may change as states loosen statutes for child sexual abuse cases.

In the past two years, legislators in 14 states and the District of Columbia passed bills extending the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits relating to child sexual abuse, according to data from CHILD USA. Nine include so-called revival windows that allow individuals to sue over past abuse..

NJ Catholic Church Compensation Program Offers Settlements With A Catch

New Jersey victims of childhood sexual abuse by Catholic Church clergy members may have a tough choice to make. Due to the recent flood of accusations against Catholic priests, bishops, nuns, and other clergy members, the five New Jersey dioceses have established victims compensation programs to financially compensate victims with credible claims of abuse.

Exclusive: Local church abuse victim protesting against Diocese of Norwich

July 18th, 2019 | Roger SusaninOlivia Lank

University of Pennsylvania professor, Marci Hamilton, who testified along with McGuire about statute of limitations reform at the state capitol, is considered the nation’s leading expert on child sexual abuse and the reluctance of victims to speak out, even decades later.

Sensibly Speaking Podcast #200: Scientology, Freedom of Religion and the Law ft. Marci Hamilton

July 5th, 2019 | Chris Shelton

This week I welcome Dr. Marci Hamilton to the show. She is a legal scholar and accomplished lawyer who has not only argued before the US Supreme Court but specializes in the Establishment Clause of the Bill of Rights, meaning she is an expert on the legal ramifications of freedom of religion. We talk in detail in this episode about Scientology and its legal travails and what rights religious groups do and don’t have in the legal arena. Enjoy!

Thousands of sexual abuse cases likely to be filed under Child Victim’s Act

July 5th, 2019 | Frank Esposito

Marci Hamilton, CEO of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based think tank dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect, scoffed at the efforts to prevent the Child Victims Act, and the financial reasons for fighting it.

“For years, we fought for the Child Victims Act to deliver justice to those who experienced horrific abuse, and for years we’ve heard myths propounded that the Church would have no way to compensate victims,” Hamilton said. “This lawsuit by the New York Archdiocese fundamentally illustrates that the bishops knew the dioceses had protection from multiple insurance policies the entire time.”

Marsh thinks upstate dioceses, like Rochester, are in worse shape financially than New York Archdiocese, and expects they’ll have a hard time.

“We expect that many of the diocese upstate will declare bankruptcy, Marsh said. “Many don’t have the assets of the New York Archdiocese.”

The Biggest Deterrent to Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

June 26, 2019 | Hannah Giorgis

Children’s-rights advocates have been working to fix statute-of-limitation laws that stop victims from coming forward later in life.

In the United States, about one-third of child-sexual-abuse victims come forward with their allegations before adulthood. Another third disclose far later in life—the median age is 52—and the rest never reveal their past trauma at all. In recent years, many children’s advocates have looked to shift these low reporting numbers (and correspondingly low rates of prosecution) by addressing a legal hurdle that lies in the way of many victims seeking court-based justice: the statute of limitations.

Sex abuse crisis the focus as US Catholic bishops convene

June 9th, 2019 | David Crary

The California Catholic Conference decried the confession bill as “a clear violation of religious liberty” and noted that priests violating the confidentiality of confession faced excommunication.

University of Pennsylvania professor Marci Hamilton, an expert on child-abuse prevention, said the surge of legislative action is due in part to “the dawning reality for many Americans — including lawmakers — that bishops cannot and will not solve this problem themselves.”

Prosecutors crack down on clergy abuse as bishops gather

Jun 11, 2019 | Juliet Linderman

“That would be an important step because it would set the standard for pursuing justice in these cases,” said Marci Hamilton, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and CEO of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based think tank that tracks statute of limitations reforms.

Ohio’s statute of limitations for sex crimes among worst in nation, experts say

May 26th, 2019 | Duane King

“Right now, Ohio is in the dark ages for child sex-abuse victims. There really is no state that’s worse,” said Marci Hamilton, founder and CEO of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based think tank that tracks statute of limitations reform in each state.

Several laws in Ohio combine to create a “literal system of deterrence for victims that favors the child predator and institutes that cover up for them,” Hamilton said.

Our view: NJ’s reforms to bring more sex-abuse lawsuits, maybe more reforms

New Jersey last week finally eased its time limits for filing civil lawsuits alleging sexual abuse, culminating a decade of effort energized by new cases against the Roman Catholic Church.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the sweeping bipartisan reforms of statutes of limitation that have prevented many from seeking damages because too much time had passed since the alleged abuse occurred.

Victims of childhood sexual assault will now have — starting Dec. 1 when the law takes effect — an additional 35 years to sue perpetrators, until they are 55 years old instead of the current limit of 20 years old.

What religion has to say about vaccination

May 17th, 2019 | KRISTIN E. HOLMES

Each new update in the nationwide surge of measles cases takes Dr. Paul Offit back to the battlefield that was Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia during a regional outbreak that began in 1990. By the time it ended the following year, more than 1,400 city and suburban residents had contracted the disease and nine children were dead.

Then an attending physician at the University City hospital supervising the care of young measles patients, Offit “saw how bad it could get,” he recalled. “It was harrowing, like a war zone.”

How will extending statute of limitations in sex abuse cases affect New Jersey?

May 17th, 2019 | Deena Yellin

“The opponents to the law said that it would create a flood of lawsuits that would be impossible to handle, but the truth is that it hasn’t been an overwhelming number in any state,” said Marci Hamilton, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the CEO of CHILD USA, a think tank that seeks to prevent child abuse.She pointed out that there are numerous barriers to people bringing their abusers to court. “Many of the victims have nobody to sue — their abuser could be a babysitter or someone who they don’t know where they are,” she said. “For them, the ability to file a lawsuit is something that would not help them. Others are doing fine in their lives and so they choose not to.”

New Jersey Extends Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse Victims

May 15, 2019 | Katie Malafronte

According to Professor Marci Hamilton, New Jersey’s law is distinctive because the newly determined window lets those who were sexually assaulted as adults to file lawsuits.

While the Archdiocese of Newark objected to certain parts of the bill, it stressed that overall, the Catholic Church is in favor of bringing justice and healing to victims.

“Survivors of sexual abuse deserve opportunities to seek redress against their abusers,” Murphy said Monday after the signing. “This legislation allows survivors who have faced tremendous trauma the ability to pursue justice through the court system.”

THE COST OF ABUSE | Insurance industry major player in tug-of-war over state law

May 14, 2019 | John Finnerty

The Catholic Church has been the most public opponent of efforts to change state law to allow lawsuits by victims of clerical abuse, but advocates know that there’s another powerful lobby, the insurance industry, that is also exerting pressure to stop the reforms.

The insurance industry attracts less attention from the public, but it commands as much, if not more, attentions from lawmakers.

“Don’t be fooled by the lack of a public presence,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO and academic director of Child USA, the Philadelphia-based think tank that specializes in child abuse law and statute of limitations reform. “They sit in the back room. They don’t testify.”

NJ extends statute of limitations, allows sex abuse victims much more time to sue

13 May, 2019 | Deena Yellin

“Survivors of sexual abuse deserve opportunities to seek redress against their abusers,” Murphy said Monday after the signing. “This legislation allows survivors who have faced tremendous trauma the ability to pursue justice through the court system.”

New Jersey is the 11th state to pass such a statute of limitations bill, and the reform is pending in several other states. But New Jersey’s law is distinctive because the window lets those who were sexually assaulted as adults file lawsuits, said Professor Marci Hamilton of the University of Pennsylvania, who is CEO of CHILD USA.

C’mon Pope Francis: You Can Do Better Than That

10 May 2019 | Marci A. Hamilton

Pope Francis, your Church often takes stands for social justice and the common good. How about shifting from the endless rearrangement of the deck chairs at the Vatican on child sex abuse to instead join the movement to change the system to prevent institution-based abuse and to create justice for child sex abuse victims to benefit the common good? That is a headline that would be worthy of praise, unlike this latest minor change in Vatican policies.

Number of religious land use cases spikes under Trump administration

RLUIPA doesn’t grant exemptions to zoning laws, but it is intended to make sure those laws are not applied disparately. Marci Hamilton, a legal scholar in church-state litigation, said RLUIPA is “an awful law” that usurped authority from states and local communities to determine land use because they end up threatened with millions of dollars in litigation over claims of discrimination, which she said is extremely rare.

“The reality is these lawsuits divide communities,” she said. She isn’t surprised, though, about the increase in RLUIPA filings from Mr. Trump’s Justice Department. “The political power of the religious entities in the Trump administration is extraordinary at the Department of Justice. They’ve essentially been driving policy,” she said.

At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal

The latest documentary from The Foundation for Global Sports Development and Sidewinder Films, At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal, will air on HBO Friday, May 3 at 8:00 PM PT.

Viewers will be able to stream the film on HBO GO and HBO NOW on 5:00 PM PT the same day, and it will be available On Demand Saturday, May 4.

Featuring exclusive interviews with the survivors at the center of the story, the film delves into the sports culture that allowed a predator like Larry Nassar to abuse hundreds of young women over a span of decades. This is a story that must be told, must be shared, and must be seen.

Statute of Limitations Reform Would Give Victims of Childhood Sexual Assault New Opportunity for Justice.

The accusations come at a time when states around the country are considering extending statutes of limitations for crimes like these, which have historically been very short. For organizations like the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church, who have covered up sexual assaults against children for decades, the effort to extend statutes of limitations could give more victims fresh opportunities for justice. MARCI HAMILTON is a Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, and the CEO of CHILD USA, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing child abuse.

Insurance Carriers Hold a Key to Prevent Child Sex Abuse


There is a pandemic of child sex abuse across the globe. From religious institutions to universities to boarding schools and, of course, families, we now know that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by age 18. That knowledge is spurring a legal reformation for the protection of children, and insurance carriers should be a part of this noble movement.

Many were shocked to learn that Catholic dioceses and orders have been carrying insurance coverage for the negligent prevention of child sex abuse.

Lawmaker: Murphy To Sign Bill Easing Limits on Sex Abuse Suits Soon

Lilo H. Stainton | April 26, 2019

New Jersey will soon institute a new law giving survivors of sex abuse far more latitude in how they can seek justice in court — a measure under development for nearly a decade that supporters say would be among the most expansive in the nation.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), who has led the fight to reform New Jersey’s statute of limitations on sex-abuse cases, said Gov. Phil Murphy intends to sign the bill within the next two weeks. Murphy has indicated his support for the plan, but his office declined to comment on the timing Thursday.

What If Child Abusers Are Insured against Payouts?

Marci Hamilton | April 26th, 2019

There is a pandemic of child sex abuse across the globe. From religious institutions to universities to boarding schools and, of course, families, we now know that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by age 18. That knowledge is spurring a legal reformation for the protection of children, and insurance carriers should be a part of this noble movement.

Many were shocked to learn that Catholic dioceses and orders have been carrying insurance coverage for the negligent prevention of child sex abuse. But that became clear when the victims straggled and then ran into the public square in 2002 when the Boston Globe’s Spotlight series unveiled the wretched cover up.

U.S. Supreme Court blocks South Florida priest’s libel lawsuit against Catholic Church

In Gallagher’s petition, he argued the defamatory statements against him were made outside the church, “are not related to church doctrine, and implicate matters of public safety.”

The priest says the case is bigger than just him. In a February interview, he said his unusual lawsuit should be viewed as part of a larger “public conversation” about the sexual abuse of children inside the church.

Gallagher had the backing of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that calls itself a “think tank for child protection.” Group leaders hailed his efforts and quest for justice.

“Instead of celebrating this heroic act of child protection, Gallagher’s diocese punished him, publishing numerous defamatory statements about him,” the organization wrote.

New Allegations Against NJY Camps Former Director

Hannah Dreyfus | April 15, 2019

Marci Hamilton, a national expert on child abuse prevention and CEO of Child USA, said it is “very common” for young victims of sexual assault to re-engage with the alleged offender.

“A minor is not old enough to withstand a perpetrator’s grooming tactics to find his or her way out of the loop,” she said. “Child victims can carry guilt for their whole lives for ‘going back,’ and perpetrators encourage that kind of thinking. It allows them to maintain control.”

Women Sexually Abused By Catholic Nuns Speak Up: She Told Me It Was ‘God’s Love’

Two survivors share stories of grooming, emotional manipulation and sexual abuse by nuns in the Catholic Church.

“Abuse by a female nun of a girl, it’s so far outside the expected parameters of what we read about,” Hamilton said. “It’s hard enough for victims to come to terms with what really happened to them, but to try to come to terms with something that doesn’t seem to be happening to anyone else is doubly hard.” -Marci Hamilton

Episode 9: ” What Does Justice Look Like for Survivors”

Will the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis ever end? That’s a question everyone has been asking since the latest wave of news in 2018.

In Deliver Us, host Maggi Van Dorn wants to know: How did this happen? And what, if anything, can we do to help? Hear from experts, advocates, and survivors to learn what the church can do to move forward. Because you can’t fix something until you know how it’s broken.

What Do the Church’s Victims Deserve?

By Paule Elie | April 8, 2019

The Catholic Church is turning to outside arbiters to reckon with its history of sexual abuse. But skeptics argue that its legacy of evasion continues.

