Father of Polly Klaas lobbies to get rid of statute of limitations in child sexual molestation cases, Catholic Church fights to keep themby Dara Kam | April 8th, 2010
A decades-old scandal in which a Wisconsin priest is accused of molesting more than 200 deaf boys could be the saving grace for a proposed change to Florida law that the Catholic Church has fought for six years and is still fighting.
State law gives victims of certain sex offenses, including “non-forcible rape” of children age 12 and older, until they are 21 to press charges. Lawsuits must be filed before the victim reaches age 26.
Under Florida law, Wisconsin priest Lawrence C. Murphy, who died in 1999 after admitting he abused boys in his care at a school for the deaf and blind, could not be charged with the crimes if he were still alive and neither could the religious institution that allowed the molestation to continue.
For the first time in six years, proposals in the House and Senate that would do away with the statutes of limitations have a chance of passing.
The measure has drawn the attention of Marc Klaas, the father of Polly Klaas, a 12-year-old California girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1993.
Klaas wrote to senators asking them to support SB 870, HB 525 so that victims of the horrific crimes can get justice.
“I understand that the Catholic Church has been one of the primary opponents to this legislation over the years. The fact that the Catholic Church is embroiled in yet another pedophile Priest sex scandal that reaches into the Vatican itself should diminish the power of their opposition as well as explain their virulent opposition to SB 870/HB 525,” Klaas wrote in an e-mail.
Read the full story here.