Tuesday December 02, 2003
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) A new state law granting more time for lawsuits over sexual abuse cases is being challenged by Catholic organizations, angering advocates for abuse victims.
“It’s our belief that the Catholic Church should not be leading the charge to overturn a law that protects innocent victims,” Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said Tuesday. “The new law gives victims a chance to expose perpetrators.”
Catholic officials, however, said there is no conflict between combating sexual abuse within the church and making a legal argument.
“I think we’re going to assert our right to defend our position in a court of law,” said Robert Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois.
The new law was signed this summer at the urging of SNAP and others who said abuse victims need more time to understand what had happened to them and decide whether to sue.