CHILDLOGO.png
 
 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS ADVISORY
September 11, 2018 

Contact: 

Prof. Marci A. Hamilton, CEO, CHILD USA, 215-353-8984, marcih@sas.upenn.edu
Alix Boren, Esq., Executive Director, CHILD USA, 215-539-1906, aboren@childusa.org
Michael McDonnell, SNAP, Philadelphia, 267-261-0578, mcdo1268@gmail.com
Vinka Jackson, 470-464-0779, vinka.jackson@gmail.com
Jessica Howard, 904-314-8764, j.a.howard@icloud.com
Sarah Klein, 646-335-3385, sk.advocate@gmail.com

Larry Nassar Survivors Join CHILD USA and SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) at Press Conference to Call Upon Lawmakers to Pass a Window for Justice in Pennsylvania 

WHERE: 601 S. Henderson Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406 DATE: September 11, 2018
TIME: 11:30 a.m.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s grand jury report on sex abuse in six dioceses proved to Pennsylvanians that the victims of child sex abuse in the Commonwealth are severely deprived of justice.   Nearly every one of the over 1,000 victims has no access to justice.   The report renewed calls on Pennsylvania lawmakers to follow Delaware’s example by enacting a 2-year windowso victims would have 2 years during which the civil statute of limitations would pose no defense to their valid claims of child sex abuse.  The focus of the report is on the heinous and callous actions of Catholic bishops letting children be abused by serial child predators, but its recommendations to enact a window and to eliminate the criminal SOLs are needed for every survivor in the Commonwealth.

The time has come to expand the circle of survivors who are heard on Pennsylvania lawmaker’s unfair treatment of child sex abuse survivors.  Until a window is passed, Pennsylvania lawmakers are responsible for hiding predators and shielding institutions that enable child sex abuse.   Today, Jessica Howard and Sarah Klein, two of Dr. Larry Nassar’s survivors, will join Prof. Marci Hamilton and SNAP leader Michael McDonnell to call on Pennsylvania lawmakers to choose the victims over the predators and to finally bring justice to the state.  They will also be joined by priest survivor Shawn Magee and family survivor, psychologist, and author, Vinka Jackson, from Chile, who is working to get the statutes of limitations ended there as well.  

Rhythmic gymnast Jessica Howard and gymnast Sarah Klein helped change the statutes of limitations for child sex abuse in Michigan.  Howard is a three-time national champion rhythmic gymnast. She has appeared on CBS 60 Minutes and has testified before Congress on child sexual abuse legislation. Klein, an attorney and Pennsylvania resident, is a recipient of the ESPN Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

Other survivors and advocates will make statements and hold signs, including Deborah and Michael McIlmail and Arthur Baselice, who each lost sons who had been abused by a priest and who were striving for justice.

“Delaware is the leader in the United States on justice for child sex abuse victims, according to CHLID USA’s study of child sex abuse statute of limitations legislation since 2002, publishedhere.  In contrast, Pennsylvania lawmakers’ denial of access to justice for child sex abuse victims is intolerable,” says Prof. Marci Hamilton, CEO and Academic Director of CHILD USA.  “It is a fact that window legislation has revealed to the public hundreds of hidden child predators and shifted the cost of the abuse from the victims to the ones who caused it.  It is fundamentally fair.  The Delaware Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Delaware window as have many other courts.  The Pennsylvania Senators opposing the window are hiding behind a bogus claim of unconstitutionality as they pander to the bishops’ lobbyists. At this point in history, deferring to the bishops on child sex abuse is like asking an arsonist to prevent forest fires.  Whoever sides with them sides with the predators.”

Rhythmic gymnast and Nassar survivor Jessica Howard says,“The high powered enablers of Larry Nassar’s heinous, decades long sexual abuse at MSU attempted to hide behind Michigan’s antiquated statute of limitations law to escape justice. But that law was changed because brave survivors met with legislators, courageously told their stories and demanded change. I am honored to stand with my sister and brother survivors in Pennsylvania because they have a right to the same window to justice that will hold the predators who violated them to account, and allow the victims to begin a process of recovery and relief from pain that only justice can bring.” 

