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Minnesota Senate OKs Bill Easing Lawsuits for Child Sexual Abuse

Change in Minnesota Law would:

Drop the statute of limitations for civil suits involving child sexual abuse going forward.

For older cases, it would create a three-year window for past victims to file lawsuits against abusers and institutions that may have failed to protect them

Posted on May 10, 2013

“This is a huge development. Other states likely will follow.”Tim Kosnoff
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/05/08/politics/senate-passes-bill-easing-lawsuits-for-child-sexual-abuse

Our attorneys are highly experienced in child sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Alleged Abuse by Hawaiian Priest Has a Familiar Ring to It

By TIM KOSNOFF

Cops know it as “M.O.” In Latin it’s “modus operandi” and in English it’s “mode” or “method” of operation.

In matters of child sexual abuse, the M.O. is often eerily the same. Such, according to recent allegations, was the case pertaining to Father George DeCosta, a priest in Hawaii. DeCostsa is listed in a database of priests publicly accused of childhood sexual abuse in Hawaii, as tracked by BishopAccountability.org. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/
The temptation is to use the cliché, “Stop us if you’ve heard this one.” At our law firm we’ve heard the familiar sounding account many times, and the details are as predictable as recurring bad dreams.

The following is from the Aug. 22, 2012, Hawaii Tribune Herald:
The child sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church has hit close to home, with fingers of accusation pointing at a priest revered in the local community.

Father George DeCosta, who for almost three decades was the parish priest at Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church in Keaukaha, has been accused of abuse by two Hawaii men. The two were students at Damien Memorial High School in the 1960s when DeCosta was the chaplain there. [One of the men] was a sophomore at Damien in 1968. …

The [victim] states that DeCosta provided him with alcohol, ‘insisted they go swimming’ and ‘forced’ him into skinny dipping. He wrote that he became ‘incapacitated’ and when he awoke DeCosta was ‘masturbating’ him and ‘fondling his testicles.

The victim went on to describe physical, emotional and psychological injuries due to the sexual abuse by DeCosta, including, but not limited to: dreams, nightmares and flashbacks. The 74-year-old DeCosta, denied the allegations. DeCosta retired from Malia Puka O Kalani in 2002 and is living in Volcano.

So here it is yet again: the familiar sequence. A trusted Catholic Church official is alleged to have been a pedophile. An alleged victim comes forward and gives vivid details of child sexual abuse, a modus operandi familiar to those of us who deal with such cases. Then the alleged perpetrator denies the charges and, until the claims are adjudicated, the accused — his reputation tarnished, if not ruined — nonetheless remains free.
There suddenly is one less priest “revered in the local community.”
And the victims? They’re left, here again, with shattered lives during seemingly every waking hour. Then, when they sleep, there are the predictable, recurring bad dreams. We’re here to help.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Kosnoff Fasy welcomes Kara Tredway, our newest associate

By Dan Fasy

Tim Kosnoff and I are extremely please to announce the arrival of the newest member of our firm, Kara A. Tredway. She is a 2011 distinguished graduate of the McGeorge School of Law at University of the Pacific, Sacramento.

Kara will be particularly valuable to our firm as we take on clients from California, where she is a bar association member, as she is here in Washington state.

To give readers an idea of Kara’s background and aspirations, we posed a series of questions:

Why did you decide to go to law school?

I decided from a very young age that I wanted to become a lawyer. My parents were always supportive but also told me to keep an open mind about finally deciding on a career path. Throughout high school, college and beyond I continued to hold fast to my dream of becoming a lawyer. In all that time, I never once truly considered any other path for myself, so I decided to fulfill my dream and entered law school in 2008.

Did you go to law school directly after graduating from college?