Proposal would change state Constitution: Amendment would allow lawsuits on old church abuse claims.

John Finnerty | Apr 6, 2019

HARRISBURG – A Republican lawmaker has introduced legislation that would give voters the chance to change the state Constitution and allow victims of expired child sex abuse cases to sue their abusers and institutions that may have covered up the crimes even if the statute of limitations has expired.

She fled a ‘Jewish Taliban’ sect with her children. Then kidnappers tracked them down

National Post | April 3, 2019

Six weeks after fleeing Guatemala with their mother, 14-year-old Yante Teller and her brother Chaim Teller, 12, stepped away from the house where they were staying in Woodridge,a small Catskill Mountains hamlet about 130 kilometres northwest of New York City. It was just before 3 a.m. on Dec. 8, 2018. A car was waiting to hurry them away.

Two days later, the New York State Police issued an alert about the missing children, noting that the Tellers were “not believed to be in any imminent danger” and were “believed to have traveled to New York City.”

Vitale delivers justice for victims of sexual abuse | Editorial

Star-Ledger Editorial Board | March 28, 2019

Contrary to legal doctrine, justice delayed is not justice denied – at least not in perpetuity – as long as you have a righteous cause and one indomitable lawmaker.

This instructive lesson in governance comes from a bill that extends the statute of limitations in civil actions for children who were victims of sexual abuse, which is now headed for the governor’s desk after passing the Assembly by a unanimous vote Monday.

Stunning reversal: Judge vacates former youth minister’s sex convictions

Bobby Ross Jr | March 28, 2019

highly publicized Pennsylvania grand jury report last year identified more than 300 predator Catholic priests who had sexually abused more than 1,000 children going back decades.

But because the crimes were hidden by the church hierarchy, “almost every instance of abuse we found is too old to be prosecuted,” the statewide investigating body reported.

‘It’s outrageous’: Amazon pulls ‘paedophilic’ children’s clothing after complaints

Vita Molyneux | March 27, 2019

Child USA, a non-profit dedicated to protecting children and preventing abuse, has slammed the company for selling the clothing.

“It is outrageous that baby clothing with this language appears anywhere on the web, let alone Amazon,” CEO Professor Marci Hamilton told the Sun Online.

She says the clothing has serious implications for children.

“It has a way of normalizing the activity [sexual abuse of children] which is extremely dangerous to children.

More Articles:

Amanda Tarlton | March 26 2019

Michael Moran | March 26, 2019

Jimmy Nsubuga | March 26, 2019

Debbie White | March 25, 2019

Turning point for child sex abuse laws

Katie Davis | March 26, 2019

Nine states currently have no civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse, and more than two dozen others have introduced legislation to reform or extend their statutes in 2019, according to child protection think tank CHILD USA.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law last month, allowing survivors to file civil lawsuits until the age of 55. Previously, New York’s limit was age 23.

Jackson To Hire Religious Law Advisor

Bob Vosseller | March 8, 2019

JACKSON – Council members voted to hire a special advisor to help the township with its legal challenges involving religious rights.

Lawmakers in New Jersey weigh bill easing sex abuse statute of limitations

Mike Catalini | Mar 8, 2019

TRENTON, New Jersey – New Jersey lawmakers on Thursday advanced legislation aimed at making it easier for childhood sexual abuse victims to seek damages in court after hours of emotional testimony.

WHYY-FM Radio Market: Philadelphia, PA (4)

Radio Programming | March 8, 2019

[6:07:02 AM] Because I remember him pushing me to the ground that’s why advocates are pushing to expand the statute of limitations so. Survivors can stew for abuse that occurred years or even decades earlier MARCI HAMILTON with CHILD USA says the state ‘s. Current two-year statute of limitations mean scores of victims have been unable to face their abusers in court a have been. Shut down by the court system by this arbitrary deadline it’s just a deadline the bill passed the state senate committee.

‘Abuse is abuse:’ N.J. bill would expand sex abuse statute of limitations

Joe Hernandez | March 8, 2019

New Jersey’s Senate Judiciary Committee advanced a bill Thursday evening that would dramatically expand the state’s statute of limitations for sexual assault, allowing survivors to file civil lawsuits against their abusers for conduct that took place years or even decades earlier.

R. Kelly, Michael Jackson and the Lingering Questions About Child Sex Abuse Cases

Shaila Dewan | March 8, 2019

The explosive documentaries “Leaving Neverland” and “Surviving R. Kelly” have reignited a national conversation about child sex abuse.

NJ victims of sex abuse may soon get more time to file civil claims

Nicholas Pugliese, Trenton Bureau | March 7, 2019

Sexual assault victims and advocates delivered searing testimony Thursday in support of a bill that would give victims more time to file lawsuits against their alleged abusers and the places they worked.

Lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee listened for more than four hours before overwhelmingly approving a measure that would expand New Jersey’s current two-year statute of limitations for bringing civil actions for sexual abuse, a restriction that victims have argued for over a decade has prevented them from achieving justice.

‘My kind of love was not love at all’

April Baumgarten | February 28, 2019

EDGELEY — Lovice Brandenburg said she couldn’t fully articulate how she felt being sexually abused by relatives for more than a decade as a child, so she wrote it all down in a journal.

New York Molestation Survivors Have More Time to Hold Abusers Accountable

KJ McElrath | February 26, 2019

Thanks to new state legislation, adult survivors of childhood sexual molestation have additional time to hold their abusers accountable.

Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle reports that New York state lawmakers passed a law that expands protections and rights for adults who suffered sexual abuse as children. Other major news outlets report that similar bills are currently before the legislatures in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

How a New Law in New York Helps Survivors of Catholic Priests Sex Abuse

Laura Pennington | February 25, 2019

Sexual abuse victims who say the Catholic Church has avoided taking full responsibility for the behavior of priests have achieved a big step forward with the passage of a law in New York that extends the statute of limitations.

Embattled priest prays U.S. Supreme Court allows libel claim against Catholic Church

Marc Freeman | February 24, 2019

A priest from South Florida says he has faith the U.S. Supreme Court will allow him to do the unthinkable for a member of the clergy — sue the Catholic Church.

Child Victims Act has resonance for the disabled

Sarah K. Lanzo | February 22, 2019

Many New York citizens are celebrating Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Feb. 14 signing of New York’s Child Victims Act, some saying, “It’s about time!” after a more-than-decade-long political battle between survivors of childhood sexual abuse and some of the institutions that have been accused of trying to cover it up.

Eleventh state enacts law to protect victims of child sex abuse

Michele W. Berger | February 21, 2019

Victims of childhood sex abuse often aren’t ready to come forward about their experience until their late 40s or early 50s. By that time, the statute of limitations has often run out, making it too late to take any legal action against a perpetrator or institution.

With passage of the Child Victims Act at the end of January, New York state is giving abuse survivors significantly longer to sue for damages and more time to bring criminal charges. Plus, starting in August of 2019, a one-year window will open during which there will be no statute of limitations for such cases.

Montana could still have statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases with bill changes

Holly Michels | February 20, 2019

A proposal to eliminate the statute of limitations to file civil claims for sex crimes against children may be scaled back.

Several bills have been brought this legislative session in response to a case from Miles City in which an athletic trainer has been accused of molesting boys from the 1970s to 1998.

NJ Bill to Ease Abuse Statute Of Limitations Nears Vote

Hamodia | February 18, 2019

TRENTON (AP) -Victims of childhood abuse in New Jersey could soon join those in nearby New York state who have benefited from legislation that loosens restrictions on when they can seek damages in court.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, both Democrats, announced that a bill extending the statute of limitations on civil claims is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate judiciary committee early next month. The legislation would allow victims to sue up until they turn 55 or within seven years of their first realization that the abuse caused them harm. The current limit is two years. Adult victims also would have seven years from the discovery of the abuse.

Here’s what the bishops can teach the senators about handling sexual assault claims | Opinion

Marci A. Hamilton | September 21, 2018

Members of the U.S. Senate are making predictable mistakes responding to the claims of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when she was 15 years-old and he was 17 and drunk.

The senators would do well to take a page from the experiences of the Catholic bishops with child sex abuse over the last two decades.

‘Not about helping victims’: Advocates question dioceses’ compensation funds

John Finnerty | February 17, 2019

HARRISBURG – The launch of clerical abuse compensation funds in the Erie and Harrisburg Catholic dioceses this week means five of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses now have victims fund programs in operation.

300 priests statewide had molested more than 1,000 victims over decades.

FULL STORY: Diocese of Erie launches fund for sexual abuse victims

Keith Gushard | February 16, 2019

ERIE — The Diocese of Erie formally has opened the application process to pay benefits to the survivors of sexual abuse committed by clergy or laypersons of the diocese.

The full protocol of the Independent Survivors’ Reparation Program is now available on the website of the fund administrators at The diocesan website,, also provides a link to the independent site.

Top aide of Jeffrey Epstein prosecutor Acosta: We acted with integrity

Julie K. Brown | February 16,2019

MIAMI — A former top prosecutor involved in the Jeffrey Epstein sex case is defending his old boss, Alexander Acosta, whose decision to craft a secret plea deal with the wealthy New York hedge fund manager has come under federal scrutiny.

New York law gives child sex abuse victims more time to sue

Agence France-Presse | February 15, 2019

New York (AFP) – The governor of New York state on Thursday signed a law extending the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sex abuse, a move that could trigger a torrent of new complaints.

With Ink Not Yet Dry on the New York Child Victims Act, There Is Already Reason to Be Concerned About the Victims in this Process

Marci A. Hamilton | February 15, 2019

Sadly, it took next to no time in New York after the Governor signed the bill for lawyers to start moving justice away from the victims and to their own benefit—with the filing of a class action lawsuit. The very same day, one complaint was prematurely and possibly improperly filed against Rockefeller University, where serial pedophile pediatric endocrinologist Reginald Archibald abused hundreds. It is troubling to consider that it could be replicated for other institutions or all survivors, period.

With so much of its leadership compromised, is the Catholic Church irredeemable?

Michael Rezendes | February 14,2019

Each week, it seems, the scandal detonates yet again with fresh news of priests who have had their way with children, and the bishops who have allowed them to continue working as trusted clergymen. Nearly two decades after the scandal erupted in Boston and began its relentless march around the world, it’s become a crisis without end.

Bill to ease sex abuse statute of limitations nears vote

The Associated Press | February 14, 2019

TRENTON, N.J. -Victims of childhood sexual abuse in New Jersey could soon join those in other states who have benefited from legislation that loosens restrictions on when they can seek damages in court.

State Sen. Joseph Vitale and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, both Democrats, announced Thursday that a bill extending the statute of limitations on civil claims is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate judiciary committee early next month.

‘This is society’s way of saying we are sorry,’ New York Governor tells survivors of sex abus e before signing Child Victims Act into law

Elizabeth Joseph | February 14, 2019

(CNN) With survivors of sexual abuse in attendance, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, flanked by lawmakers and victims’ advocates, signed into law the Child Victims Act, ending a 13-year fight and decades of personal pain for many.

“We are sorry for what happened to you. We are sorry that it took us so long to acknowledge what happened to you. We are sorry that justice took so long. We are sorry to the other victims who, in the interim, were also violated because society was slow in acting.”

Child Victims Act signed into law

Cuomo signs bill in newsroom of New York Daily News, which championed the bill

Rachel Silberstein | February 14, 2019

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed New York’s Child Victims Act into law on Thursday, extending the statute of limitation for victims of childhood sexual abuse who pursue civil and criminal charges against their perpetrators.

Nonprofit Organization Forms Statute Of Limitations Research Institute For Child Sex Abuse

CBS Philly | February 13, 2019

Child USA will also release a publication to coincide with the institute.

Parents of clergy abuse victim donate portion of settlement to CHILD USA

Steve Tawa | February 13, 2019

The parents of a man who won what may be the largest payout to date from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in a clergy abuse case are donating a chunk of it to CHILD USA, to track the Statute of Limitations reform movement. KYW Newsradio’s Steve Tawa reports.

Philly organization pushing for clergy abuse reform laws says lawsuits turn tragedy into justice

Steve Tawa | February 13, 2019

Hamilton says public pressure is forcing state legislatures to allow child abuse victims to go after the Roman Catholic Church.

“Over half of the states this year have already introduced legislation to expand or eliminate the criminal and civil statutes of limitations. That’s a record,” she said.

Harrisburg diocese launches compensation fund for clerical abuse victims

John Finnerty | February 13, 2019

HARRISBURG — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg on Tuesday launched a 90-day claims period to allow victims of clerical abuse to seek compensation from the church.

The Harrisburg Survivor Compensation Program will be administered by Paul Finn of Commonwealth Mediation & Conciliation, Inc.

public pressure is forcing state legislatures to allow child abuse victims to go after the Roman Catholic Church.

“Over half of the states this year have already introduced legislation to expand or eliminate the criminal and civil statutes of limitations. That’s a record,” she said.

Fund for clergy sex abuse victims: Will it bring healing or protect the Catholic church?

