First, a trial has begun in Portland Oregon against the Boy Scouts brought by a man who, when he was about 12, was sexually abused by a scout leader – a convicted pedophile who admits to doing this. The New York Times reports that “Scout leaders have been found guilty of sexual abuse crimes in various cases across the country for more than two decades” and now, lawyers say, files show that this went on with the knowledge of national and regional scout leaders. This was even after complaints of abuse arose, and “sometimes even after they had been convicted of sexual abuse.” They also say claims of abuse began “as early as the 1920s.” (The Boy Scouts say “the files demonstrate proactive efforts to stop it.”)
In Delaware, the legislature is considering a bill “that would allow victims of child pornographers to sue their victimizers in civil court and win mandatory minimum judgments of $150,000.” The bill would also extend the statute of limitations from two to three years, or until “the end of a criminal prosecution or the victim turns 18 -- whichever comes last.”
Meanwhile in Delaware, fallout continues in the case of Dr. Earl B. Bradley, the pediatrician who allegedly raped or sexually abused 103 children. The dean of Widener University School of Law is “independently examining how the doctor continued to practice despite at least a decade of questionable behavior.” In fact, a lawsuit brought on behalf of a 3-year-old girl has now been filed against the Medical Society of Delaware and three Delaware doctors saying, among other things, that they failed to act on warnings of Bradley’s “unprofessional conduct,” including a complaint filed by Bradley’s sister (which the medical society denies).
Speaking of statutes of limitations, this week a hearing was held in Connecticut that would “make Connecticut the fourth state in the nation to eliminate the civil statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases.” Some witnesses raised the Roman Catholic Church scandals.
Speaking of which, The Daily Beast reported on St. Patrick’s Day that in the United States, “more than $1 billion has been paid to victims” with most receiving “$5,000 and $500,000, depending on the length and level of abuse.” But in Ireland, where a report last year said “abuse in church-run homes in Ireland was ‘endemic,’” the Bishop of Ferns, Denis Brennan, has asked parishioners to help the Church pay for compensation to abuse victims, prompting denunciations from outspoken singer Sinead O’Connor (a victim of childhood violence herself,) who said, “To expect little old ladies and little old men to cough up money for sex abuse scandals is outrageous.”
In a country with a strong civil justice system grounded in notions of accountability, like here in the U.S., it’s hard to imagine such a thing. We’re just sayin’