IN THE NEWS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Child marriage, defined as any formal marriage or informal union where one or both parties are under 18, is banned outright in only two US states.
But now a number of states have been galvanised into action to try to halt the practice.
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.
Yet even after USA Taekwondo banned Murphy in 2014, the governing body and the U.S. Olympic Committee essentially forgot about him. Nobody raised an alarm when his wife filed paperwork with the state to take over the gym he’d once owned. Nobody thought to check if Murphy was still coaching.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Maddow said that “The Miami Herald deserves congratulations for its fairly epic new reporting on Trump’s Labor Secretary, Alex Acosta, and specifically on the deal that he struck when he was a U.S. Attorney with a very rich, very well connected, very prolific serial sex offender.”
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.
Ashley Fantz , Sergio Hernandez and Sonam Vashi | November 29, 2018
In the cases reviewed by CNN and Marci Hamilton, a law professor and attorney who is a nationally recognized expert on child sex crimes law, rape kits taken from minors who reported sexual abuse were destroyed by police while the alleged crimes could have still been prosecuted.
"It takes years to comprehend the trauma of child sex abuse, well into adulthood, to decide whether to move forward," Hamilton said. "What police do when they destroy rape kits, and other evidence of crimes against children before the statute of limitations has passed, is rob them of their full chance at justice."
Sergio Hernandez, Sonam Vashi & Ashley Fantz | November 29, 2018
For its investigation into rape kit destruction, CNN examined thousands of records from sources that included federal and local law enforcement agencies, courts and The National Registry of Exonerations. In addition, reporters interviewed and consulted more than 50 experts in policing, law, forensic science and trauma. The goal was to determine whether rape kits were improperly destroyed, where and why.
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.
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.
Julie K. Brown | November 28, 2018
Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, 54, was accused of assembling a large, cult-like 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 Palm Beach police found.
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.
Nicole Hensley & 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.
Tom Jackman, Michelle Boorstein & Julie Zauzmer | November 22
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Conor Murray | October 23, 2018
The United States Department of Justice has opened a statewide investigation of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal in Pennsylvania, subpoenaing at least seven dioceses — including the archdiocese in Philadelphia — according to the Washington Post.
Lauren Multher | 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.
The diocese is not making any further comments on the investigation at this time, according to a spokesperson.
A federal investigation into child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania was made public Thursday by an Associated Press report.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Marty Griffin | 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.
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.
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.
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.”
Aaron Moselle | September 14, 2018
While scathing, last month's grand jury report about clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania was released with a big caveat.
Out of the hundreds of Catholic priests accused in the investigation, the overwhelming majority can't be prosecuted, either because they're dead or the statute of limitations has run out.
But legal experts say the same may not be true for the church officials who supervised those priests thanks to a landmark case in Philadelphia, rooted in a different, but equally revelatory grand jury report.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Peltz & David Kepler | September 7, 2018
The New York attorney general's new investigation into clergy sex abuse allegations in the Roman Catholic Church could be sweeping…
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.
Julie Zauzmer | September 6, 2018
The New York attorney general's office has issued subpoenas to every Catholic diocese in the state, becoming the latest U.S. state to embark on an expansive investigation of sex crimes committed and covered up by Catholic priests.
Brad Hoylman & 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.
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 assaut.
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.
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.
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.
Ken Tingley | August 26, 2018
“We just can’t keep fighting it,” Sen. Little said. “Who are you protecting? We have to be on the side of the victim.”
After a decade of debate, more needs to be done by N.Y. State legislatures to bring justice to child sex abuse victims, namely extending or removing any statute of limitations on stepping forward.
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.
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. Society knows them as monsters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Wes Venteicher | August 17, 2018
A fight is developing in the General Assembly over whether people who say they were sexually abused by Catholic clergy decades ago should get a new chance to sue the church.
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.
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. The institution and the bishops once again have been permitted to skate free . . .
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.
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
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.”
Deb Erdedy | August 14, 2018
"Systemic efforts to cover-up sexual abuse by clergy in six Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses included not only church officials and bishops in Greensburg and Pittsburgh but reached as high as communications with the Vatican, revealed a long-anticipated grand jury report made public Tuesday.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro said...'It paints a complete picture of abuse and cover-up in every diocese in Pennsylvania.'”
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.
Deb Erdley | August 10,2018
“Even if they have a due process right, if the public has a compelling interest that right comes first. The public definitely has a compelling interest in learning the identities of child predators who have not been identified in the public yet,” Hamilton said.
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."
Couloumbis & Navratil | 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.'”
Angela Couloumbis & Liz Navratil | August 5, 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.
I. 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?"
M. Boorstein | July 24, 2018
"... the question of how wide the net of legal responsibility for children goes remains central in that case, said Marci Hamilton, an attorney with Child USA, a think tank aimed at preventing child abuse. "
D. Moskovitz | July 24, 2018
"Hamilton said she doesn’t hold out much hope for what SafeSport can accomplish, and has even less hope than when she wrote those letters. She is still concerned by how SafeSport works, especially the lack of transparency in what it finds, because it means nobody but a select few people will ever know how systemic the issue within the Olympic community truly is."