Ivey DeJesus | February 13, 2019

Catholic bishops have long held that victims compensation programs offer a chance for victims to heal.

On Tuesday, officials from the diocese rolled out a program that will pay out millions of dollars in financial compensation to adults who were sexually abused as children by priests and church officials. The diocese has not announced the size of the fund or estimates of how much will be awarded to settle individual claims.


Bill would increase statute of limitations for victims of child sex abuse

Erica Irish | February 13, 2019

Thompson joined Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, and Aaron Freeman, R-Indianapolis, and other sexual abuse victims at a news conference Tuesday. Together, the group advocated for a bill that would offer more time to victims pursuing criminal or civil charges against an abuser.

Merritt authored Senate Bill 219 to achieve this. In particular, SB 219 would extend the statute of limitations by three years for civil suits brought against a person or entity accused of child neglect that led to sexual abuse or an intentional sexual act against a minor.

The Daily 202: Four in five Americans want Mueller’s report made public in its entirety. That may not happen.

James Hohmann | February 12, 2019

Americans across the partisan divide believe strongly and overwhelmingly that special counsel Bob Mueller’s final report on his investigation should be made public in its entirety, and a 56 percent majority trusts Mueller’s version of the facts more than President Trump’s, according to a new Washington Post-Schar School poll.

Over 700 Victims Allegedly Abused by Southern Baptist Leaders, Volunteers: Report

Bowen Xiao | February 12, 2019

Results of a six-month investigation conducted by The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News and published on Feb. 10, found the majority of the 380 clergy accused of sexual misconduct have been convicted or taken plea deals. But it also revealed a number of them had continued to work in the ministry with no punishment.

Roman Catholic dioceses in N.J. announce victim-compensation funds

Liz Navratil and Angela Couloumbis | February 11, 2019

The five Roman Catholic dioceses in New Jersey, some reeling from clergy abuse scandals, announced plans on Monday to establish a unified victim-compensation fund to provide money to people abused as children by clergy members.

Southern Baptists’ sexual abuse scandal prompts calls for criminal investigations, comparisons to Catholics

Julie Zauzmer | February 11, 2019

A report published in two Texas newspapers this past weekend detailing 20 years of sexual abuse allegations within the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has sparked calls for authorities to investigate whether leaders covered up abuse and allowed the accused to continue working in churches.

Abused in Scouting Team of Legal Titans Takes on Boy Scouts of America in Sexual Abuse Claims

AVA Law Group | February 11, 2019

Attorneys from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California have teamed up to form Abused in Scouting, a legal powerhouse featuring Stewart Eisenberg, Kenneth Rothweiler, and Joshua Schwartz of Eisenberg Rothweiler, the Philadelphia-based litigation giant, to prosecute alleged sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America.

Abused in Scouting Team of Legal Titans Takes on Boy Scouts of America in Sexual Abuse Claims

AVA Law Group | February 11, 2019

Attorneys from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California have teamed up to form Abused in Scouting, a legal powerhouse featuring Stewart Eisenberg, Kenneth Rothweiler, and Joshua Schwartz of Eisenberg Rothweiler, the Philadelphia-based litigation giant, to prosecute alleged sexual abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America.

Following sexual abuse allegation, priest who worked near Penn put on leave by Archdiocese

Chris Doyle | February 11, 2019

Rev. Steven Marinucci, a Catholic priest who worked near Penn’s campus for 10 years, has been placed on administrative leave following an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1970s.

What you need to know about New York’s Child Victims Act

Jay Tokasz | February 8, 2019

What other states have opened look-back windows allowing childhood victims abuse to sue?

Nine states have enacted some form of window legislation, according to Child USA, a Philadelphia-based organization that advocates for statute of limitation reforms and other legal changes aimed at protecting children. Those states are: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota and Utah.

Bishop reiterates sexual abuse by priests was criminal conduct

Kaitlin Bain | February 5, 2019

Bishop Curtis Guillory has reaffirmed the Diocese of Beaumont’s position regarding sexual abuses by members of the clergy after a statement from a pastor this weekend that questioned the criminal nature of the acts.

‘Real Fears’ Over Child Victims Act, Say Charedim

Hannah Dreyfus | February 6, 2019

In the wake of the passage last week in Albany of the Child Victims Act, Orthodox leaders are cautioning that “fears” of a barrage of potentially crippling lawsuits from alleged victims of child sexual abuse against yeshivas and camps “are real.

Corey Feldman talks R. Kelly, abuse in Hollywood and how #MeToo is just the beginning

Yahoo Finance | February 4, 2019

Feldman has also signed on as an ambassador for Child USA, an organization dedicated to protecting children from abuse and neglect. As part of his work, he became a vocal advocate for the Child Victims Act, which New York state passed in late January. The bill allows survivors of sexual abuse to seek prosecution of their abusers in civil cases up until the age of 55, up from the previous limit of 23. “What we’ve just done in New York is a tremendous, tremendous victory. This is one of the most exciting weeks of my life,” Feldman says.

Child Victims Act passes, extending opportunities for survivors to file charges

Teri West | January 29, 2019

New York’s Child Victims Act passed Monday, more than a decade after survivors of childhood sexual abuse and advocates began pushing for the legislation.

The law will allow survivors to file criminal charges until age 28 and civil charges until age 55. The act also creates a one-year window for survivors to reintroduce claims that exceeded the statute of limitations.

After long battle, NY passes Child Victims Act

Brendan J. Lyons | January 29, 2019

ALBANY — The state Legislature, buoyed by the recent Democratic takeover of the Senate chamber, on Monday voted overwhelmingly to pass the Child Victims Act, ending a more than decade-long political battle between survivors of childhood sexual abuse and some of the institutions that have been accused of trying to cover it up.

State grapples with how to best help victims

John Finnerty | January 29,2019

HARRISBURG — Pennsylvania voters could be asked in November whether the state Constitution should be amended to give victim’s rights as much protection as those afforded to criminals.

Pennsylvania is one of just nine states that don’t have rights for crime victims written into the state Constitution, said Jennifer Riley, state director for Marsy’s Law, a group pushing to get a constitutional amendment for victims in all 50 states.

Why this time was different: The church’s objections to the Child Victims Act finally ran out

Marci Hamilton | January 29, 2019

It took more than 15 years, but when the Child Victims Act finally made it to the floor of the Senate, it passed unanimously. This is the harbinger of good things to come in other states.

For the very first time, the most powerful bishop in a state — Cardinal Timothy Dolan — publicly withdrew his opposition to the bill. That opened the door for Republicans to vote for the Child Victims Act, but it also changed the discourse about window legislation across the United States and even the world.

New York lawmakers to ease statute of limitations for molestation

David Klepper | January 28, 2019

The measure, known as the Child Victims Act, would also create a one-year litigation window for victims to file lawsuits now barred by the statute of limitations. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has said he will sign the measure into law.

N.Y. law change would deliver abuse survivors day in court, hope to Pennsylvanians

Deb Erdley | January 28, 2019

In Pennsylvania, “window of opportunity” legislation has stalled in the state Senate twice in the last three years. Child advocates hope New York’s move will revive enthusiasm for change here. Victim advocates and abuse survivors worked relentlessly for change in Harrisburg last year after a statewide grand jury reported rampant allegations of child sexual abuse by clergy in Roman Catholic dioceses across the state over seven decades.

N.Y. Senate votes to give victims of child sex abuse more years to sue, ending years-long battle

Corky Siemaszko | January 28, 2019

The long and bitter battle for legislation that would allow New York sex abuse victims to sue the Roman Catholic Church and other organizations for monetary damages ended with victory Monday when the state Senate passed the Child Victims Act.

New York passes Child Victims Act, allowing child sex abuse survivors to sue their abusers

Augusta Anthony | January 28, 2019

New York (CNN)The New York State Legislature passed a bill on Monday that will increase the statute of limitations for cases of child sexual abuse.

The Child Victims Act will allow child victims to seek prosecution against their abuser until the age of 55 in civil cases, a significant increase from the previous limit of age 23. For criminal cases, victims can seek prosecution until they turn 28. The bill also includes a one-year window during which victims of any age or time limit can come forward to prosecute.

Victims of Child Sexual Abuse Are Poised to Win Expanded Protections in N.Y.

ALBANY — For more than a decade, Democratic lawmakers in New York have tried to allow victims of decades-old childhood sexual abuse to seek justice — only to meet fierce opposition from powerful interests including insurance companies, private schools and religious leaders from the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish communities.

EXCLUSIVE: Revised, tougher Child Victims Act set to be introduced in NYS Legislature

Kenneth Lovett | January 22, 2019

ALBANY – State lawmakers will soon introduce a revised, tougher bill designed to make it easier for victims of child victims abuse to seek justice as adults, the Daily News has learned.

The latest draft obtained by the Daily News would raise the top age that a child sex abuse survivor can bring a civil lawsuit to 55, up from the current 23.

Is your child’s sports coach a sexual predator? New website can help you check

Three recent cases of accused WNY coaches

Charlie Specht | January 21, 2019

It’s the worst nightmare of every Soccer Mom and Sports Dad: A sexual predator masquerading as a youth sports coach for their child.

But the good news for parents is there are new online tools you can use to help keep your children safe.

Catholic League: Oxford Union ‘Makes a Mockery’ of What a Debate Should Be

Emily Ward | January 17, 2019

Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the Oxford Union Society at Oxford University is making a “mockery” of what a debate should be given its apparent stacking of the deck against the Catholic Church in a debate scheduled for Feb.28.

The forthcoming debate will address the motion, “The House Believes The Catholic Church Can Never Pay For Its Sins. There will be five speakers, three defending the proposition and two opposing it. However, the selected debaters apparently are all anti-Catholic to one degree or another, said Donohue, which makes the contest not credible.

Oxford Union Sponsors Staged Debate

Bill Donohue | January 16, 2019

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the latest game played by the Oxford Union:

“This House Believes That England Can Never Pay For Its Sins Against Irish Catholics.” Imagine a debate on this subject with representatives of the Irish Republican Army on one side and Sinn Fein (the political arm of the IRA) on the other. This is what the Oxford Union is doing by stacking the deck against the Catholic Church on the motion, “The House Believes The Catholic Church Can Never Pay For Its Sins.”

More Lawsuits Seek to Hold the Holy See Accountable

Mindy Aquon | January 16, 2019

In hopes of holding the highest levels of the Catholic Church in Rome responsible for the sexual abuse of children on Guam, the Vatican has been named in two additional lawsuits filed in the Superior and District Courts of Guam.

Washington woman sexually abused 3 times, raised to deny suffering in Christian Science

Karina Mazhukhina | January 16th 2019

Neilson says that because she survived a childhood as a Christian Scientist, a religion that encourages prayer instead of medical treatment as the primary method of healing.

She was sexually abused three times – the last time when she was 15. A 21-year-old family friend cut her so badly during the attack she needed a blood transfusion. Her mother was out of town on her honeymoon and her grandmother was in charge of her at the time. Neilson says her grandmother strongly opposed the transfusion, but doctors talked her into giving her permission.

Film Screening at State Capitol Highlights Faith-Healing Child Deaths

Eric Tegethoff | January 14, 2019

BOISE, Idaho – A documentary screening at the Idaho State Capitol on Wednesday aims to shed light on the sometimes deadly consequences of the state’s faith-healing exemptions to providing medical care for children.

“Dark Clouds Over Canyon County” examines the history of faith healing in Idaho, which can involve treating illnesses and injuries with prayer.

Why It Could Be Hard to Mute R. Kelly

Elizabeth A. Harris and Ben Sisario | January 13, 2019

He has been accused of having sex with minors. At 27, he married a 15-year-old girl. Some women say he runs an emotionally abusive sex cult.

But in more than two decades of persistent allegations, the R&B star at the center of them, R. Kelly, has never been convicted of a crime, and in no meaningful way has his career suffered.

Cuomo to put Child Victims Act in budget proposal

Associated Press | January 12, 2019

The proposal, known as the Child Victims Act, would give victims more time to seek criminal charges or file lawsuits against their abusers. And it would open a one-year window for victims to file lawsuits now barred by the statute of limitations.

The act was blocked for years by Senate Republicans, but with Democrats now in charge it’s expected to pass easily. The Catholic Church warns that the one-year litigation window could have crippling financial effects.

Fear and Fact-Checking: What You Face When Making a Film About Sexual Abuse

Disclosing abuse—and trying to document it—can be difficult and dangerous.

Leila Wills | January 11, 2019

As a filmmaker whose current work focuses on sexual abuse, I’ve often been asked why I tell stories about what some people consider to be unspeakable.

Telling these kinds of stories is difficult—with the questions of why you are doing it and whether it’s a money grab, the threat of violence, and the challenges inherent to making a film from the raw material of allegations.

We Catholics Don’t Particularly Need a Church Mary

W Maxwell | January 8, 2019

There is an eye-popping report about child abuse committed by the Christian Brothers in Australia from 1920s to 1960s. It is dated 2014, signed by Gail Furness, QC, and forms part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse.

I will mention some of the bad stuff below, but the point of this article is to remind readers that all the investigating may have been misplaced. Sure, the Church hierarchy acted terribly in regard to children. Whenever a priest got caught pedophiling, he was assigned to a different parish where it was guaranteed he would sin again.

