Jun 21, 2016

Bill Donohue Crows Over Defeat of Church's Victims

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

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The Catholic Church and its lobbyists appear to have defeated the Child Victims Act in New York State, and Bill Donohue's victory lap is offending pretty much everyone.

The gloating head of the Catholic League on Monday ripped into the “victims’ lobby” he says is out to “rape” the Catholic Church over the issue of child sex abuse.

. . .

“The bill was sold as justice for the victims of sexual abuse, when, in fact, it was a sham,” Donohue wrote.

He blasted the legislation as ”a vindictive bill pushed by lawyers and activists out to rape the Catholic Church.”

Yes, that's right. He accused people who were raped by Catholic clergy of trying to rape the Church.

Donohue has a long history of saying shockingly offensive things about the sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church, minimizing these crimes, and even accusing victims of being "gold diggers."

As I mentioned here, Catholic dioceses around the country are openly terrified that adjusting the statute of limitations would bankrupt them. They have been spending millions on lobbying efforts to defeat any such legislation.

Said Donohue of this particular bill:

“If the statute of limitations were lifted on offenses involving the sexual abuse of minors, the only winners would be greedy and bigoted lawyers out to line their pockets in a rash of settlements,” Donohue railed. “The big losers would be the poor, about whom the attorneys and activists care little: When money is funneled from parishioners to lawyers, services to the needy suffer. “

Funneling parishioner money to lobbyists, to prevent decades worth of abused parishioners from seeking justice, is perfectly fine, I guess.

Donohue has not, to my knowledge, mentioned the expensive lobbyists, but did take credit for his own role in this "victory" over abuse victims.

Nor, do I believe, has he had anything to say about role a scandalous affair between lobbyist Patricia Lynch and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver may have played in quashing similar legislation.

Another top firm, Patricia Lynch & Associates, whose namesake had close ties to now disgraced Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was hired by the Catholic Conference in 2009. Lynch’s firm for many years was ranked in the top 3 of well-paid lobbyists.

Lynch’s hiring by the Catholic Conference came after the Assembly passed different versions of the Child Victims Act four times from 2006 to 2008. The measure never came up again for a vote after Lynch was hired.

“Once Ms. Lynch lobbied for the Catholic Conference, Mr. Silver’s support for our bill ended, and the bill did not come out of the Assembly’s Codes Committee ... which as speaker, he controlled,” John Aretakis, a former lawyer and an advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse, wrote in a scathing letter recently to a judge handling Silver's recent criminal sentencing.

His near endless moralizing and finger-wagging has limits, apparently. He reserves it mostly for Hollywood and sex abuse survivors who want justice, but please note the hypocrisy of his scathing critique of a film he never saw depicting of the rape of twelve year old Dakota Fanning. (The young actress defended the careful depiction here.) Movies about sexual abuse are bad. Actual abuse at the hands of Catholic clergy, however, we should really just get over.

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