 “The acid test of a legal system is its capacity to do justice. Justice for the countless survivors of sexual abuse who are now finally able to come forward and seek healing requires that statutes of limitations be changed. It is an unspeakable injustice to allow statutes of limitations to leave victims without the healing that only legal justice can provide,” says gymnast and Nassar survivor, Sarah Klein.  “As a former competitive gymnast and the first known abuse survivor of Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar, our ‘army of survivors’ proved that we can overcome opposition and change laws, as we recently did in Michigan. We now call on our elected representatives in PA to fix the broken statues of limitations.  Survivors deserve justice.” 

“In 2010, the first law to reform the child sex abuse statutes in Chile was introduced, but it was moving slowly.  With the revelations by Chilean survivors including Juan Carlos Cruz and James Hamilton in the American press, the issue became a bipartisan priority in Chile where thousands of victims have been blocked from justice.  CHILD USA is leading the way globally to greater safety for children through child sex abuse statutes of limitations reform, and I am proud to stand with them,” according to Chilean psychologist and survivor Vinka Jackson

Pennsylvania survivor of Fr. Thomas J. Smith, Shawn Mageedeclares that, “I am standing in solidarity with the survivors in the Attorney General’s grand jury report.   We who were abused by priests had our childhoods stolen from us.  Now we are demanding the justice we have been denied so that children will be protected in the future.”

Michael McDonnell, priest survivor and SNAP’s Philadelphia leader, says “Predators and the institutions shielding them have put the liability on victims far too long.  We demand that this state's legislature follow the recommendations set forth in the latest grand jury report on sexual abuse by the Catholic clergy. Enact a two-year retroactive window and eliminate the criminal statute of limitations for sexually abused children. Victims and survivors deserve justice now!” 

About CHILD USA
CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to ending child abuse and neglect through research-based public policy advocacy. CHILD USA is the nation’s leading organization that tracks and advocates for access to justice for child sex abuse victims, including child sex abuse statutes of limitations in the United States and internationally.  Sexual abuse and the maltreatment of children often occur in secret, behind closed doors, but have public consequences.  Victims, their families, and the public pay a high price even decades after the violence ends.   CHILD USA draws on the combined expertise of the nation’s leading medical and legal academics to reach evidence-based solutions to persistent and widespread child abuse and neglect.  For more information, visit https://www.childusa.org

About SNAP
SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 by Barbara Blaine and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters. For more information, visit: https://www.snapnetwork.org.  

#windowtojustice


 PRESS ADVISORY  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  September 2, 2018

PRESS ADVISORY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 2, 2018

All Survivors Day

‘Save the date’ for a National All Survivors Day on November 3, 2018. 

This event is designed for all survivors of sexual abuse, not just children, not just in religious communities, but everywhere, including: on college campuses, in the military, within sports, and in schools, just to name a few. 

What We Propose:

A National day to recognize survivors of sexual abuse and rape

All Survivors Day, November 3rd.

It is an extension of All Saints Day November 1st, and All Souls Day on the 2nd. What follows is All Survivors Day on November 3rd.

Rationale:

The recent Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report spotlighted the horrific ubiquity of sexual abuse within one institution; it also pointed to the truth that this scourge is far-reaching, across society, organizations, and events. The horrific findings of the grand jury wholly confirm the understanding of all advocates in the field of sexual abuse and human rights—this happens everywhere—churches, universities, sports teams, military, schools.

  • We want to call out to victims and survivors, and say, we are with you.

  • We welcome your stories. We honor your courage. You are not alone.

  • We especially want to cultivate and create a welcoming culture where victims feel safe to step forward. As you know, most victims of sexual abuse never step forward.

National Audience:

Although this is a nationwide event, we anticipate both local and organizational adaptability. In similar fashion to Child Abuse Month, various organizations could/should organize and mobilize in keeping with their organizational mission.

Objectives:  

  • Shine a light on the widespread sexual violence nationally and internationally.

  • Recognize those who have been abused and the importance of giving them support.

  • Protect the vulnerable, particularly children from sexual attack.

  • Create a welcoming culture, allowing victims to safely step forward.

Mobilize, Organize, and Inform:

A nationwide event provides an opportunity for the human rights movement to work collectively for a common agenda and action. It builds solidarity and from that solidarity builds power. This can be used to mobilize communities to take action.

A national All Survivors Day helps to inform the community and raise awareness that helps protect children and the vulnerable.

