Sunday, July 13, 2014
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New archbishop opposes sex-abuse window

New Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says he isn't likely to change his mind about creating a window to allow some past victims of sexual abuse by priests to file lawsuits after the statute of limitations in their cases has expired.

New archbishop opposes sex-abuse window

Archbishop Charles Chaput with Harold Jackson Video: Archbishop Charles Chaput with Harold Jackson

New Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput says he isn’t likely to change his mind about creating a window to allow some past victims of sexual abuse by priests to file lawsuits after the statute of limitations in their cases has expired.

Chaput, in a discussion Thursday with the Inquirer Editorial Board, said statutes of limitations exist for sound legal reasons, and that exceptions should not be made just to allow litigation against the Catholic Church.

His position is contrary to the Editorial Board’s, which has supported legislation sponsored by Rep. Louise Williams Bishop (D., Phila.) that would eliminate Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations on child sex-abuse cases.

Bishop’s bill recognizes that young abuse victims often take years, even decades, to confront what happened to them, meaning the time limit for filing criminal or civil cases often passes.

More coverage
Should victims of long-ago sex abuse be given their day in court?
Yes, only way for clergy abuse victims to redress years of cover-up
No, they're just after a big payout
Yes, insurers will cover most costs, public will learn the truth
No, since Catholic bishops will never let lawmakers pass such a proposal

Chaput said he was still getting to know Philadelphia after only about six weeks here, but was impressed with people’s friendless and how much Catholics identify with their local parishes. He said if more parish schools have to be closed, that will be among of the hardest decisions he will have to make.

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The Inquirer Editorial Board's Say What? opinion blog showcases the work of the editors and writers who produce the newspaper's daily and Sunday opinion pages.

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