Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Council pushes state to take action on child sexual abuse legislation

State Rep. Louise Bishop was 12 years old when her stepfather stripped her of her innocence in the middle of the night inside of her Georgia home.

Council pushes state to take action on child sexual abuse legislation

State Rep. Louise Bishop was 12 years old when her stepfather stripped her of her innocence in the middle of the night inside of her Georgia home.

Bishop shared her story with City Council which voted Thursday, 16 to 0 to pass a resolution sponsored by Councilmen Bill Greenlee and Denny O'Brien urging the State Legislature to move forward on bills that would protect victims of childhood sexual abuse. [Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez was absent.]

"No one really understands what these young men and women experience, unless you've been there," said Bishop. "No one understands how to treat them. No one understands what it feels like and no one is able to help them until a law is put into place that allows [sexual predators] to be able to [get treatment] or send them to jail."

Bishop, the former minister and radio talk show host held onto that bitter part of her past until last year when she and other state lawmakers began to push for action on child sexual abuse legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations and increase the requirements for reporting suspected abuse.

"I believe it's important we support these efforts," Greenlee said. "We want to send a strong message on this."

Councilman Jim Kenney said, "There should be no statute of limitations on the theft of people's childhood."

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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