What We Need from Every Organization:  

  • Feedback, amendments, criticisms of this action

  • Promotion from your organization in the forms of moral support, monetary support, promoting the event (mailing to your members and media contacts)

  • Extending the invitation to allies and sister organizations, gymnasts, wrestlers, local rape crisis centers, Weinstein victims, etc.

Next Steps: 

  1. Form a national organizing committee who will finalize goals, objectives, speaking points, themes, press releases, etc.

  2. Embrace our solidarity and extend it to organizations beyond the original organizers

  3. Tentatively, we plan to have videoconference on September 17, 2018 for those interested in organizing. This will be followed by an organizing meeting the first week of October in a location to be determined. We propose Philadelphia, PA for this meeting as Pennsylvania is the locus of intense scrutiny and notice that we can build on.

Tim Lennon
President                                                
SNAP 
tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org
415-312-5820

Prof. Marci Hamilton
CEO, CHILD USA
info@childusa.org
215-539-1906

 
 
 

PRESS ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 14, 2018

Contact: Prof. Marci A. Hamilton, CEO, CHILD USA, 215-353-8984, marcih@sas.upenn.edu
Alix Boren, Esq., Executive Director, CHILD USA, 215-539-1906, aboren@childusa.org

CHILD USA Responds to Release of Grand Jury Report on
Clergy Sex Abuse in Six Pennsylvania Dioceses

Philadelphia, PA.  The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has released the Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report on clergy sex abuse in six Roman Catholic dioceses (“the Report”), as redacted.   Unfortunately, the Report is marred by redactions of the names of some of those alleged to have sexually abused children.  Despite the redactions, the Report makes Pennsylvania the undisputed leader in the investigation of the facts of clergy sex abuse in the Catholic Church in the United States. 

“Attorney General Josh Shapiro has released a monumental report on the clergy sex abuse that has destroyed Pennsylvania children’s lives for decades,” says Prof. Marci Hamilton, CEO and Academic Director of CHILD USA.  “Its four recommendations are necessary to the protection of Pennsylvania’s children: eliminate the criminal statute of limitations, revive expired civil statutes of limitations, amend the state’s mandated reporting law so that repeated failures to report result in stiffer penalties, and treat confidentiality agreements that impede disclosure of abuse to the police as obstruction of justice.  CHILD USA stands behind each and every one of these proposals as the minimum needed to move forward the project of child sex abuse prevention.”

The Report actually understates how far behind the rest of the country Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations (“SOLs”) are.  It is one of the few states that has not yet eliminated at least felonies from its criminal SOLs.  CHILD USA recently issued a study of statute of limitations reform since 2002, which also ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the child sex abuse statutes of limitations.  [Report available here]. The conclusions regarding Pennsylvania are as follows:

“Pennsylvania has yet to join the large majority of states to eliminate at least felonies from its criminal SOLs. The extension to age 50 for the criminal SOL is the only change made since 2002. The civil SOL at age 30 is increasingly short in comparison with the developments in the rest of the country. On a scale of 1-10, overall it ranks as a 5 (where 4 is the lowest combined score).

Criminal. The criminal SOL was extended in 2002 from age 23 to 30 (age of majority, 18, plus 12 years).137 Five years later, following the 2005 Philadelphia District Attorneys Grand Jury Report on sex abuse in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, it was extended to age 50.138

Civil. Before 2002, the civil SOL in Pennsylvania was age 20.139 Since 2002, Pennsylvania’s civil SOL has been age 30.140 There have been many efforts in the state to extend or eliminate it and to pass a window, but to date they have not been successful. This is so despite the fact that Pennsylvania has generated the most grand jury reports on child sex abuse in the country.141 There have been no changes in the civil SOL since 2002.”

41 states have eliminated at least some felonies from their child sex abuse statutes of limitations. [SOL Snapshot]

In a joint Amicus Brief filed last week, CHILD USA, and clergy sex abuse archive, BishopAccountability.org, filed an amicus brief urging the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reject the arguments to suppress the identities of alleged perpetrators and to release the Report in its entirety as soon as possible.  “While it is our view that redactions in such a report have no place, we are pleased that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court kept redactions to a minimum,” stated Prof. Hamilton.