I did not enter law school immediately after undergrad. After my undergraduate work, I pursued a master’s degree abroad in the socio-legal field. I spent a year living in a small university town in the Basque region of Spain taking classes with professors and students from across the world. It was a truly wonderful experience. After completing my masters, I worked as a legal assistant so that I could have first-hand knowledge of the inner-workings of a law firm. I thought gaining that experience was essential to help me determine whether pursuing a career in the law was the right thing for me.

What helped you decide where to attend law school? And why two law licenses – California and Washington?

Originally, I thought I wanted to focus on international human-rights law and the school that I chose, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, has an excellent international-law program. Also, I was considering the possibility of working with politics on some level and, since McGeorge is located in the state capital, Sacramento, it seemed like a good fit for my interests.

As I was nearing the end of my third year at McGeorge, I was not 100-percent sure whether I would practice in California or Washington. I am from California originally and I honestly never thought that I would live anywhere else. However, during my time in law school my husband was pursuing his own educational goals and was working toward earning a doctorate in political science from the University of Washington.

In Seattle, I always got the feeling that I was home. We finally decided that we wanted to live permanently in Seattle, so that is what prompted me to take the Washington bar exam. However, you never know where you will be years down the road, so I decided to take the California exam first just to have some options down the road.

Did you know what area of law practice you wanted to pursue?

My goal for wanting to practice law is to make a difference in people’s lives. I truly believe that plaintiff’s work is the best way to accomplish that goal so it has always been on my priority list in terms of practice areas. If I was not working on the civil side then I think I would consider being a criminal prosecutor for a city or county.

Kosnoff Fasy has a victim-advocacy focus. What about this approach appeals to you?

Anytime someone takes the step to hire a lawyer, he or she is usually in a difficult situation. Now, add in the complexity of wanting to hire a lawyer because you were a victim of childhood sexual abuse. There are so many emotions tied into bringing this type of case and, for many of our clients, it is an incredibly difficult thing to do.

What I appreciate most about Kosnoff Fasy is that the partners have recognized the need for a special kind of advocacy for victims of childhood sexual abuse and have structured their firm around that need. I appreciate that Kosnoff Fasy is singularly committed to seeking justice for victims of childhood abuse.

What do you most hope to accomplish during your first year?

I would like to see my work directly help those who have been victimized. I cannot imagine anything more powerful or rewarding than that.

Welcome, Kara!

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Washington State Extends the Statute of Limitations for Filing Criminal Charges in Child Sex-Abuse Cases

“This is a very significant development because it will protect children. The new changes in the law will enable victims to bring criminal actions against their abusers when they’re adults — when they’re better prepared emotionally and psychologically to assist in the prosecution.” — Tim Kosnoff

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/spincontrol/2013/apr/18/child-sex-abuse-prosecutions-extended/

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338

Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Joliet, Illinois: How one abuse victim pushed for release of secret church files, and prevailed

By DAN FASY

It could’ve been a heart-breaking tale. Instead it’s eminently heartening, about a man wanting to do more than settle his case with Catholic Church officials who, for more than half a century, were the enablers and protectors of pedophile priests in and around Joliet, Illinois.

In a superb story (URL below) by three Chicago Tribune reporters, it’s recounted how David Rudofski stood up to the power of the Joliet Archdiocese. Rudofski was sexually abused the day of his first confession. In settling his case, Rudofski demanded that church officials make public what proved to be more than 7,000 documents detailing how pedophile priests were protected and child victims were ignored.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-21/news/chi-open-files-part-of-settlement-for-priest-sex-abuse-victim-20130320_1_joliet-diocese-abusive-priests-priests-with-substantiated-allegations
According to the Tribune article, church officials verified the claims of Rudofski, now a 38-year-old electrician. Part of the archdiocese’s offer to the abuse victim included a personal apology from a bishop and at least six times what Rudofski makes per year. This would have been in trade for the abuse victim limiting publicity.

Rudofski, however, according to the Tribune, wanted the diocese to pay in “a currency far more precious to the church than money. He demanded that the diocese settle its debt by turning over the secret archives it maintained on abusive priests and making them available for public consumption.”