Abuse Investigation Delayed and Polluted by Internal Reporting

Joel Avrunin | January 6, 2019

Due to increased awareness about abuse, we now have Jewish community serving organizations that work hard to prevent abuse and “interven[e] effectively and with cultural sensitivity when abuse occurs.” Unfortunately, these community organizations can unintentionally make the problem worse in many ways when they don’t clearly teach that mandated reporters must call the police themselves. “Mandated reporter” means “mandated reporter to the police”, not “mandated reporter to the organization’s director”. This lack of clarity leads to some schools, synagogues, and summer camps directing employees to internally report abuse, delaying the reporting process. During this delay, the administration often conducts their own in-house investigation and reports to the police after they are done.

Child Sex Abuse Statutes of Limitations, and the Catholic Bishops’ Spiritual Retreat

Marci A. Hamilton | January 3, 2019

Hundreds of American bishops are gathering for a week-long spiritual retreat at a seminary in Illinois in response to their self-inflicted wounds of grotesque child sex abuse compounded by their intentional cover-up. They don’t plan to address policy, but rather to pray. I have some advice for them: cut the prayers and instead start a political retreat on the victims’ access to justice

Dioceses have gone bankrupt after opening window to sex abuse lawsuits

Aaron Aupperlee | December 29, 2018

Like dominoes falling one after another, dioceses across Minnesota declared bankruptcy in the wake of the state passing a law that gave victims of sexual assault a three-year window to file civil lawsuits regardless of when the abuse occurred.

Five of the six Catholic dioceses in Minnesota, home to about 1.2 million Catholics, have turned to Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection to settle hundreds of claims of sexual abuse at the hands of priests.

Can victim funds help heal wounds of Pa. church sex abuse scandal?

Aaron Aupperlee | December 29, 2018

The 15-page packet of information John Delaney received in the mail weighed heavily on him.

Inside was information about a fund set up by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to compensate victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests and an application to apply.

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do. It’s a hard pill to swallow,” Delaney, 48, said in a telephone interview from his Sevierville, Tenn., home.

Proposed laws in D.C. and Va. would require clergy to report sexual abuse

Michelle Boorstein | December 26, 2018

In response to recent Catholic Church clergy sex abuse scandals, lawmakers in the District and Virginia say will soon propose legislation that adds clergy to the list of people mandated by law to report child abuse or neglect.

Bible’s Influence on the Constitution

C-Span3 General Programming | December 26, 2018

American University Professor Daniel Dreisbach argued that the Bible had a significant influence on the American Constitution. After his remarks, a panel of historians debated this premise. The National Constitution Center and the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center co-hosted this event.

The panel included Professor Marci Hamilton discussed how religious entities routinely argue for Autonomy from the law, making up the Church Autonomy Doctrine which allows them to argue that religious entities aren’t liable and responsible and can’t be sued for such issues as sex abuse of children.

Bankruptcy Possibility as Boy Scouts Confront Sex Abuse Claims

Dune Lawrence | December 21, 2018

It took Robb Lawson until he was 45 to finally confront a dark memory from his days as a Boy Scout.

The lawsuit he filed against the Boy Scouts of America in 2016 represented a personal turning point for Lawson. For the Boy Scouts, his story reflects the nationwide scandal and financial stakes that have pushed the 108-year-old organization to consider filing for bankruptcy.

Will the Child Victims Act pass the State Senate?

Spectrum News Staff | December 20, 2018

As Democrats get ready to take control of the state legislature next year, advocates are hoping lawmakers will take action on the Child Victims Act. Errol Louis discussed the legislation with two of those advocates: Kathryn Robb, a survivor of child sexual abuse and a member of the nonprofit Child USA and Safe Horizon’s Michael Polenberg.

To end child abuse in sports, we need a protective ‘seat belt’

Marci Hamilton | December 20, 2018

Seat belts were a revolutionary change in transportation that have cut the risk of lethal car crashes nearly in half. We went from a society of families with children free to roam about in the car and therefore capable of being thrown out on impact, to one where children are legally required to be strapped into a safety seat until they are large enough to use an ordinary seat belt. The changes happened through a combination of legal reform and insurance industry involvement.

Sports now needs its own seat belt — for child sex abuse. With approximately 45 million children in the United States involved in sports, this should be a national priority.

Updates to the Grand Jury Report of Sexual Abuse in Pennsylvania’s Catholic Dioceses

Peter Angelos | December 18, 2018

In August, a grand jury report was released detailing allegations of sexual abuse by more than 300 hundred priests of more than 1,000 victims across Pennsylvania. The report has had wide-reaching consequences and has spurred investigations within various other dioceses across the country, including in Washington D.C. and Maryland. Since the release of the grand jury report, a multitude of events have transpired, including new investigations, civil and criminal charges, restitution efforts and more. Here, the attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos detail the latest updates to the cases of sexual abuse within dioceses across Pennsylvania.

Leave us kids alone: A look at child marriage in the US and beyond

Bette Brown | December 15, 2018

More than 12m girls around the world, some not even teenagers, are married before the age of 18.

There were at least 207,468 such marriages in the States between 2000 and 2015, or an average of almost 40 a day.

Pastor who sexually preyed on girl now helps her case against prominent Modesto church

Garth Stapley | December 14, 2018

A former youth pastor who sexually abused a girl three decades ago is cooperating now with her attorneys in a lawsuit against Modesto’s CrossPoint Church, formerly First Baptist Church.

In return for his help, Brad Tebbutt was dropped as a defendant in the lawsuit brought by Jennifer Roach, now 47 and living in Washington state.

Was your child’s coach banned for sexual misconduct? Better check

Nancy Armour, Rachel Axon & Brent Schrotenboer | December 13, 2018

Gerald Murphy served time in prison after being convicted of lewd and lascivious assault of a child. The state of Florida permanently revoked his teaching certificate for the crime.

Murphy was also a youth coach, a member of USA Taekwondo. The elite sports organization’s leadership eventually found out about his past. So did high-ranking officials at the U.S. Olympic Committee.

The Latest Report on Institution-based Sex Abuse Is Issued on the United States Olympic Committee’s Failures

Marci A. Hamilton | December 13, 2018

There have now been countless reports on the cover-up of child sex abuse in the United States starting with the Catholic Church, broken down into its dioceses, like Boston; Philadelphia, which I discussed here; and most of the rest of Pennsylvania, which I discussed here. Once the paradigm of abuse in the Church had sunk in, other institutions emerged from the gloom, like Penn State, the report for which I discussed here. There was also the grand jury report about sex abuse in a private boarding school, the Solebury School, in Pennsylvania.

Attorneys Accuse Archdiocese of Sowing Confusion About Victim Compensation Fund

Max Mitchell | December 11, 2018

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s compensation fund for victims of childhood sexual abuse has been lauded by many as a step in the right direction for survivors who face long odds when it comes to getting their day in court. But several attorneys said they are concerned about the fund’s impact on access to justice.

Private schools to report abuse under new NY law

Chad Arnold | December 10, 2018

ALBANY – New legislation signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo reforms how private schools must report child abuse allegations and requires those employed by schools to undergo training to identify victims.

Abuse Victims Still Don’t Get Justice

Leslie C. Griffin | December 10, 2018

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently decided to permanently redact the names of eleven priests from the Fortieth Grand Jury’s report on sexual misconduct by the clergy in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses. The court ruled that the priests’ interest in their reputations was one of the “inherent rights of mankind” that the court needed to protect by taking the priests’ names out of the report. Redaction was the only path they thought they could find to protect the priests’ due process.

Clergy Victims Press States To Open Window On Abuse Suits

Daniel Siegal | December 9, 2018

George Koharchik had a reputation as his Johnstown, Pennsylvania, parish’s “favorite priest” when Shaun Dougherty met him in 1980 at the age of 10, and the time they spent together started out innocently enough.

But Dougherty said those interactions with his religion teacher and peewee basketball coach were just grooming for fondling and other sexual abuse that continued until Dougherty was 13.

Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta Must Go

Marci A. Hamilton | December 6, 2018

Last week, the Miami Herald published a searing investigative report by reporter Julie Brown on the fact that multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein sexually abused dozens of girls at his home in Palm Beach and was permitted to cut a ridiculously lenient deal with local, state, and federal prosecutors. He was allowed to plead to two counts of prostitution, leading to a measly 13-month sentence, where he was even treated to daily work release. He did have to register as a sex offender, but with dozens of girls there and across the United States (and the globe) as his victims, the deal was beyond the pale.

Expert: Pa. Supreme Court’s decision to ‘black out’ names is slap at abuse victims

Mark Abrams | December 5, 2018

A national expert on child abuse says the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision to permanently “black out” the names of 11 men appearing in the final report of the statewide investigating grand jury on clergy sex abuse was a public slap at abuse victims.

Marci Hamilton is a University of Pennsylvania law professor and founder of the Philadelphia-based Child U.S.A. organization, and says the Supreme Court missed the mark.

Trump cabinet member’s leniency toward sex offender stirs outrage

Rachel Maddow | December 3, 2018

Marci Hamilton, University of Pennsylvania law professor, talks with Rachel Maddow about the shocking discrepancy between the nature of the crimes Jeffrey Epstein is accused of committing and the light sentence he received in a deal overseen by Alex Acosta who now serves as Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary.

‘This is why children get abused’: Watch head of CHILD USA go off on Trump’s Labor Secretary Alex Acosta

Bob Brigham | December 3, 2018

Leading legal scholar and child advocate Marci Hamilton went off on Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary during a Monday evening appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show.

“Despite local police uncovering allegations of straight-up child rape and the FBI identifying dozens of victims, Alex Acosta struck a ‘no prosecution agreement’ in the Jeffrey Epstein case in Florida,” Maddow noted. “He struck a deal with Epstein that made Epstein immune from prosecution for federal crimes.”

Why would police ever destroy a rape kit belonging to a child or teenager?

Marci A. Hamilton & Seven Berkowitz | December 1, 2018

A 4-year-old tells her mother that her uncle abused her. She reports this soon after she says it happened. The girl is taken to a hospital and undergoes a forensic exam intended to recover DNA evidence — her rape kit. But charges are not filed because police struggle with what is admittedly one of the toughest crimes to investigate. The child’s untested rape kit is put on a shelf in an evidence room.

Perversion of Justice: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime

Julie K. Brown | December 2, 2018

On a muggy October morning in 2007, Miami’s top federal prosecutor,Alexander Acosta, had a breakfast appointment with a former colleague, Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Lefkowitz.

His client, Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, 54, was accused of assembling a large, cultlike network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day, the Town of PalmBeach police found.

How the trashing of rape kits failed victims and jeopardizes public safety

Ashley Fantz, Sergio Hernandez and Sonam Vashi | November 29, 2018

A CNN investigation into the destruction of rape kits in dozens of agencies across the country found that police trashed evidence in 400 cases before the statutes of limitations expired or when there was no time limit to prosecute.

The number is likely higher and was arrived at through an analysis of the departments’ own records.

5 takeaways from CNN’s investigation into rape kit destruction

Ashley Fantz , Sergio Hernandez and Sonam Vashi| November 29, 2018

In the era of #MeToo and stories about the alleged perpetrators of sexual violence, CNN’s exclusive investigation “Destroyed” turns the spotlight on those responsible for protecting the public.

An examination into the destruction of rape kits in dozens of agencies across the country found that police trashed evidence in 400 cases before the statutes of limitations expired or when there was no time limit to prosecute.

Catholic church facing declining dollars and participation as investigation widens

Tim Darragh | November 29, 2018

“I think 2019 will be a very big year,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA, which advocates for laws that protect children. She expects Pennsylvania and other states to pass windows.

If that happens, she said, it’s likely that the majority of lawsuits would be filed by those abused not by priests, but by family members and friends, coaches and others.

Hamilton said compensation funds are positive developments for survivors who do not want to go through the court system.

Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. His victims were kept in the dark

Julie K. Brown | November 28, 2018

At the end of the 68-minute hearing, the 55-year-old silver-haired financier — accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls — was fingerprinted and handcuffed, just like any other criminal sentenced in Florida.

But inmate No. W35755 would not be treated like other convicted sex offenders in the state of Florida, which has some of the strictest sex offender laws in the nation.

How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime

Julie K. Brown | November 28, 2018

On a muggy October morning in 2007, Miami’s top federal prosecutor, Alexander Acosta, had a breakfast appointment with a former colleague, Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Lefkowitz.

But on the morning of the breakfast meeting, a deal was struck — an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved.

The #MeToo of the orange and powerful

Annieli | November 28, 2018

Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who is one of the nation’s leading advocates for reforming laws involving sex crimes against children, said what Acosta and other prosecutors did is similar to what the Catholic Church did to protect pedophile priests.

Authorities search Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for records relating to accused Conroe priest

Nicole Hensley and Samantha Ketterer | November 28, 2018

Dozens of state and local law enforcement swarmed the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s downtown office Wednesday to seize records related to Father Manuel La Rosa-Lopez, the priest accused of sexually abusing at least two children who attended a Conroe church.

Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon said the surprise search was aimed at a trove of employment and disciplinary records related to La Rosa-Lopez and his time at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Conroe.

Report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse spurs wave of probes

Tom Jackman, Michelle Boorstein and Julie Zauzmer | November 23, 2018

The explosive report about sexual abuse by Catholic priests unveiled by a Pennsylvania grand jury in August has set off an unprecedented wave of investigations over the last several months, with attorneys general in 14 states and the District of Columbia announcing probes and demanding documents from Catholic officials. Those efforts have been joined by a federal investigation out of Philadelphia that may become national in scope.

The Pennsylvania report on clergy sex abuse spawned a wave of probes nationwide. Now what?

Tom Jackman, Michelle Boorstein & Julie Zauzmer | November 22, 2018

The explosive report about sexual abuse by Catholic priests unveiled by a Pennsylvania grand jury in August has set off an unprecedented wave of investigations over the last several months, with attorneys general in 14 states and the District of Columbia announcing probes and demanding documents from Catholic officials. Those efforts have been joined by a federal investigation out of Philadelphia that may become national in scope.

The new investigations are taking place in a very different climate than existed in 2002, when the Boston Globe exposed decades of abuse and coverups in that city. Many lay Catholics have lost faith in the church’s ability to right itself and are pushing for civil authorities to hold high-ranking church officials accountable. There’s also a greater willingness by law enforcement to do battle with a church that has become a far less formidable local presence. And the graphic grand jury report has spurred widespread public outrage.

Sins of the Fathers

Mary Harris | November 14, 2018

Survivors of Catholic clergy sexual abuse have gone after the church in a piecemeal fashion. But the Roman Catholic Church’s cover-up of child sexual abuse goes back decades, and experts say it reaches the upper echelons of church leadership. What would it take to go after the Vatican? We talk to someone who’s tried it: Marci Hamilton, a professor and founder of CHILD USA.

Georgia Olympic wrestling official investigated over predator coach

Meris Lutz | November 12, 2018

“SafeSport is like a black hole,” said Marci Hamilton, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who specializes in child sex abuse prosecution. “When people are trying to figure out how to protect their children, they’re not getting answers.”

She’s concerned that governing bodies are using SafeSport’s involvement as an excuse not to take action. She said USA Wrestling is an independent organization with a legal obligation to remove anyone who represents a threat to athletes, with or without a SafeSport ruling.

Child sex abuse survivors celebrate Democratic takeover of NYS Senate

Kenneth Lovett | November 12, 2018

Child sex abuse survivors are celebrating last week’s Democratic takeover of the state Senate, saying it bodes well for quick passage of the Child Victims Act.

The measure that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults has been bottled up for years by the Republican Senate majority.

UPDATE: Pennsylvania bishops pledge to have victim compensation fund in place in 2019

John Finnerty | November 8, 2018

The move to create the compensation fund shouldn’t end the conversation about whether to open a civil window for lawsuits, said Marci Hamilton, CEO and academic director of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based think tank focusing on child protection.

“I do not oppose such funds so long as they are not subject to non-disclosure agreements, are not mandatory, and provide fair compensation for the damage done to the survivor,” she said. “They can be a good avenue for the survivor who is fragile or who doesn’t want to go through the rigors of the legal system.”

Having failed their duty, Catholic bishops should turn over secret archives

The Inquirer Editorial Board| November 7, 2018

In a far-reaching special report last Sunday, journalists from the Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe found that the leaders of the U.S. Catholic Church are far better at covering up child sexual abuse than stopping it.

Rally outside Norwich church calls for greater transparency for sexual abuse

Kevin Aherne | November 3, 2018

A group of activists held a rally outside Norwich’s St. Patrick Cathedral Saturday, calling on the diocese for more transparency regarding sexual assault allegations involving clergy, and to compel state legislators to remove the statute of limitations on reporting sexual abuse.

Former US gymnast shares her story at Philly’s inaugural All Survivors Day

Patt Toddy | November 3, 2018

Abuse victims came together Saturday for the inaugural All Survivors Day at Independence Mall.

Organizers say they wanted to give people a safe place to share their stories and support as they fight for justice.

Hope and pain stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Old City as Sarah Klein, former gymnast for Team USA, spoke about a dubious honor.

Dems seek to capitalize on Senate’s failure to pass abuse victim relief

John Finnerty | October 27, 2018

Democrats hope the fallout from the biggest controversy of the fall legislative session will help them make a dent in the Republican supermajority in the state Senate.

“Sen. Scarnati’s refusal to let his caucus vote according to each Senator’s conscience is nothing but politics,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO of CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based think tank specializing in child abuse policy. “It is callous toward the entire population of child sex abuse victims.”

Federal Government Tells Catholic Bishops Not to Destroy Sex Abuse Documents

Laurie Goodstein | October 26, 2018

The Department of Justice has sent a sweeping request to every Roman Catholic diocese in the United States not to destroy documents related to the handling of child sexual abuse, a sign that the federal investigation into the church could grow far more extensive.

A powerful lobby blocked changes in Pa. child sex abuse laws. Here’s who and here’s why.

Candy Woodall | October 25, 2018

Two powerful groups lined the halls of the Pennsylvania State Capitol Building on Oct. 17.

One group included people who identify as victims or survivors of Catholic priest sex abuse.

The other group represented the Catholic church and its insurance companies, which could have been on the hook for millions in reparations to such victims.

Washington’s attorney general opens probe into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy

Peter Jamison and Michelle Boorstein | October 23, 2018

WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine said Tuesday that his office has launched an investigation into sexual abuse by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Washington, the latest in a string of state-level law enforcement officials now looking into the Catholic Church’s handling of abuse complaints.

Altoona-Johnstown diocese confirms it received federal grand jury subpoenas

Lauren Muthler | October 23, 2018

The Altoona-Johnstown diocese, based in Hollidaysburg, confirmed Tuesday that it did receive federal grand jury subpoenas and is cooperating with the investigation.

Altoona-Johnstown is the last of the state’s eight dioceses to confirm that they’ve received grand jury subpoenas from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Feds Launch Sex Abuse Probe Of Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic Church

NPR News | October 19, 2018

The Department of Justice has launched an investigation of child sex abuse within Pennsylvania’s Roman Catholic Church, sending subpoenas to dioceses across the state seeking private files and records to explore the possibility that priests and bishops violated federal law in cases that go back decades, NPR has learned.

Feds: Child Explotation Focus of Pennsylvania Church Probe

Jafet Serrato | October 19, 2018

The justice department, for the first time ever, is opening an investigation into the child sex abuse within the Catholic Church. The government is demanding bishops in evidence pointing to anyone under their supervision who took children across state lines, used phones or computers to send sexual messages or told anyone not to contact police. Marci Hamilton of CHILD USA, “It’s about time. The federal government has been silent on sex abuse in the Catholic Church ever since the story broke from Boston in 2002”. 301 predator priests in six dioceses have been named in an 800-page grand jury report released in August… that report detailed widespread sexual abuse going back decades.

Federal prosecutors open clergy abuse probe in Pennsylvania

Maryclaire Dale & Eric Tucker | October 18, 2018

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Federal prosecutors have opened an investigation of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania, using subpoenas to demand secret files and testimony from high-ranking leaders in what victims’ advocates say is the first such probe ever launched by the U.S. Justice Department.

Senate Republican opposition to retroactive window stalls Pa. child sex abuse reform bill

Marc Levy | October 18, 2018

Legislation to respond to Pennsylvania’s landmark grand jury report accusing hundreds of Roman Catholic priests of sexually abusing children over decades stalled on the Legislature’s final scheduled voting day of 2018 amid a showdown over a key provision.

Legal Reaction to U.S. Justice Department’s Investigation of Alleged Child Sex Abuse in Roman Catholic Churches in Pennsylvania

Peggy Lee | October 18, 2018

The U.S. Department of Justice is now investigating alleged child sexual abuse inside Roman Catholic dioceses across Pennsylvania.

The investigation follows a scathing report issued in August by a state grand jury.

The report alleged that more than 300 predator priests abused more than 1,000 children in the Commonwealth over several decades.

Former USA Gymnastics Head Arrested For Covering For Nassar

Grace Carr | October 18, 2018

USA Gymnastics’ former president Steve Penny was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Tennessee Wednesday for allegedly covering up evidence related to Larry Nassar, the former team doctor who was convicted of sexually abusing female athletes.

Why Do We Believe Some Abuse Victims Over Others?

Dan Murphy | October 18, 2018

The recent news that the Rev. Thomas Kreiser, a priest who was serving at the Church of St. Joseph’s in Bronxville, has been removed from his position for accusations of inappropriate behavior with a minor adds another chapter to a national sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church that affects Westchester.


National Constitution Center | October 18, 2018

Join us for a talk by Daniel Dreisbach, author of Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers, followed by a conversation with leading scholars about the influence of religion on the Founders and our founding documents. Leading scholars participating in the conversation include Marci Hamilton, Daniel Mark, and Russell Shorto. Jeffrey Rosen, president and CEO of the National Constitution Center, moderates. This event is presented in partnership with the Faith and Liberty Discovery Center.


Is the Harvey Weinstein Criminal Case in Trouble?

Rebecca Keegan | October 12, 2018

Prosecutors in the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault case hit a major stumbling block this week, when they acknowledged that the New York Police Department’s lead detective in the case had withheld important evidence that could be favorable to the disgraced producer. The revelation, which led the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to drop one of the six sex-crime charges against Weinstein, could imperil the broader indictment against him, with five other counts involving two other women.

Pope Francis accepts Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s resignation as D.C. archbishop

Jeff Glor | October 12, 2018

CBS News interviews Marci Hamilton regarding Cardinal Wuerl’s criminal liability in Pennsylvania for his involvement in protecting predator priests.

Bucks County senators pressured to support child sex abuse bill

Kyle Bagenstose | October 8, 2018

Mark Rozzi, a state representative from Berks County who was raped by a priest as a child, visited Bucks County on Monday and called on state Sens. McIlhinney and Tomlinson to support a measure that would open up a two-year window in the statute of limitations.

Handful of days remain to pass critical reform for sex abuse victims, say advocates

FOX 29 Philadelphia | October 8, 2018

Time is running out to give victims of sexual abuse a two-year window to sue their abusers for damages in Pennsylvania, say advocates.

Legislation has passed the House and is now sitting on the Senate floor.

Senate Republicans weigh alternatives to giving child sex abuse victims more time to sue abusers

Charles Thompson | October 8, 2018

This will be a big week for work on Senate Bill 261, the hotly-debated legislation carrying changes designed to give child sex-abuse victims and prosecutors a longer period to bring the abusers to court.

End-of-session showdown looms over proposed relief for child sex crime victims

John Finnerty | October 6, 2018

HARRISBURG – The state Senate appears likely to make substantial changes to legislation that passed the state House and would have provided relief to victims of old child sex crimes, like those detailed in a damning grand jury report into cover-ups by the Catholic church.

The Response to the Kavanaugh Allegations Exposes the Lessons We Failed to Learn from the Catholic Clergy’s Abuse

Marci A. Hamilton | October 4, 2018

For those of us who work on issues involving the sexual assault of children, the Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexual-assault discourse has been jarring. This is particularly so given that his first accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, was 15 years old and therefore underage at the time of the allegations. And it is even more so the case because of how it contrasts with what we’ve supposedly learn from the recent revelations about the trauma of clergy sexual abuse.

What Do the Cases Involving Bill Cosby, Clergy Sex Abuse, and Brett Kavanaugh Have in Common? Powerful Men Who Think Themselves Powerful Enough to Make Credible Accusations Disappear, But They Are Wrong

Marci Hamilton | September 27, 2018

Each of these instances is at a different stage in the justice system, but they are all cut from the same cloth. Wonderful, upstanding men are being charged with sex abuse and assault, and other powerful men race to defend their honor. Then the truth brings them all down.

In the fight to help clergy sex abuse victims, one state beat the odds and got it done

Ivey DeJesus | September 27, 2018

In 2007, the Delaware Legislature was considering a piece of legislation that would open a temporary timeframe during which adults who had been sexually abused as children could file civil suits against their predators.

See Anything, Say Something?

Naomi Schaefer Riley | September 25, 2018

In Catholic parishes around the world, at elite private schools such as Phillips Exeter Academy and St. George’s School, and in institutions such as the U.S. Olympic Committee, people who knew about longstanding sexual abuse of children and teenagers ignored it or covered it up. A rash of “good people” did nothing, and evil prevailed.

One way to try to prevent this from happening in the future is to legally require that employees of any child-serving organization report their suspicions about abuse to authorities.

As Cosby Sentencing Unfolds, Pennsylvanians Demand Accountability For Sexual Abuse

Carol Kuruvilla | September 24, 2018

Sexual abusers faced a reckoning on Monday in Pennsylvania ― whether they were celebrities shielded by their fame or priests protected by religious institutions.

The same day disgraced actor Bill Cosby began his sentencing hearing in Norristown for sexual assault, people marched to the state capitol about 100 miles away in Harrisburg to support survivors of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic clergy.