The brief explains the need for grand jury reports in a state with short SOLs for child sex abuse:

“There are two proven pathways to public disclosure of child sex abuse and institutional cover-up: (1) criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits and (2) grand jury investigations.  Because the vast majority of victims do not come forward in childhood, the former rests on the need for generous statutes of limitation (“SOLs”).  Short SOLs short-circuit judicial disclosure of the truth.  In a state, like the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where there are short SOLs, the only path to justice for these victims and the only means of public disclosure is through the release of investigating grand jury reports.  We urge this Court to continue the successful movement of truth by releasing the report of the Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury in its entirety as soon as possible.”

About CHILD USA

CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to ending child abuse and neglect through research-based public policy advocacy. CHILD USA is the nation’s leading organization that tracks and advocates for access to justice for child sex abuse victims, including child sex abuse statutes of limitations in the United States and internationally.  Sexual abuse and the maltreatment of children often occur in secret, behind closed doors, but have public consequences.  Victims, their families, and the public pay a high price even decades after the violence ends.   CHILD USA draws on the combined expertise of the nation’s leading medical and legal academics to reach evidence-based solutions to persistent and widespread child abuse and neglect.  For more information, visit https://www.childusa.org

About Professor Marci Hamilton

MARCI A. HAMILTON is the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is also a Fox Family Pavilion Resident Senior Fellow and co-chair of the Common Ground for the Common Good Project in the Program for Research on Religion in the Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania.  Hamilton is also the Founder, CEO, and Academic Director of CHILD USA, www.childusa.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit academic think tank at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to improve laws and public policy to end child abuse and neglect.   Before moving to the University of Pennsylvania, Professor Hamilton was the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Hamilton is the nation’s foremost expert on clergy sex abuse and child sex abuse statutes of limitation (“SOLs”).    She has been invited to testify and advise legislators in every state where significant SOL reform has occurred.  She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press), which advocates for the elimination of child sex abuse statutes of limitations.  She has filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and the state supreme courts.  She is the co-author of Children and the Law (Carolina Academic Press 2017).


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - August 8, 2018
 

Contact: Ali Boren, Executive Director, CHILD USA, 215-539-1906, aboren@childusa.org; Terry McKiernan, President, BishopAccountability.org, 508-479-9304, mckiernan1@comcast.net

CHILD USA and BishopAccountability.org File Amicus Curiae Brief Urging
Pennsylvania Supreme Court to Release Grand Jury Report on Clergy Sex Abuse in Six Dioceses with All Alleged Perpetrators Named Philadelphia, PA.

The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General has produced a grand jury report regarding clergy sex abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses, which has the capacity
to educate the citizens of the Commonwealth about the identities of child abusers and the ways in which children have been endangered. Yet, some of those who are named as alleged perpetrators and others potentially guilty of child endangerment have asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to block release of the Report.
In a joint Amicus Brief filed today, child protection think tank, CHILD USA, and clergy sex abuse archive, BishopAccountability.org, have filed an amicus brief urging the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to reject the arguments to suppress the identities of alleged perpetrators and to release the Report in its entirety as soon as possible.

The brief can be found here: www.childusa.org/amicus-advocacy/ or
08/08/2018_AmicusBrief.pdf.

The brief states: “There are two proven pathways to public disclosure of child sex abuse and institutional cover-up: (1) criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits and (2) grand jury investigations. Because the vast majority of victims do not come forward in childhood, the former rests on the need for generous statutes of limitation (“SOLs”). Short SOLs short-circuit judicial disclosure of the truth. In a state, like the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where there are short SOLs, the only path to justice for these victims and the only means of public disclosure is through the release of investigating grand jury reports. We urge this
Court to continue the successful movement of truth by releasing the report of the Fortieth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury in its entirety as soon as possible.”

“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,” says Prof. Marci Hamilton, CEO and Academic Director of CHILD USA. So long as Pennsylvania lawmakers fail to extend the civil and criminal statutes of limitations for child sex abuse and refuse to revive the expired SOLs for the vast majority of child sex abuse victims in Pennsylvania, these grand jury reports are the only means of learning of the horrors the
Commonwealth’s children have suffered. Suppressing the identities of the alleged
perpetrators—particularly where they are not indicted simply due to the expiration of the criminal statute of limitations-- re-victimizes the victims and disserves the public.”