“If people don’t know how this was allowed to happen for decades, they can’t prevent it from happening again,” Rudofski said.
The story details the importance of releasing pertinent information previously not made public. The reporters claim that “documents also raise new questions about whether the church has been forthcoming about the number of local priests involved in the scandal and the percentage of clergy confronted with credible claims.”

The story points to “the ineptitude and indifference that greeted the allegations almost since the religious district’s inception in 1948. The errors span more than six decades and involved three bishops, 91 places of worship and more than 100 victims.”

As an example of the entrenched indifference that continues to define church officials, the Tribune story notes that, reached at his home, retired Bishop Joseph Imesch, 81, said he didn’t want to discuss details of the revelations in the documents. He told the Tribune:
“‘I’m not going to rehash all of this. I know what I did; I know what I should have done,’ he said, expressing frustration with the way news reports portrayed his conduct.”

Other church officials responded to reporters’ queries by citing what they claim is statistical verification that pedophilia doesn’t occur among priests any more than it does among members of other professions.

David Rudofski has provided more than just a great service to other victims of child sexual abuse. He also has become a terrific role model who has the potential of emboldening many other victims to come forward and take on those responsible — officials who somehow believe an insincere apology from a retired bishop somehow makes it OK that the institution countenanced pedophiles’ crimes for six decades.

We at Kosnoff Fasy have welcomed as clients many victims similar to David Rudofski. Such victims deserve justice. Moreover, as Rudofski and others have shown, victims needn’t live in fear of pedophile-enabling organizations. We know that, in a court of law, the truth about child sexual abusers and their protectors will prevail.
We will advocate for you. Contact us at:855-LAW4-CSA, 855-529-4272.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338

Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

The Next Frontier of Scholarly Study: Sexual Abuse in Puerto Rico

By TIM KOSNOFF

We often broach the notion of statutes of limitation, typically within the context of how such time constraints serve the purposes of certain pedophiles and hinder the ability of the abused to seek damages in civil litigation.

Let’s look at the notion of time limits in a different way and ask rhetorically: Is there a built-in time period after which the effects on the victim miraculously just disappear?
Common sense tells us such a supposition is ridiculous. Anecdotal evidence continually reveals to those of us who litigate against accused abusers that the devastating effects on victims can linger for entire lifetimes.

An ongoing scholarly study seems to show precisely how observable the damage to victims can be. It’s being conducted among subjects in Puerto Rico: interesting given that the Caribbean island probably isn’t the first place many think of when the topic of child sexual abuse is brought up. Here, then, from a 2011 article in the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times, is a refresher:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A lawsuit filed Monday in a Puerto Rico court accuses a St. John’s Abbey [a Minnesota institution] monk of sexually abusing a teenager in 1978 at a boarding school in [the Puerto Rican city of] Humacao.
“The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Raymond Francisco Schulte of abusing the boy at the San Antonio Abad boarding school that was run by St. John’s Abbey. Schulte was assigned as a monk, priest, teacher and principal at the school from 1977 to 1981.

“The lawsuit accuses Schulte, who also was known as Father Ray or Father Francisco, of sexually abusing at least two other students at the school and of recruiting at least one boy to attend St. John’s Prep School.

“The lawsuit accuses Schulte of continuing the abuse at the Prep School when the student enrolled there and when Schulte returned there in 1981 to serve as Prep School chaplain.

“Mike Ford, the attorney representing St. John’s Abbey, said last week that the abbey would discuss resolution to the case even though the decades-old allegations might put the case outside the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations in civil cases is the time in which a victim must file a claim or be barred from doing so.

“The complaint filed Monday against Schulte indicates that the victim didn’t ‘have knowledge of the injuries relating to the sexual abuse‘ until June, 2010. In May, 2010, an investigator interviewed the man related to a case involving another possible Schulte victim. The man described what had happened to him with Schulte in an affidavit, and then ‘began to think about the sexual abuse by Fr. Schulte and the ways that these acts had injured him,’ according to the complaint.