Larry Nassar victims to speak at sexual abuse survivor rally in Harrisburg

Bryanna Gallagher | September 24, 2018

HARRISBURG Pa.,– Sexual abuse survivors, advocates, and a handful of state leaders will join forces Monday night at the capitol in Harrisburg, for a survivor rally.

The sexual abuse survivor rally will begin at 5:45 p.m., at the main capitol steps. Speakers will be sharing their stories of sexual abuse while officials call on the Pennsylvania Legislature to act in defense of the survivors of child sex abuse.

Highlighting two women who will be speaking at the rally– Rachael Denhollander and Jamie Dantzscher.

Anti-abuse Activists Pan US Catholic Bishops’ New Proposals

David Crary | September 20, 2018

Lawyers and advocates for victims of clergy sex-abuse are assailing as inadequate some new steps announced by U.S. Catholic bishops to curtail the abuse scandals that have deeply shaken the church this year.

Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania professor who has studied sex abuse statute of limitations, depicted the bishop’s statement as “little more than words … while they lobby against justice for the victims.”

Here’s what the bishops can teach the senators about handling sexual assault claims | Opinion

Marci A. Hamilton | September 20, 2018

Members of the U.S. Senate are making predictable mistakes responding to the claims of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when she was 15 years-old and he was 17 and drunk.

Clergy sex abuse survivors put statute of limitations reform in the spotlight in new video

Brandie Kessler | September 20, 2018

In a new video, Catholic clergy sex abuse survivors demand lawmakers act to reform the state’s statute of limitations with a retroactive window.

“We don’t need your apologies,” survivor Todd Frey says to the camera.

“We don’t need your prayers,” survivor Shaun Dougherty says.

“We need justice,” survivor Mary McHale says, emphasizing each word.

Anti-abuse activists pan US Catholic bishops’ new proposals

David Crary | September 20, 2018

Lawyers and advocates for victims of clergy sex-abuse are assailing as inadequate some new steps announced by U.S. Catholic bishops to curtail the abuse scandals that have deeply shaken the church this year.

Inside Story with Marty Griffin Hour 3

Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell | September 19, 2018

Marty brings in two special guests to discuss the Statue of Limitations Legislation. Mike Turzai, republican member of the PA House of Representatives joins, then shortly after Marci Hamilton, CEO and Academic Director of Child USA.

Will Clergy Sex Abuse Allegations Spur Change in Statute-of-Limitation Laws?

Candice Norwood | September 18, 2018

This summer, a Pennsylvania grand jury released an explosive report, accusing more than 300 Catholic priests in the state of sexually abusing 1,000 children over seven decades. Despite the number of accused, only two priests reportedly can face criminal prosecution.

Advocates: Family courts should put needs of child above parents

Jo Ciavaglia | September 18, 2018

To advocates like Danielle Pollack, the Pennsylvania family court system often protects the rights of parents more than the children caught in the middle of acrimonious custody battles.

As an ambassador for CHILD USA, a Philadelphia-based child abuse prevention think tank, Pollack has heard hysterical children pleading not to be taken to a court-ordered visit with a parent who allegedly abused them. She has listened to desperate parents who believe family court judges do not take their claims of physical, mental or sexual abuse — or the potential for such abuse — against their children seriously.

For survivors of priest child sex abuse, what would real justice look like?

Harry Bruinius | September 14, 2018

There are crimes for which justice can seem like a remote concept.

There are crimes, like the sexual abuse of children, from which many turn away – using language like “unspeakable,” “unimaginable,” or even “inhuman.” Even survivors create their mental shields from the crimes they endured.

“This form of abuse is really completely and utterly spiritually annihilating,” says Christa Brown, a survivor of abuse at the hands of a Baptist minister decades ago, and an author who now lives in Colorado. “It’s been called ‘soul murder,’ and I think that’s a very apt word for it.”

Survivors of child sex abuse again push Pennsylvania to suspend statute of limitations

Sara Hoover | September 13, 2018

Pennsylvania’s recent grand jury report on the sexual abuse of children in Catholic dioceses throughout state has renewed calls to change statute of limitation laws.

Advocates and those sexually abused as children held a press conference Tuesday in Southeastern Pennsylvania urging lawmakers to provide a two-year window for past victims to file civil charges retroactively.

The United States Olympic Committee and the USA Gymnastics NGB Need to Be Dissolved and Reconstituted

Marci A. Hamilton | September 13, 2018

If you have not been living under a rock, you are aware that an explosive grand jury report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania drove home the point that the bishops have not cleaned up the clergy sex abuse mess. Far from it, the powerful covering up the abuse are getting promoted and the perpetrators are still either in ministry or untethered.

Gymnasts who suffered sexual abuse lend their voices to push for PA law

Tribune Review | September 11, 2018

 SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests Tuesday joined representatives of Child USA and a pair of former gymnasts who survived of abuse at the hands of former Michigan State Dr. Larry Nassar to demand that state lawmakers make changes to the law recommended by the statewide grand jury that concluded that more than 300 priests abused 1,000 children across the state.

Groups Pressing Lawmakers To Revise Statute Of Limitations For Sex Abuse Cases

CBS Philly | September 11, 2018

In what ended in sobering defeat two years ago, due, in part, to a powerful lobby by the Catholic church, on Tuesday — renewed calls were made to open a two-year window in Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations for sex abuse survivors.

Victims of serial rapist Larry Nassar stand in solidarity with victims of clergy sex abuse in Pa.

Ivey DeJesus | September 11, 2018

The effort in Pennsylvania to reform the statute of limitations on Tuesday upped its salvo power with two powerful faces: that of two victims of serial sex abuser Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor convicted of child sex crimes.

Pennsylvania grand jury report reopens old wounds for sex abuse victims with no paths to justice

Megan Cerullo | September 10, 2018

Recent reports about clergy members accused of committing heinous acts against children have ripped open old wounds for survivors, whose predators within and outside the church won’t be prosecuted, and who might never see justice because statutes of limitations have expired.

NY clergy sex abuse may be sweeping but legal cases few

Jennifer Peltz and David Keppler | September 7, 2018

The New York attorney general’s new investigation into clergy sex abuse allegations in the Roman Catholic Church could be massive.

But few criminal cases or lawsuits may come out of the inquiry, whatever its findings. New York has some of the nation’s strictest time limits on taking child sex abuse claims to civil or criminal courts. A yearslong campaign to extend the timeframe has stalled in the Legislature.

Commentary: Heed pope’s call to action by passing the Child Victims Act

Brad Hoylman and Marci Hamilton | September 6, 2018

In the aftermath of the landmark grand jury report detailing decades of child sex abuse from hundreds of priests across Pennsylvania, Pope Francis issued a call to action to end child sexual abuse in the Catholic church. In New York, that kind of accountability is only possible if the state Legislature passes the Child Victims Act, legislation that will finally help uncover the extent of child sexual abuse here and give survivors their day in court.

As bishop looked on, abusive ‘Father Ned’ got new assignment

Michael Rubinkam | September 5, 2018

Under questioning from a plaintiff’s lawyer, Bambera acknowledged the diocese ignored its own policy by failing to report “Father Ned” — a pseudonym used in court — to civil authorities. He testified that Father Ned was removed from ministry only temporarily before getting another parish assignment. Once there, Bambera told the jury, Father Ned was caught “grooming” a boy for sexual assault.

Pennsylvania Bishops Face Reckoning In the Wake of Grand Jury Sex Abuse Report

Joshua Gill | September 5, 2018

Roman Catholic bishops of the diocese in Scranton, Pennsylvania, are facing consequences for mishandling sexual abuse allegations in the wake of the state’s grand jury report.

Q&A with Marci Hamilton

Lauren Hertzler | September 5, 2018

Hamilton, also a leading church/state scholar who’s been studying the Roman Catholic clergy abuse crisis for two decades, spoke with Penn Today about the tragic, most recent grand jury report in Pennsylvania, the importance of changing the statute of limitations, why clergy members should be mandated reporters, and much, much more.

Bishops back victim fund over abuse lawsuits in Pennsylvania

The Associated Press | August 31, 2018

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Roman Catholic officials in Pennsylvania began lining up quickly and publicly with a key state legislative ally in backing the creation of a victims’ compensation fund as an alternative to allowing victims in decades-old child sexual abuse cases to sue the church in court.

Let There Be Light, in Church

Marci Hamilton | August 29, 2018

The Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse crisis blankets the globe in darkness. We are at a tipping point — or at least we ought to be.

The unmasking and resignation of the former archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, placed alongside the recent release of an exhaustive grand jury report in Pennsylvania that describes in withering detail more than 1,000 grotesque abuses, has reinforced the growing public sentiment in favor of eliminating the statutes of limitations for child sex abuse. Under current law, a vast majority of victims will receive no justice because of an arbitrary procedural deadline.

Catholic board seeks parishioner-led abuse investigation

Lisa Marie Pane | August 28, 2018

The National Review Board called for an investigation led by parishioners, saying a new wave of abuse scandals point to a “systematic problem” and that the bishops themselves can’t be trusted to lead an investigation.

Some survivors of clergy sex abuse said the call was a disingenuous attempt by the church to get around a true independent investigation.

Sen. Little on board with Child Victims Act in N.Y.

Ken Tingley | August 26, 2018

In May 2016, Sen. Little was one of 30 Republican senators who voted against the Child Victims Act. When I asked her that fall why, she said she opposed the “look back” provision that allowed a one-year window for past victims to file lawsuits. She said she believed it would be detrimental to organizations like the Boys Scouts and the Catholic Church and open them up to frivolous litigation.

Smerconish: Sex Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church

Smerconish CNN | August 25, 2018

CHILD USA CEO Marci Hamilton discusses the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in the wake of the explosive Pennsylvania grand jury report with CNN’s Michael Smerconish.

Under Cover of Goodness: How Pillars of the Community Can Prey on Kids

Eliott C. McLaughlin | August 24, 2018

Doctors, coaches, clergy. Society knows these as noble professions, filled with good people. Doctors heal. Coaches encourage athletic excellence. Priests usher people closer to God

Then there are Dr. Larry Nassar, Coach Jerry Sandusky and Father John Geoghan.

The Catholic church covered up abuse. Can RICO laws treat it like organized crime?

USA Today Network | August 22, 2018

In 1970, Congress gifted prosecutors with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, intended to give crime fighters a powerful weapon to take down organized crime.

It became known as RICO, and at first, prosecutors were unsure what to make of it.

More Than 400 Have Called Pennsylvania’s Hotline Since Clergy Sex Abuse Report

Bobby Allyn | August 21, 2018

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro was wrapping up his livestreamed address in Harrisburg last week, on the release of a bombshell grand jury report cataloging how the Catholic Church covered up the abuse of more than 1,000 minors by some 300 priests over 70 years, when he made an appeal: We want more survivors to report.

Pennsylvania does too little to help child sexual abuse victims

John Baer | August 21, 2018

There’s an ugly irony in last week’s release of a statewide grand jury report on decades of sexual abuse of children, and its cover-up, by Catholic clergy.

Turns out the state with the fullest examination of the globally troubling problem is also the state offering some of the nation’s weakest recourse for those who’ve been abused.

And you can guess why: Pennsylvania’s Legislature.

Child Victims Act supporters call on state Senate GOP to pass measure in light of Pope’s condemnation of sex abuse by priests

Kenneth Lovett | August 21, 2018

ALBANY — In the wake of Pope Francis’ letter denouncing child sex abuse and decades of church coverups, victims and several New York State legislators have reignited their calls for the state Senate GOP to pass a bill making it easier for survivors to seek justice as adults.

Grand jury report reignites furor over law change to help victims

John Finnerty | August 18, 2018

HARRISBURG — A scathing grand jury report documenting child sex abuse by more than 300 Roman Catholic priests impacting more than 1,000 children has reignited calls for changing Pennsylvania law to give victims more time to seek justice.

We Can Take On the Catholic Church for Covering Up Child Sex Abuse. Here’s How

Marci Hamilton | August 16, 2018

The Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in six dioceses is a call to action, in part because so few indictments flowed from its documentation of over 1,000 victims and 300 perpetrator priests. It details enormous injustice and institutional malfeasance, but we are left with only two indictments of perpetrators.

At issue is whether lawmakers should temporarily allow people older than 30 to file civil lawsuits over sexual abuse that occurred when they were younger than 18.

After decades of quiet suffering, Delaware priest abuse victim tells her story

Xerxes Wilson | August 16, 2018

Mary was a young teen. Father John Sarro was a Catholic priest making “creepy” comments about marrying her. Then there were the handwritten letters he sent her throughout her teenage years.

But it was more than words.