“When added to the previous grand jury reports on the Philadelphia Archdiocese and the Johnstown-Altoona diocese, this report will mean that Pennsylvania is the first state to comprehensively study clergy sex abuse in one state,” according to Terry McKiernan, President of Bishopaccountability.org. “This is an opportunity to learn the facts and the scope of clergy sex abuse in a state that is heavily Catholic. In light of the two indictments that have flowed from the investigation, it is evident that this information is not only historically important but also relevant to child protection today.”

About CHILD USA

CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to ending child abuse and neglect through research-based public policy advocacy. Sexual abuse and the maltreatment of children often occur in secret, behind closed doors, but have public consequences. Victims, their families, and the public pay a high price even decades after the violence ends. CHILD USA cuts through the shame and the secrecy to gather and analyze the data behind abuse and neglect. CHILD USA draws on the combined expertise of the nation’s leading medical and legal academics to reach evidence-based solutions to persistent and widespread child abuse and neglect.

CHILD USA is the nation’s leading organization that tracks and advocates for access to justice for child sex abuse victims, including child sex abuse statutes of limitations in the United States and internationally. For more information, visit https://www.childusa.org.
 

About BishopAccountability
BishopAccountability.org (BA), is a library and internet archive of the Catholic clergy abuse crisis. BA provides a public database of accused clergy, updated daily, which currently describes the cases of 4,400 accused bishops, priests, brothers, and nuns in the U.S. BA also maintains a public library of investigative reporting on the abuse problem totaling over 100,000 articles, as well as a library of reports by prosecutors, attorneys general, NGOs, and investigative bodies retained by Catholic institutions. BA’s mission is to increase public understanding of the Catholic clergy abuse problem, and to encourage
transparency and accountability in Catholic institutions by providing accounts of Catholic clergy abuse and poor management practices, to the extent that these can be documented from publicly available sources.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, May 24, 2018

Contact: Ali Boren, Executive Director, CHILD USA, (215) 353-8984

CHILD USA LAUNCHES THE AMICUS ADVOCACY PROJECT, LED BY PROF. LESLIE GRIFFIN, THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL TOOL IN THE FIGHT FOR CHILD PROTECTION

CHILD USA is delighted to announce the creation of the Amicus Advocacy Project.  The Project will be led by Professor Leslie Griffin, CHILD’s Director of Amicus Advocacy.  Griffin, a prolific scholar, who focuses on religion, bioethics, and constitutional law, received her B.A. summa cum laude from the University of Notre Dame, her Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Yale University, and her J.D. from Stanford Law School. 

Through the Amicus Advocacy Project, CHILD USA is submitting amicus briefs in important cases involving child protection.  Over the course of her career, CHILD USA CEO, Professor Marci Hamilton, has submitted dozens of amicus briefs related to child protection.  This new partnership enables CHILD to continue its groundbreaking work on behalf of lawyers and child advocates everywhere. 

Dr. Griffin is the author of Law and Religion: Cases and Materials, now in its fourth edition (2017) with Foundation Press.  She has long used her training in Law and Religious Studies to advocate rights in religious institutions for women, men, children, the disabled, and LGBTQs. She has written numerous briefs defending employees’ religious freedom as well as challenging the ministerial exception, a mistaken First Amendment doctrine that keeps too many fired employees out of court. Dr. Griffin’s role as Director of Amicus Advocacy helps ensure that CHILD USA’s commitment to civil rights is heard in courts throughout the country.

This expansion of CHILD USA’s work as the leading think tank on child protection will add to CHILD USA’s mission to help end child abuse and neglect. 

###

About CHILD USA

CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to ending child abuse and neglect through research-based public policy advocacy. CHILD USA is the nation’s leading organization that tracks and advocates for access to justice for child sex abuse victims. For more information, visit https://www.childusa.org

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Thursday, May 10, 2018

Contact: Ali Boren, Executive Director, CHILD USA, (215) 353-8984

LEADING ADVOCATES FOR CHILD VICTIMS ACT REJECT SEN. CATHY YOUNG’S BILL THAT WOULD USE STATE FUNDS TO SHIELD INSTITUTIONS FROM LIABILITY AND HELP HIDDEN CHILD PREDATORS REMAIN IN THE SHADOWS