“‘Plaintiff also, for the first time, was aware that Fr. Schulte had sexually abused more than he and his friend, while at (San Antonio Abad boarding school). This knowledge led the Plaintiff to believe that the Defendant St. John’s may in some way be responsible for failing to supervise Fr. Schulte, for failing to protect Plaintiff from Fr. Schulte, and that St. John’s may have defrauded the Plaintiff.’”

The above, then, given the Ford quote, indicates how a statute of limitations can shield an alleged perpetrator.
Now to the abstract for the scholarly study being conducted at Carlos Albizu University in San Juan: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22545566 ”This study explores dissociative symptoms in three different groups of Puerto Rican children. Data were collected on 40 children with documented sexual abuse history, 39 children with psychiatric disorders but without a history of sexual abuse, and 40 community control children.
“Dissociative symptoms were assessed with the child using the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC); a social worker answered the Child Dissociative Checklist (CDC). Results indicated that children with sexual abuse obtained significantly different scores on both the TSCC and the CDC.
“Further analysis indicated that child and social worker reports of dissociative symptoms were highly correlated . . . Furthermore, 30 percent of the children in the sexual-abuse group scored at or above the cutoff point of 12 on the CDC, which is indicative of a dissociative disorder. None of the children in the other two groups obtained such a score.
“The results suggest that children with documented sexual-abuse victimization demonstrate a significant number of dissociative phenomena that not only are subjectively experienced but also can be observed by a non-family member.
“Finally, as nearly a third of the abused children obtained a score of 12 or higher on the CDC, the next step is to prepare clinicians to conduct a proper and formal diagnosis assessment of dissociative disorders.”
Meanwhile we await a way to assure such victims and their friends and loved ones that, someday, a statute of limitations will magically make their agonies go away.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law  and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

The Sad, But All Too Familiar Fact in Abuse Cases: Pedophiles are Often ‘Trusted,’ Well Known by Survivors and Relatives

By DAN FASY

A recent pair of links we posted on our Facebook page inadvertently demonstrate something of a range of ways the scourge of child sexual abuse is revealed to the public.

One is a news story about the aunt of an alleged victim discovering references to abuse incidents on her niece’s Facebook page. The allegations indicate that the predator is another member of the extended Indianapolis family.
If so, the case would jibe with several familiar patterns. One is the high likelihood that the pedophile would be well known by the victim — would, in fact, likely be a family member. Another is that the alleged victim waited, in this case about two years, before revealing what she remembers. Yet another is the implicit reluctance of the victim to more overtly come forward and charge the perpetrator.

One certainly can understand the reluctance. Imagine the feeling of powerlessness of, in this instance, a 13-year-old girl. She’s already been forced by circumstances to process what she claims are two cases of molestation. Then she has to summon the emotional wherewithal to come forward in some fashion and, in effect, let the world know what happened.
Obviously it requires the kind of courage no one should have to demonstrate.
Then there’s the related recent link on our Facebook page. Rather than being about average citizens with no claim to celebrity, it concerns a woman for whom celebrity has been a live-long given.
Her name is Anoushka Shankar. The last name belonged to her late father, Ravi, for half a century a name synonymous with sitar music. As it happens, Anoushka Shankar also is the half sister of singer Norah Jones, also Ravi Shankar’s daughter and a celebrity better known than any from the extended family.

Anoushka Shankar, herself an accomplished sitar-player and composer, is in the news precisely because of the familiarity of her name. She reported just a few days after attending the 2013 Grammy-award event in Los Angeles that she was repeatedly molested as a young girl by an apparent “family friend.”
The timing of her announcement, revealed in a video, has to do with her support of the One Billion Rising global movement for women’s rights.

