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.
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.