Maryland lawmaker Eric Bromwell has introduced legislation that would suspend the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases for almost two years. It would allow alleged victims to sue the predator and the organization where the abuser worked. The bill, however, does not apply to public institutions, which are subject to less punitive measures.
Catholic League president Bill Donohue spoke against the proposed legislation today:
“Unlike some lawmakers in other states who have sought to penalize private [read: Catholic] schools while giving public schools a pass, Delegate Bromwell appears to have benign motives. But he is wrong on the issue nonetheless. It is simply intolerable to allow one set of penalties for private institutions and another for public institutions. If protecting students is the goal, then justice demands that all institutions be treated equally. It is mind-boggling to think that a young person who was previously abused by a public school teacher should be afforded less justice than a neighbor who was molested by a Catholic school teacher.
“This bill should either be amended to blanket all institutions equally or withdrawn altogether. To discriminate on the basis of religion—even if it is not the intent of the legislation—is indefensible. We are contacting the House Judiciary Committee about this issue.”
UPDATE, 2-28-08: Delegate Bromwell has withdrawn the bill.