Clergy Sex Abuse in Pennsylvania: No Justice Is Intolerable

Marci Hamilton | August 16, 2018

Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued an extraordinary grand jury report detailing sexual abuse going back 70 years in six Roman Catholic dioceses in the state of Pennsylvania. The report itself is nearly 900 pages while the responses appended add another 450 pages. Here it is. Pennsylvania now has the distinction of having every Catholic diocese subjected to a grand jury investigative report: Philadelphia, then Johnstown/Altoona, and now the rest of them. This monumental achievement fills in more details of arrogant and thoughtless bishops, craven pedophile priests, and a system that rewards the secrecy that endangers children

Why the Explosive Report on Catholic Church Abuse Is Unlikely to Yield Criminal Charges

Dan Levin | August 15, 2018

The searing grand jury report issued Tuesday in Pennsylvania that accuses bishops and other Catholic Church leaders in that state of covering up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests has prompted growing calls for justice…

But a web of legal barriers stands in the way of prosecuting most of the cases, and efforts to ease those barriers have repeatedly run into political opposition and fierce lobbying by the church and other groups. Pennsylvania lags behind many other states in coming to grips with the problem, despite a series of grand jury investigations stretching back 15 years.

Pennsylvania grand jury purposely used graphic details in priest sex abuse report

Yates & Esack | August 15, 2018

Marci Hamilton, the founder of Child USA, an organization that seeks to prevent child abuse, served as a consultant on the 2005 grand jury report that scrutinized the Philadelphia Archdiocese. For that report, she said there was a conscious decision to use stark language in describing the abuse that was uncovered, to counter those who were seeking to dismiss the findings.

“This is putting into black and white exactly what happened,” Hamilton said. “It is empowering the victims to say these are crimes and what happened to you is horrible.”

CHILD USA reacts to grand jury report on church sexual abuse

69 News | August 14, 2018

“Attorney General Josh Shapiro has released a monumental report on the clergy sex abuse that has destroyed Pennsylvania children’s lives for decades,” said CEO and Academic Director of CHILD USA Professor Marci Hamilton.

Reject arguments of clergy, advocates argue in amicus brief filed in high court ahead of grand jury report

Ivey DeJesus | August 8, 2018

“‘Parents deserve to know who is endangering their children and how. Pennsylvanians only know about the child sex abuse in the Philadelphia and Johnstown/Altoona dioceses, at Penn State, and at the Solebury School, because prosecutors took the lead and issued grand jury reports detailing the dangers that children had suffered,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO and a director of CHILD USA.

Hovland: Iowa’s laws on child sexual abuse, endangerment need to change

Barbara Hovland | August 10, 2018

A bright light needs to be shed on child sexual abuse/endangerment laws in Iowa, mainly plea deals and how they are handed out so freely.

Backing civil statute of limitations reform would be the best way bishops could help child sexual abuse victims 

B. Shahan | August 10, 2018

Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg held a press conference Wednesday to apologize for the sexual abuse of children by priests and others in the church over decades. The Harrisburg diocese also released a list of 71 clergy members and seminarians alleged to have sexually abused children since 1947.  LNP reported Friday that the list included the late Monsignor Francis Joseph Taylor, who served as Lancaster Catholic High School’s principal from 1958 to 1975, and the late Rev. Thomas Ronald Haney, who was the assistant to the principal at LCHS from 1961 to 1964 and directed the school’s athletic program. According to LNP records, Haney previously had served three years as assistant pastor at St. Anne Catholic Church in Lancaster; later in his life, he was known to many local Catholics as the executive editor of The Catholic Witness, the diocesan newspaper, and as a spokesman for the diocese.

Clergy abuse case reflects simmering scrutiny of Pa. Grand Jury System

Angela Couloumbis | August 5, 2018

Mr. Greenleaf…chairs the Judiciary Committee. That panel in the last session gutted a bill that would have enabled a flood of new lawsuits by past victims against their abusers or the institutions that supervised them.

Marci Hamilton, a prominent advocate for abuse victims said “she fears Mr. Greenleaf’s bill, combined with prior attempts to kill statute of limitations reform, is evidence that legislators have been ‘carrying the water for the bishops.”

Are your kids in good hands? How to spot sexual abuse, prevent predators

Isabel Keane | August 3, 2018

The sexual abuse charges faced by 67-year-old Rockland County gymnastics coach Joseph Lewin involving the underage girls he coached has many parents and guardians asking themselves: how can this be prevented?

They say it takes a village to raise a child. Parents give their trust to an array of adults who come in contact with their children on a daily basis, from coaches to adult volunteers, tutors, staff members and even teammates.

So how do parents know their kids are safe?

SafeSport, the USOC’s Attempt to Stop Child Abuse, is Set Up to Fail – Just like it Was Supposed to

Diana Moskovitz | July 24, 2018

Even if it was perfectly engineered, SafeSport would have difficulty achieving its aims, and it is far from perfectly engineered. Records, interviews, and an examination of the relevant history show that while basic groundwork has yet to be laid to protect athletes from abuse, SafeSport has already been deployed to make any parents’ concerns just go away.

When a Parent’s Beliefs About Medicine Become Child Abuse

Shawn Radcliffe | July 19, 2018

An Oregon couple who believed in faith healing were sentenced to six years in prison earlier this month for criminal charges related to the death of their newborn daughter, Ginnifer, last year.

State law determines whether denying a child medical care because of religious reasons is legally considered neglect, sometimes known as medical neglect.

Children’s Rights Softly Emerge in the Midst of the Trump Administration’s Heartless Separation of Children from their Parents at the Border

Marci A. Hamilton | July 19, 2018

“The litigation over the heartless separation of children from their parents at the border has been focused on the rights of the adults, the parents. That is par for the course in our society. Adults prefer and protect adults on a routine basis, and children tend to receive second-order status even on a good day. That is not to say that children don’t have emerging rights.”

Religion, The Supreme Court And Why It Matters

Sarah McCammon | July 7, 2018

While there is a liberal, social-justice strain in Catholicism, there is a sharp divide between them and more conservative Catholics. And their dominance on the court has to do with ideology, said Marci Hamilton, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who once clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

Questioning Justice Kennedy’s Replacement: Pay Attention to Not Just Roe v. Wade but Also the Right to Privacy and Contraception

Marci A. Hamilton | July 5, 2018

“The media and the public are hyper-focused on the impact of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement on whether Roe v. Wade will be overruled. Many correctly assume the decision is at risk. That seems to me obvious, though the jury is out on whether the newly configured Court would overrule Roe or adopt an interpretation that makes it toothless, thereby letting the states cut the right to abortion down to a nub. A weak right is not terribly different in practice from a nonexistent right. But Roe is a distraction from the larger agenda underlying this fight.”

Justice Kennedy’s Replacement and the Religious Test Awaiting

Marci A. Hamilton | June 28, 2018

Tellingly, the Supreme Court issued its decision upholding President Donald Trump’s travel ban, Trump v. Hawaii, on the same day that it gave crisis pregnancy centers the right to exclude information about abortion to pregnant women in NIFLA v. California. I don’t think the Court was conscious of the irony of pairing these two announcements, but ironic it was.

The Children Mistreated at the Border Are a Wake-up Call: It’s Time for the United States to Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Marci A. Hamilton | June 21, 2018

The images were disturbing—children crying, suffering, sitting in what amount to cages. The Trump administration was in its “zero tolerance” zone and stripping children from their immigrant parents as they crossed the border. Looking back, there seemed to be an assumption that no one would notice or care that Latin American children were being treated to subhuman treatment by United States authorities.

Dark Secret – Out now on Amazon Prime

Marci A. Hamilton | June 2018

In the recent hour-long film, Founder and CEO of CHILD USA, Marci Hamilton, gives insight into one of the biggest clergy sex abuse scandals of all time.

Children are not the property of this administration to recklessly traumatize: Stop ripping them away from their parents at the border

Marci A. Hamilton | June 12, 2018

The Trump Administration has been engaging in the practice of separating children from their parents at the border. Texas courts are filling up with immigrant parents who have had their children ripped from their arms. Neither the children nor the parents are told where the other is or when they will be reunited if ever. The Administration favors this approach as a “tough deterrent” to illegal immigration. That is the view in an adult-centric universe, which discounts children’s suffering and treats children as nothing other than a means to the ends of adults.

When is an LGBTQ rights case not about LGBTQ rights? When its the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision

Marci A. Hamilton | June 7, 2018

The United States Supreme Court predictably handed down the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision in June, toward the end of the Term. The case—which on its surface posed the question whether a bakery could turn away a gay couple seeking a wedding cake—didn’t decide that issue. Instead, the Court, in an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, pivoted to familiar ground for the Court: robustly protecting the right to believe anything at all combined with a warning that conduct can be regulated.

Bishop’s prosecutions may point to new phase in church’s sex abuse crisis

Joshua J. McElwee | June 6, 2018

Pope Francis has been dealing over recent months with what has seemed like an unending saga of the Catholic clergy sexual abuse crisis in Chile.

After being criticized for saying abuse victims had committed “calumny” during his January visit to the country, the pope has since admitted making “serious mistakes,” met with Chilean victims in Rome, and received offers of resignation from most of the country’s bishops after a three-day group encounter at the Vatican.

Alternate GOP Child Victims Act bill clears committee

Kenneth Lovett | June 5, 2018

An alternative bill pushed by the Senate Republicans to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults cleared a key committee on Tuesday.

It’s the first time a Senate committee has taken up the issue, though that was hardly comfort to many advocates who oppose it.

Coach Rick Butler, already booted from USA Volleyball and AAU following sex abuse allegations, now banned from youth tournament at Disney

Christian Red | June 1, 2018

Attorney and sex abuse victims advocate Marci Hamilton made certain that Rick Butler would not step foot on the Walt Disney/ESPN Wide World of Sports properties in Orlando, Florida when a girls’ youth volleyball tournament gets underway later this month.

Expert weighs in on House changes to Nassar inspired bills

Alexandra Ilitch | May 31, 2018

Marci Hamilton, the founder and CEO of the national nonprofit CHILD USA has been researching this topic for more than two decades.

“Apparently there are huge problems about sex abuse in sports in the state of Michigan or the coaches wouldn’t be so fearful,” she said.

“Many states have many more categories and include coaches for example, unlike Michigan,“ Hamilton said.

Justice for victims in Michigan is small, she said. So is the number of mandated reporters.

Walt Disney Resort bans controversial volleyball coach Rick Butler

Jon Seidel and Michael O’Brien | May 30, 2018

Walt Disney World Resorts, which hosts the Amateur Athletic Union’s national volleyball tournament, said on Wednesday that west suburban coach Rick Butler is “no longer welcome” on its property.

#MeToo, earlier scandals mean pending clergy sex abuse report can’t be ‘a small problem’

Ivey DeJesus | May 29, 2018

The landscape has changed drastically across the country and world since recent clergy sex abuse scandals out of Boston and Philadelphia. The pending grand jury report into allegations across six dioceses in Pennsylvania come amid a changing landscape.

Big Business Battles #MeToo Movement

Marci A. Hamilton | May 24, 2018

I suppose lawmakers’ deference to big business is in the air. The United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 opinion by Judge Neil Gorsuch in Epic Systems v. Lewis, swept away hope this week that employees would be able to form class actions or join forces against oppressive employer practices. Instead, arbitration clauses in agreements pit the lone employee against the employer. In the same vein,the House of Representatives today sent to President Trump a bill to relax restrictions on banks.

In Aftermath of Larry Nassar Case, Blue Ribbon Commission of National experts launched to examine failures of institutions to protect youth athletes

Child USA | April 25, 2018

“Game Over: Commission to Protect Youth Athletes,” Funded in Large Part by $300,000 Investment from the Foundation for Global Sports Development, to be led by University of Pennsylvania-Based CHILD USA.

Commission Comprised of National Experts in Child Sex Abuse, Law Enforcement, Academia, Trauma, Sports and Investigative Journalism.

First-of-Its-Kind study on Child Abuse and Neglect within Elite Athletics announced by CHILD USA

Press Release | March 23, 2018

In Partnership with The Foundation for Global Sports Development, CHILD USA will examine the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in elite athletic organizations to determine how to best prevent it.

N.Y. Catholic Archbishop Opposes Bill Making It Easier for Abuse Victims to Sue

Trudy Ring | March 21, 2018

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the famously anti-LGBT Roman Catholic archbishop of New York, is arguing against pending state legislation that would offer a window for survivors of sexual abuse to sue over crimes that happened decades ago.

Dolan made an unannounced visit to the state capitol in Albany to urge lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo not to support a “lookback” provision in the Child Victims Act, which would give survivors a one-year period to bring suits over decades-old incidents of abuse.

 Cuomo Blasts Dolan’s Claim of ‘Toxic’ Clause in Child Victim’s Act

Kenneth Lovett | March 21, 2018

ALBANY— Gov. Cuomo stood up for survivors of childhood sexual assault on Wednesday, and pushed back against Timothy Cardinal Dolan’s statement that a lookback provision for them to revive old legal claims would be “toxic.”

“These victims have been denied their day in court for far too long and we stand with them,” Cuomo told the Daily News in a statement. “The arguments against a lookback do not stand up against the experience of every other state and this debate only wastes time and delays justice.”

Larry Nassar is a Familiar Monster

Frank Bruni | January 27, 2018

Oh, I can very much believe, because its outline and ingredients are completely familiar. Here we have an adult whose professional energies were largely devoted to children — and who was thus considered to have a special concern for, insight into and way with them. We have a figure of authority and expertise who seemed to be, and sometimes was, actually helping kids, so that their inclination — along with the reflexes of their parents and of their abuser’s colleagues — was to defer to him, trust him and give him the benefit of the doubt.