In the video Shankar says: “As a child, I suffered sexual and emotional abuse for several years at the hands of a man my parents trusted implicitly. Growing up, like most women I know, I suffered various forms of groping, touching, verbal abuse and other things I didn’t know how to deal with. I didn’t know I could change.”

A Huffington Post story indicates that Shankar “has dedicated her ‘rising’ message to the 23-year-old Indian physiotherapy student who died after being brutally gang-raped by five men in New Delhi. ‘I’m rising with the amazing women of my country who are together calling and saying enough is enough. I’m rising for the child in me who I don’t think will ever fully recover from what happened to her.”
Shankar’s bold, selfless revelations bear at least one striking similarity to the Indianapolis story. In each case the accused perpetrator was known to — perhaps trusted by — the alleged victim.
What the two instances do not have in common may prove to be most notable. The fact is, the Shankar story no doubt will have far greater resonance with a much larger audience than that of an anonymous girl from Indiana. That the latter has been bold enough to reveal her story should be admirable to many. But the notion that a celebrity would tell a similar tale can’t help but make it at least incrementally easier for other heretofore reticent victims to reveal their own deeply guarded secrets.
In this way, we can at least hope that such victims, so emboldened, will help us bring to justice the myriad sex-abusers who otherwise will continue to prey on defenseless children.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Pennsylvania: Home to Two High-Profile Child Sexual-Abuse Scandals, Eyeing Change

By DAN FASY

Our Facebook page is updated weekdays to apprise interested parties about the many aspects pertaining to child sexual abuse. We cull reports from world media and provide links for readers. By its nature, the page can seem unremittingly grim.

Now and then, however, news comes along that at least seems to ameliorate the inevitable feelings of hopelessness about the fight against pedophilia. One such report is emerging from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. What better place, one would think, than a state that has been home relatively recently to a couple of the world’s most high-profile stories of child sexual abuse.

The following is from an article earlier this year in the Uniontown Herald-Standard:
“A group of state lawmakers who said they were frustrated that the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky and the [Philadelphia] Roman Catholic sex abuse scandals were not enough to move legislation out of committee last year, announced plans Wednesday [Jan. 23] to reintroduce a bill that would remove the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.
“Where the statute of limitations has expired, Democratic Reps. Mike McGeehan and Louise Bishop said another bill would open a two-year window that would allow victims of child sexual abuse to report their story to file civil lawsuits.
“‘It is time to put victims first,’ said Bishop, who said she was 12 when her stepfather began to sexually abuse her.
“‘I didn’t know how to handle it,” she said. “I knew if I told my mother, it would hurt her. I knew if I told my sisters and brothers I [would be] talking about their father and they wouldn’t like it and I would be even more isolated than I was. And if I told my grandfather, he would take his legal shotgun and would have blown his head off.”
Those of us who deal daily with the realities of pedophilia are eminently aware of the power sex-abusers have over young victims. One recent news report described how many pedophiles are turning toward abusing ever-younger children with hopes that the victims will lack the comprehension and wherewithal to inform adults about what has happened to them.
The two House bills in Pennsylvania would get rid of the statutes of limitation in criminal and civil child-sex-abuse cases and also would grant those whose S.O.L. periods have expired two more years to bring cases. While the proposed legislation amounts to favorable news to many, it’s well worth noting that similar bills died at the end of the state’s most recent legislative session.
Advocates speak of the S.O.L. bills (similar efforts have been successful in California and Delaware) as a means of confronting Pennsylvania’s Catholic hierarchy.
“Marci Hamilton,” the newspaper story explains, is “an attorney known for her expertise in church and state law and the author of a book on how the country can better protect children from predators. [She] said: ‘The only way the truth will come out is if this Legislature has the guts to look at the Catholic conference and say we want the truth and we’re not playing your game of secrecy anymore.’”
Another expert in Pennsylvania added that institutionalized cover-ups of pedophilia also have been attempted in such organizations as Jehovah’s Witnesses, Boy Scouts of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Hassidic Jewish community.
But child advocates worry that the attempt at S.O.L. reform will once again languish in Pennsylvania. The frustration of advocates was caught particularly well by writer Tara Murtha in a Jan. 29 piece in Philadelphia Weekly when she quoted Jeff Dion of the National Center for Victims of crime:
“After all the grand jury reports, after Penn State, after the release of the Boy Scout secret files, after the criminal convictions of church officials who knew that they were not going enough to protect kids . . . what is PA waiting for?”
Pedophiles, he added, “know they don’t need to keep kids quiet forever. Just long enough.”

