Bishop Nicholas A. DiMarzio of Brooklyn is reportedly threatening dire consequences for both legislators and the Church if New York lifts the statute of limitations to allow victims of child sex-abuse to sue. The one-year suspension will, according to the Bishop, bankrupt the Church and lead to social and political backlash for legislators.
The controversy in New York is filled with political intrigue, with some accusing Assemblyman Vito J. Lopez of cutting a deal with the Church to remove a meddlesome priest on a Brooklyn community group in exchange for his effort to stop the legislative effort to give victims an opportunity to sue.
Absent the change, victims have only five years after turning 18 to sue for abuse during their childhood. Current proposals would extend this to ten years, but the Church is most concerned with the proposed one-year grace period allowed to any victim.
The Bishop has suggested that, if forced to bear the cost of all of its abuse of children in the past, the Church would have to close parishes, suspend social programs, and risk bankruptcy. I am not sure what is more scary, but I would go with the notion that the potential scope of abused children is so high that the Church could not handle the costs.
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