S. Radcliffe | July 19, 2018
"Oregon is one of a handful of states that doesn’t allow religious exemptions from criminal or civil charges for medical neglect of children.
As of last year, though, 43 states had some level of exemption for parents who withhold medical care from their children on religious grounds, according to CHILD USA."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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.
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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.
Clergy abuse victims settle with Twin Cities archdiocese for $210M
J. Hopfensperger and R. Olson | May 31, 2018
"The wrenching bankruptcy that forced a reckoning on the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for decades of clergy sexual abuse has culminated in a $210 million settlement for roughly 450 victims, the largest of its kind nationwide."
J. Seidel and M. 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."
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."
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."
Larry Nassar to USA Gymnastics' cover story: 'Can we just say I'm sick?'
T. Evans and M. Kwiatkowski | May 24, 2018
"USA Gymnastics officials agreed to provide what Larry Nassar's attorney called "false excuses" for his absence from major gymnastics events in 2015, rather than disclose to parents and gymnasts that Nassar was under investigation for child sexual abuse."
April 25, 2018 | Press Release
“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.
Professor Marci A. Hamilton | April 21, 2018
"I've been working on this issue for nearly twenty years, and the reason I am so passionate about it is because the primary reason that most victims of child sex abuse never get access to justice, is just the deadline."
Associated Press | April 12, 2018
"While 39 states and the District of Columbia have changed their rules, those like New York have more work to do, said Hamilton, who also is the CEO of CHILD USA, a group that researches child abuse and neglect policy."
March 23, 2018 | Press Release
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.
March 21, 2018 | Trudy Ring
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.
March 21, 2018 | Kenneth Lovett
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.”
Mahita Gajanan | JAN. 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."
Taylor McAvoy | January 17, 2018
"A bill passed in the State House of Representatives last year offers some hope for people who were sexually assaulted years ago and want to see the ones who harmed them prosecuted. But that hope faces some difficult challenges in the Senate."
The list keeps growing of powerful men accused of sexual abuse, assault, or harassment. In historical order, just to name the headliners, Bill Clinton, Fr. Paul Shanley, Jerry Sandusky, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore, Al Franken, John Conyers, and Charlie Rose have all faced accusations of this nature. Thank God. This is the moment that will change history, because the “kings” of our culture are being brought to the public square and revealed for what they are–craven abusers of power. Click the link above to keep reading.
The social media campaign #MeToo has been an extraordinary space where victims of sex harassment and assault have found their voices. These victims are inspiring and you just want to believe that something good must come out of all of the pain that they have had to endure so long in silence. While the disclosures are amazing, they aren’t enough to ensure a Harvey Weinstein never happens again. Click the link above to keep reading.
As the Roy Moore saga continues to unfold in Alabama, CHILD USA is cited by the Washington Post as the authority on child sex abuse statutes of limitations. In Alabama, the statute of limitations for bringing felony charges involving sexual abuse of a minor in 1979 would have run out three years later, and the time frame for filing a civil complaint would have ended when the alleged victim turned 21.
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, one of the country’s leading church-state scholars, has been appointed a Penn Arts and Sciences’ Professor of Practice in the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program. Practice professorships bring accomplished leaders from business, government, or the arts into Penn Arts and Sciences’ classrooms to complement the expertise of the School’s standing faculty. 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.
Medical exemptions tripled once a stringent law went into effect for kindergarteners. A look at where it’s coming from suggests something sinister within anti-vaxxer strongholds. The numbers are in on California’s tough new vaccination law, and they reveal a disturbing phenomenon. 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.
In 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.
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.
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 . . . Donald Trump, unfortunately, didn’t turn to any of these groups or individuals . . . .
The Framers of the Constitution fundamentally understood that people are inevitably tempted to abuse power and that concentrations of power are dangerous. To put it a bit more simply: power must be checked, or it will run amok, and that goes double for combinations of power.
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.
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.
When Allison Finch, a 36-year-old mother of five from Houston, had her first son, in 2007, she had him circumcised before taking him home. But the circumcision was cosmetically uneven, a result that left her regretting the choice to have the procedure done in the hospital. “We weren’t overly impressed, but we didn’t know that there was another way,” she says. So when their second son, Henry, was born in 2011, she and her husband Robert went a different route. Although they identify as practicing Christians, the Finches decided to have their baby circumcised by a mohel, a Jewish person trained to perform a ritual circumcision, or brit milah (Hebrew for “the covenant of circumcision”). In keeping with Jewish tradition, the family asked the mohel to circumcise Henry on the eighth day of his life.
Jean Mercer | June 21, 2012
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 . . .
This paper outlines an unconventional treatment for mental illness, the exorcism or deliverance ritual used by Pentecostals and some other charismatic Christians. Deliverance beliefs and practices are based on the assumption that both mental and physical ills result from possession of the sufferer by demons, and are to be treated by the expulsion of those demons. Deliverance practitioners claim to treat schizophrenia, ADHD, and Reactive Attachment Disorder, and believe that these problems are related to sins either of the person in treatment or of an ancestor. Clinicians and counsellors dealing with clients who partially or completely espouse deliverance beliefs may need to understand their worldviews and to discuss their belief system before managing to engage them in conventional mental health treatments. Unusual ethical problems may also be met in the course of such work.