‘It’s Your Turn to Listen to Me.’ Read Aly Raisman’s Testimony at Larry Nassar’s Sentencing.

Mahita Gajanan | January 19, 2018

Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman confronted Larry Nassar, the disgraced former USA Gymnastics doctor who she says sexually abused her for years, with a blistering statement in court on Friday.

Washington State Senate Votes to Ban Conversion Therapy

John Riley | January 19, 2018

The Washington State Senate voted 32-16 to ban license therapists from subjecting LGBTQ-identifying youth to conversion therapy designed to change their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Six Republicans crossed over to vote with the chamber’s Democratic majority to approve the ban. The Democrats, who won the majority on Nov. 7, 2017, have long wanted to pass a bill banning conversion therapy, but were hamstrung by Republican leadership, who had refused to allow a vote on the measure in past sessions.

Washington Lawmakers Clash Over Statute of Limitations for Sex Crimes

Taylor McAvoy | January 17, 2018

House Bill 1155 would eliminate the statute of limitations for the most serious rape and sexual assault offenses. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, eight states did not have any statute of limitations for prosecuting felony sexual assault as of 2013.

New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Support Child Victims Act, Poll Shows

Kenneth Lovett | January 16, 2018

ALBANY — New Yorkers across the board overwhelmingly support the Child Victims Act.

According to the poll, 76% of New Yorkers support passage of the Child Victims Act while just 17% oppose it.

McKayla Maroney prepared to go to trial against USA Gymnastics; hopes to effect change in sport marred by sex abuse scandal

Christian Red | January 6, 2018

American gymnastics star McKayla Maroney was completely broken. After suffering what Maroney claims was years-long sexual abuse at the hands of former USA Gymnastics (USAG) team physician Dr. Larry Nassar – “It started when I was 13 years old,” Maroney posted on her Facebook page last October – the 2012 London Olympics gold medal-winning gymnast signed a confidential settlement in December 2016 with USAG, the sport’s national governing body. In light of her worsening condition, and desperate need for psychological intervention, the Plaintiff McKayla Maroney entered into this agreement to obtain funds necessary to pay for lifesaving psychological treatment and care, reads part of the explosive civil lawsuit Maroney filed against USAG, Nassar, Michigan State University, the U.S. Olympic Committee and 500 other individual anonymous defendants last month in Los Angeles County Superior Court.”

Cardinal’s Death Prompts U.S. Sexual Abuse Activists to Take Stock of Progress

Scott Malone | December 20, 2017

The death on Wednesday of Roman Catholic Cardinal Bernard Law, who covered up the church’s child sex abuse scandal for decades, prompted U.S. activists to reflect on how far their efforts have come to make sure abusers can be prosecuted and how many hurdles remain.

Thousands of people worldwide came forward to say they were child victims of priest abuse after the scandal broke in 2002. But many in the United States found that state laws protected their attackers from criminal prosecution or even civil lawsuits for crimes that were years or decades old.

Advocates hope N.Y. provides blueprint for abuse law

Dave Sutor | December 19, 2017

Shaun Dougherty is prominently involved in bringing attention to child sexual abuse statutes of limitations in the two states where he splits his time living: Pennsylvania and New York.

He has also joined in the effort to change New York’s statutes.

Dougherty spent hours on Monday attempting to raise support for his cause by visiting New York legislators and conducting telephone interviews.

#MeToo Brings Tide Change to American Society

Michael Hernandez | December 16, 2017

It began with accusations against one of Hollywood’s most powerful titans of cinema in early October.

After felling Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo movement has brought down dozens of powerful men in entertainment, media, tech and politics over accusations of sexual impropriety.

“We’ve reached a tipping point for secrecy,” remarked Marci Hamilton, the Fox Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. “The victims now feel sufficiently supported by the culture to come forward.”

The Unhealthiest State in America Has the Best Vaccination Rate

Paul Offit | December 15, 2017

In October, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its state-by-state comparison of immunization rates among kindergartners for the 2016-17 school year, one state shone above the rest—Mississippi, where rates for childhood vaccines were 99.4 percent for each of the vaccines evaluated.

Coalition Calls On NYS GOP Senators To Pass Child Victims Act

Allison Dunne | December 14, 2017

A coalition of organizations, advocates, and sex abuse survivors from across New York has kicked off a campaign to extend the statute of limitations in New York for child sexual abuse crimes. The group hopes to convince Republican state senators to support the effort and began Wednesday at the district offices of two Hudson Valley senators.

GOP Senate Must Stop Blocking Legal Recourse For New Yorkers Abused As Kids

A Journal News Editorial | December 13, 2017

With so much news about and, finally, serious consequences for sexual harassment, assault and abuse, many New Yorkers might assume that those who were victims of abuse as children are given fair and ample opportunity to seek some measure of justice. But they would be wrong. Under state law, criminal charges against an accused molester, for most forms of abuse short of rape, must be filed before a victim is 23. Victims who want to seek redress in civil court can only sue a church, school or other institution before they are 21, and can only sue their abuser until they are 23.

Corey Feldman Partners with Child USA to Fight Sexual Abuse

Ryan Scott | December 13, 2017

“2017 has been a major year for change. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, many in Hollywood came forward to expose sexual abusers in the business. Corey Feldman, star of The Goonies and current musician, has been leading the charge against Hollywood pedophiles. Now, he’s made another major step to make change, as he’s partnered with Child USA to fight sexual abuse in this country. Here’s what he had to say about the partnership in a statement.

Michael Brown: There Are “Pragmatic and Moral Reasons” to Vote for Roy Moore

By Hemant Mehta | December 12, 2017

Dr. Michael Brown, a conservative Christian commentator, enjoys painting himself as a reasonable man who weighs all sides of an issue before making up his mind . . . even though he always seems to land exactly where you’d expect him to.

So when it comes to Alabama’s Roy Moore, who has numerous allegations of inappropriate conduct on top of child molestation, what should a devout Christian do? Brown says they must take the “pragmatic and moral” road . . . which is to vote for Moore no matter what .

Dr. Oz calls for bill to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults

Kenneth Lovett | December 11, 2017

“ALBANY – Advocates for a bill to make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice as adults got help Monday from television personality Dr. Oz.

Oz asked his viewers to call state Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, whose picture he posted, “to go after him” and push him for a vote on the bill.

Seven Changes that Would Empower the #METOO Movement

Marci A. Hamilton | November 25, 2017

There is, however, another power structure that has been bucking up these powerful men who have wreaked havoc on so many lives: our state and federal governments.

The surprisingly hard part here is getting others in power—including every branch of government from the executive to the legislative to the judicial—to foment meaningful, lasting change against these bullies and predators. Yet, there will be no alteration in course without a legal overhaul. We need lawmaker leaders to step forward now.

Here’s A Simple Way to Bring an End to Sexual Abuse

Marci A. Hamilton | November 25, 2017

There has been intense media coverage but surprisingly little if any attention paid to the experts on sex abuse, assault and harassment, who could inject facts into the discourse. There is actually a science of child sex abuse and sex assault. Instead, there has been a lot of hand-wringing by those who do not labor in this vineyard, and over-politicization of the issues to the point that you can’t see what you need to see.

Nancy Hogshead-Makar: #MeToo shows need for tighter rules in club and Olympic sports

Nancy Hogshead-Makar | October 26, 2017

Last week, McKayla Maroney tweeted a message with the hashtag #MeToo, alleging she was sexually abused by former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. With her disclosure, she not only identified herself as one of the more than 140 women who have said they’ve been abused by Nassar, who has plead guilty to child pornography charges, but she also re-emphasized that the ubiquitous nature of abuse reaches even the highest levels.

Marci Hamilton Appointed Penn Arts and Sciences’ Third Professor of Practice

University of Pennsylvania Almanac | October 10, 2017

Marci A. Hamilton, one of the country’s leading church-state scholars, has been appointed Penn Arts and Sciences’ third Professor of Practice, in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program. Ms. Hamilton also serves as a Fox Family Pavilion Senior Fellow in Residence in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program’s Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (PRRUCS) and is Co-Chair of the Common Ground for the Common Good Program.

Who’s Cheating California’s Tough New Vaccine System?

Paul A. Offit | September 2, 2017

In June 2015, the state enacted Senate Bill 277, mandating that at the beginning of the next academic year, all students had to be vaccinated, including those in private, charter, and parochial schools. It was one of the most restrictive immunization bills in history, and a response to a measles epidemic that started in Southern California at the end of 2014 and eventually spread into 25 states and two Canadian provinces, infecting hundreds of people, mostly children.

Pushing the limit

Alexandra Starr | November 2017 issue

n the early Eighties, Andy King, the coach of the Seawolves, a swim club in Danville, California, instructed Debra Denithorne, aged twelve, to do doubles — to practice in the morning and the afternoon. King told Denithorne’s parents that he saw in her the potential to receive a college scholarship, and even to compete in the Olympics. Tall swimmers have an advantage in the water, and by the time Denithorne turned thirteen, she was five foot eight. She dropped soccer and a religious group to spend more time at the pool.

That commitment, and King’s relentless training, made her an exceptional swimmer. When she was in eighth grade, college recruitment letters began to fill her mailbox. Yet as Denithorne grew dependent on King — he’d offer her rides home, travel with her to meets — he cultivated her for a predatory relationship, which led to intercourse when she was fifteen.

The Catholic Church and Sex Abuse

Marci Hamilton | July 10, 2017

Re “The Vatican’s Failure in the Abuse Scandal” (editorial, July 7):

There will be no meaningful changes in the Roman Catholic Church as it pertains to child sex abuse until Pope Francis invites the legal system into the cases by supporting global statutes of limitation reform.

Trump Needs Vaccine Experts, Not Conspiracy Theorists

Paul Offit | January 11, 2017

Imagine you’re the president-elect of the United States and you wanted to know more about vaccine safety. Who would you turn to?

You could turn to Nancy Messonier, who heads a team of researchers at the country’s leading center for the study of vaccines: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Or you could turn to any one of a number of academic researchers who are involved with the Vaccine Safety DataLink, a computer-linked system of medical records that can determine vaccine-safety issues in real time as new vaccines are first used by American children. Or you could turn to a variety of leading experts, like Stanley Plotkin, who is the country’s (and the world’s) foremost authority on vaccines and has written the definitive textbook on the subject. Or you could turn to Walter Orenstein, former director of the National Immunization Program who is now at Emory University, and another worldwide leader. Or you could turn to Kathryn Edwards, a Vanderbilt vaccine researcher who has devoted her life to vaccine-safety issues and to the health and well-being of children.

There Is an Antidote to the Politics that Endanger Children

Marci A. Hamilton | September 15, 2016

With that as the foundation, we really should be able to do better. Instead, lawmakers are increasingly the unaccountable power-grabbing people the Framers warned us about. And nowhere are our elected officials failing more spectacularly right now than in the case of child sex abuse.

The good news is that there is an antidote, and the people need to administer it.

The Demographic Both Party Platforms Missed: Child Sex Abuse Victims

Marci A. Hamilton | July 25, 2016

The wild ride of this year’s presidential election has left many looking for landmarks that will guide their choice for the next president. One place to figure out who stands for what lies in the 2016 Republican and Democratic Platforms. So I decided to explore how each party deals with children.

Statute of limitations reform advocates call NY ‘national shame’

Laura Bult | May 2, 2016

New York is “a national shame” when it comes to getting justice for victims of child sex abuse, say people who helped change the antiquated law in other states. The Empire State lags behind states like Georgia, Massachusetts, Florida and Utah, all of which in the past several years have passed bills that lengthened the time victims have to bring their cases to court.

Why Non-Jews Are Choosing Jewish Circumcision Ceremonies

Jessica Alpert | June 23, 2015

Finch isn’t the only non-Jew who has felt a connection to the religious elements of the procedure. Nationwide, circumcisions have decreased over the last few decades—from 64.5 percent of newborn boys in 1979 to 58.3 percent in 2010, according to Centers for Disease Control data—but among those opting to circumcise their sons, some non-Jews are forgoing the hospital or doctor’s office and requesting Jewish mohels for reasons both practical and religious. (Reliable statistics on religious circumcisions are hard to come by, but several mohels I talked to said they’ve noticed an uptick in their popularity in recent years.) Mohels, who typically perform circumcisions in private homes, can be doctors, but some are simply devout Jews—often, but not always, members of the clergy—who undergo technical training in order to learn how to perform the procedure. All mohels, including health professionals, are also trained in the ritual aspects of circumcision.

Vaccinations Are States’ Call

Denise Grady | February 16, 2015

Henning Jacobson just said no. Even though Massachusetts required it, he did not want to be vaccinated. He had had a bad reaction to a vaccine, and he opposed vaccination in general.

Refusing to back down, he fought the state law all the way to the Supreme Court. And Mr. Jacobson, a minister in Cambridge, lost.

He was not forcibly immunized, but he did have to pay a $5 fine for turning down the vaccine against smallpox.





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