Senator Young and other Republicans have Been Blocking the Child Victims Act, which Would Raise the Statute of Limitations to Hold Predators Accountable for Child Sex Abuse

Current Law Does Not Allow Victims of Child Sexual Abuse to Sue Predators After They Turn 23; Young Has Repeatedly Failed to Support the Child Victims Act, Which Would Change Statutes of Limitation to Allow Access to Justice for Victims

Young Now Introduces Bill that Will Protect Hidden Predators, Shield Institutions, and Force Victims to Continue Bearing the Vast Majority of the Cost of Child Sex Abuse

On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Sen. Cathy Young (R, Chautauqua) introduced a Senate bill to displace the Child Victims Act, and protect institutions like the Catholic Church and the insurance industry from accountability.  

The Child Victims Act would raise the statute of limitations in New York to prosecute and file civil claims against predators who have sexually abused children.   Young and her fellow Republicans have refused to bring the Child Victims Act to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

New York currently has the most restrictive statute of limitations for most child sexual abuse crimes of any state in the country. Victims are barred from filing criminal and civil claims once they turn 23 years old. The Child Victims Act expands the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse cases and will create a 1-year “window" for previously unaddressed civil claims to be heard in court so that predators who have previously gotten away with child sex abuse crimes can be held accountable. The bill was included in Governor Cuomo’s 2018 executive budget proposal and was passed by the Assembly numerous times.  The Republicans stand in the way of victims’ access to justice and fair treatment.  It is widely expected that the Child Victims Act will be successful when Democrats regain control of the New York state legislature.

Young’s bill is an attempt to block real access to justice for victims and to protect the institutions that put them in harm’s way.  It shifts $300 million from the New York District Attorney’s civil forfeiture fund to cover the cost of claims.  As compared to other states, it is dramatically underfunded.  Victims during California’s one-year window received on average $1.3 million depending on the severity of the abuse.  Young’s bill would drive settlements down to $200,000, dramatically below national averages, even though New York victims need therapy and assistance in one of the most expensive states in America.  Victims would continue to be forced to pay for the vast majority of the harm that the predators and institutions caused.

Instead of using these dollars to improve the state’s school system or child protective services, Sen. Young’s bill underwrites the liabilities of the institutions that have put children in harm’s way: the Catholic Church, Orthodox Jewish yeshivas, the Boy Scouts, elite boarding schools, and numerous sports organizations like USA Volleyball.  It is a direct handout to the insurance industry. 

The group, New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, has been waging an aggressive campaign to pressure members of the New York State Senate in their home districts to support passage of the Child Victims Act. A Quinnapiac poll  showed that 90% of New Yorkers—regardless of party—support passage of the CVA.     

Marci Hamilton, CEO of CHILD USA and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, says that “Sen. Young’s misguided child sex abuse statute of limitations bill should be called the Institutional Subsidy Act.  It shields institutions by using state funds to pay victims.  The only way to do the right thing by the victims from the past is to pass a window that revives their expired SOLs and lets them go to court.  That is the tried and true method of identifying hidden child predators.  This bill betrays victims.  They want accountability for the abuse that happened to them.  Yet, this bill would not make institutions accountable and only identify a small subset of victims, because there is no discovery.”

Kathryn Robb, survivor and Board member of MassKids, and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, says “Every victim has a right to the justice system. This bill denies victims real justice, protects hidden predators and rewards the institutions that hide them. You cannot get to reconciliation without truth, and you cannot get to truth without the full flexed muscle of the justice system. Victims deserve the full justice system, not a watered down version constructed to purely to protect child rapists. New Yorkers are better than this, and it is time for our progressive Governor to  finally put his real might behind Lady #MeToo Justice.  If justice delayed is justice denied, then justice denied outright is the pinnacle of indignity and prejudice, and an utter disgrace for the State of New York.” 

