Recently, the Catholic League asked members of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to support HR 387, a measure that would censure Rep. Brian Sims for his threats, his misogyny, and his religious bigotry. This represents the second effort on our part to secure justice for the victims of Sims’ offenses.
On May 7, the Catholic League contacted every member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives about this matter. We sought their support for our call to censure Rep. Brian Sims for his bullying and his vicious anti-Catholicism.
We were subsequently told by counsel for the House Ethics Committee that our request must meet the standards outlined in the House Rules and the Legislative Code of Ethics (Act 154 of 1968). That Act deals mostly with conflict of interest violations. This is a different matter, which is why we are now supporting a resolution by Rep. Jerry Knowles to censure Sims.
What Sims did on May 5 was outrageous. Unprovoked, he approached an elderly Catholic woman who was praying the rosary outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia and started bullying her.
For eight uninterrupted minutes, Sims badgered her, telling her to go pray at home. When she asked him to stop, he followed her around and threatened to make her home address public so that others could harass her.
Two days earlier, Sims tweeted that Planned Parenthood protesters are “racist, classist, bigots.” He apparently has no clue about the origins of this organization. It was founded by Margaret Sanger, a notorious white racist who said it was her goal to “weed out” the “undesirables,” by which she meant African Americans.
Sims also went into a protracted anti-Catholic rant. “How many Catholic churches are you protesting in front of? There are 400 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania indicted for child molestation.” [Wrong. Over a period of 70 years, 301 priests had an unsubstantiated accusation made against them. Two were prosecuted.]
On a previous occasion, Sims became equally aggressive by intimidating three pro-life teenage girls. He offered $100 to anyone who would identify the girls, hoping to have protesters show up at their house to harass them.
To this day, Sims refuses to apologize for any of his behavior. He makes threats and puts innocent persons in danger. Moreover, he always chooses either young females or elderly ladies to bully. To make matters worse, he singles out Catholics, making the most bigoted remarks about their religion.
This man is not fit to be a dog catcher, never mind a sitting member of the Pennsylvania legislature. What more does it take to censure him?
U.S. Senator Al Franken was driven from office after revelations of sexual misconduct. What Sims did was worse. Franken’s offenses took place before he was elected to the Senate—Sims committed his offenses while in office. Justice demands that no public official be permitted to get away with such obscene conduct.
This is not simply a Pennsylvania issue—it is a national issue. We implore lawmakers from both parties to act responsibly and censure Rep. Brian Sims.