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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. 

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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.”

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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


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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