Steven Jimenez, survivor and award-winning journalist, and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators, says, “Republican Senator Cathy Young’s proposed bill is a desperate — not to mention disgraceful — attempt to heap more injury on New York’s victims of child sex abuse.  One has to wonder whether Senator Young’s bill was ghost-written by the Catholic Conference of Bishops or her party’s leader, Senator John Flanagan, who will forever be remembered by New Yorkers for protecting hidden predators. While states across America have initiated long-overdue statute-of-limitations reform, New York continues to have the worst SOL record of all — thanks to Senator Young and her Republican cohorts who have blocked the Child Victims Act. But child sex abuse victims and their advocates will not be deceived by this latest attempt to deny victims the justice they need and deserve. The fact that Cathy Young is shamelessly attempting to protect institutions instead of children should alarm all New Yorkers, especially parents.”

###

About New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators

New Yorkers Against Hidden Predators (NYAHP) is committed to passing the Child Victims Act in New York and holding legislators accountable for failure to act. NYAHP is seeking to reform New York State's antiquated child sexual abuse laws and bring to justice the hidden sexual predators that live in our communities today. For more information visit www.stophiddenpredators.com.

 


 
 
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - APRIL 25, 2018

IN AFTERMATH OF LARRY NASSAR CASE, BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION of National Experts Launched to Examine Failures of Institutions to Protect Youth Athletes

"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


DbpTsoFVwAAqcv2.jpg-large.jpeg

PHILADELPHIA, PA – CHILD USA, the University of Pennsylvania-based think tank focused on child abuse and neglect, with $300,000 in funding from the Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD), today announced the establishment of an independent Blue Ribbon Commission to examine the institutional responses to sexual abuse by former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The announcement came at the Athletes and Abuse Symposium hosted at the University of Pennsylvania, where leading national experts on sports, law enforcement, child sexual abuse, and child development convened to examine the repeated abuse of athletes across the spectrum of sports and ages.

“Game Over: Commission to Protect Youth Athletes” led by Marci Hamilton, CEO of CHILD USA and Fox Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania, will have 16 members, and will immediately engage in a fact-finding exercise, before conducting public hearings to bring greater light to what happened and what went wrong in reporting. The commission expects to release a full, public report, in the beginning of 2020 with the goal of preventing abuse in the future.

“We’ve all read the headlines, we have all heard the gut wrenching witness statements from the survivors. What we need now is a comprehensive assessment of what went wrong and why,” said Marci Hamilton, CEO and Academic Director of CHILD USA. “By the time we have concluded this Commission we will better understand the institutional failings that allowed these crimes to happen and have a series of recommendations and solutions to ensure other entities and individuals don’t make the same mistakes in the future.”

“The Foundation for Global Sports Development funded this commission because we believe in the developmental benefits of sports for youth around the world,” said David Ulich, President of The Foundation for Global Sports Development and trustee of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Foundation. “Those benefits are placed at great risk when the individuals and institutions who are charged with developing and protecting our young athletes fail.”

“It goes without saying that numerous organizations and institutions were unable –or unwilling –to identify and immediately remedy the pervasive abuse executed by Larry Nassar on young athletes,” said Dr. Steven Ungerleider, Vice President of The Foundation for Global Sports Development and best-selling sports psychologist. “Larry Nassar isn’t the first nor will he be the last person to prey on young athletes, if we don’t fully examine and make serious changes to how we oversee the development of young athletes in sports.”

The sex abuse scandal centered around Dr. Larry Nassar, team doctor for USA Gymnastics (USAG) and Michigan State University (MSU), is one of the most complex in modern history, involving many institutions, coaches, and adults—all of whom failed to appropriately protect hundreds of children from sex abuse. A total of 156 women and girls testified against Nassar at his 2017-18 criminal trial, but 265 have come forward so far. Experts believe there are likely more.

This independent commission will investigate all aspects of the systems that enabled the abuse, examine how they failed, reach conclusions, and issue recommendations to prevent child sex abuse in the future. It will be composed of the leading experts in the field of child sex abuse from the medical, social science, legal, and public policy arenas, each of whom is donating their time pro bono to the project.

Key components of the commission include:

·      Fact-Finding, Data Collection, Searchable Data Base of All Documents. The Commission will conduct a thorough public document and media review of every aspect of each institution’s and adult’s involvement in creating a pathway for Nassar to abuse hundreds of children. Fact-finding and data collection will be managed by University of Pennsylvania-based CHILD USA. CHILD USA will also bring in experts in data collection and storage to identify research leads and to construct a searchable database of all documents, which will be released to the public upon completion of the project. The Commission will collect and analyze the data in order to independently assess the environments that enabled the abuse. 

