Poll: A route to closure for abuse victims

Five years ago, a handful of Colorado legislators sought to make it easier for victims of decades-old sex abuse to sue their tormentors and the organizations that protected them.

The Archdiocese of Denver fought back hard.

The state's Catholic hierarchy - through jeremiads delivered from the pulpit and alliance-building with municipal interest groups and teacher unions - turned an initially popular bill to extend the civil statute of limitations on sex crimes into something politically toxic. By the end of 2006, the bill was dead on the statehouse floor.


Should victims of long-ago sex abuse be given their day in court?

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, then head of the state's largest archdiocese, stood at the center of that debate.

Now he's in Philadelphia, where one of the city's representatives in Harrisburg has proposed a similar window during which victims of long-ago abuse could seek redress.

After two grand juries found that church officials had covered up the scandal for years, the pressure to enact such a statute has never been greater.

Chaput, meeting with Inquirer editors Thursday, restated his opposition to these so-called civil windows on grounds that they might tax church finances to the point where parishes and the archdiocese's education and social services programs aiding the poor might suffer.

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