·      Legal and Policy Review. Upon review of the data and facts, the Commission will make specific recommendations on statutory remedies and institutional policy changes necessary to provide greater support and protection for child athletes.  The Commission will conduct a thorough review of state and federal laws and institutional policies and procedures in place at each step along the way. The study of existing laws will be comprehensive, including but not limited to: state reporting requirements, child protection, statutes of limitations, and civil rights laws; federal laws including Title IX, federal statutes of limitations, and the Ted Stevens Act; and the public programs constructed to deal with children in sports, universities, and schools.

·      Public Participation and Transparency.  This will be an open and transparent commission to ensure accountability and integrity of both the process and the findings. The Commission will provide regular public updates on its progress to ensure continued transparency. Once the data collection has been completed, the Commission will hold public hearings at the University of Pennsylvania with commission members, invited experts and witnesses, and parties involved in the Nassar case.  Specifically, current and former officials from Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics, US Olympic Committee, coaches (including the Karolyis), survivors, attorneys involved in the lawsuits, and others will be invited to testify.

Upon completion of the fact finding, data collection, and public hearings, the commission will compose and release its findings to the public and policymakers. All materials gathered and testimony obtained will be archived and made available to the public.  

In addition to being chaired by Marci Hamilton of CHILD USA, commission members include:

Steven Ungerleider, PhD, co-founder of The Foundation for Global Sports Development

Steven Berkowitz, MD, Associate Professor, Clinical Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine; Director, Penn Center for Youth and Family Trauma Response and Recovery

Pat Ciarrocchi, former CBS3 Philadelphia news anchor who has covered the sex abuse crisis in depth

Sharon Cooper, MD, CEO, Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, P.A.

David Corwin, MD, Professor and Director of Forensic Services, Pediatrics Department, University of Utah

James Carpenter, Esq., Former Chief, Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit, Philadelphia D.A. Office  

Melissa Jampol, Esq., Epstein Becker & Green, P.C., former Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey

Kathleen Coulborn Faller PhD, Professor Emerita of Children and Families in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan; Director, Family Assessment Clinic; Principal Investigator on the University of Michigan site of National Child Welfare Workforce Institute

Teresa Huizar, Executive Director, National Children’s Alliance

Jennie Noll, PhD, Professor for Healthy Children, Dept. of Human Development and Family Studies, Penn State; Director, Child Maltreatment Solutions Network

Daniel Pollack, MSW, JD, Professor at Yeshiva University’s School of Social Work and a frequent expert witness in child welfare lawsuits

Monica Rowland, Former President, Athletes Advisory Council to the US Olympic Committee, Pentathlon Coach

Philip Scribano, DO, MSCE, Director of Safe Place: The Center for Child Protection and Health at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia; program director of the Child Abuse Pediatrics Fellowship Program

Joyanna Silberg, PhD, Senior Child Trauma Consultant, Sheppard Pratt Health System; Owner, Childhood Recovery Resources; President, Leadership Council on Child Abuse & Interpersonal Violence

James R. Marsh, Esq., Founder, Children’s Law Center

The Advisory Committee consists of:

Nancy Hogshead Makar, J.D., Chair

Lynn Abraham, former Philadelphia District Attorney, Archer

Dean Colson, Esq., Colson Hicks Eidson

Jane Eisner, journalist, EIC, The Forward

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (invited)

Prof. Richard Gelles, University of Pennsylvania

Thomas Kline, Esq., Kline & Specter PC

Thomas Lyon, Esq., USC School of Law

Paul Mones, Esq.

Abbie Newman, R.N. J.D.,  CEO of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center

David Ulich, Esq.; Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

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About The Foundation For Global Sports Development

Working closely with international sports federations, generous donors and committed athletes, The Foundation for Global Sports Development promotes sportsmanship, education, fair play and ethics among the world’s youth. The Foundation gives special emphasis to groups and communities that are most in need or most underserved by current programs, including women, minorities and youth. Visit www.globalsportsdevelopment.org to learn more.

About CHILD USA

CHILD USA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit located at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to ending child abuse and neglect through research-based public policy advocacy. CHILD USA is the nation’s leading organization that tracks and advocates for access to justice for child sex abuse victims. For more information, visit https://www.childusa.org