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

A 50-State Map of Reported Child Sexual-Abuse Cases within the Catholic Church

By TIM KOSNOFF

Certain Americans may miss seeing online and in various print media a blue-and-red-hued map indicating the state-by-state horse race that was the United States presidential election of last fall.

Perhaps interested parties might find another colorful U.S. map to be instructive. It’s done up in a veritable rainbow of colors, the brightness of the cartography scarcely coordinating with the dark details indicated in the map http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbydiocese.html.

The document is the work of a group called Bishop Accountability. The advocacy organization compiles evidence of child sexual abuse relating to crimes and accusations from Catholic dioceses in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. It’s quite a staggering scheme of details.

B.A. made headlines by releasing some 6,000 documents relating to the highly publicized child-sexual-abuse scandals in Philadelphia http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2013/01/24/latest-news-philadelphia-catholic-church-sex-abuse-scandal/

For a macro reckoning of crimes and transgressions throughout the country, go to the map indicated by the url above.

Point and click, for example, to Washington state. Highlighted are the Archdiocese of Seattle and the diocese of Spokane and Yakima.

Click Seattle. You’ll find a grid indicating nearly three dozen Catholic Church officials whose accusations are documented with details and links to news reports. The officials’ status is either “accused,” “sued,” “settled” or, in just one case, “convicted.” That would be Paul Joseph Conn, about whom it’s written in the website grid:

“In 5/88 Conn was charged with five felony counts of indecent liberties with minors. In 7/88 he pleaded guilty to molesting six boys between the ages of 11-13. Also admitted to abuse of others police did not know about. Sentenced to 4 yrs in prison. Also a former supervising priest of another abuser, James McGreal. Civil suit settled with archdiocese in 1996. Laicized.”
“Laicized” indicates that Conn was “secularized,” or driven from official church involvement.

Click Yakima. Thirteen names are given. None has been convicted.

Spokane? Only one among the 39 who have been accused and/or sued has been convicted. That would be Louis Wayne Ladenburger, about whom the Bishop Accountability notes indicate:
“Arrested 5/07 for sexual battery of teenage boys at Idaho school for troubled boys where he was a counselor. Admitted being a sex addict. Order revealed 2 past allegations of “inappropriate relationships.” Sent for treatment both times. Placed on restricted leave in 1993. Laicized in 1996. Pleaded guilty 11/07 just before trial. Sentenced to 5 years 3/08. Worked in dioceses of Stockton (twice), Tucson, Portland, El Paso, Spokane, Seattle, Sacramento, Reno, and Phoenix; aka Wayne 1963-74.”

If the 86 names populating the B.A. rolls in Washington state seem to amount to a staggering number, consider that Portland, Oregon, alone has 72 on its list. This is well behind Philadelphia, with 132, and Boston, with 251. Twenty-two of the latter were convicted with just one winning acquittal.

It’s worth noting that the volume of those accused of child sexual abuse doesn’t necessarily correlate with the size of the general population within a diocese region. New York’s number of accused Catholic officials is a relatively scant 63 while the database for the Los Angeles Archdiocese has 259 names.
What the casual observer no doubt will note is the cumulative numbers: hundreds of dioceses in the United States alone; thousands of names of accused and/or convicted pedophiles.

Bishop Accountability, then, is to be thanked for taking on the grim ongoing task of quantifying and qualifying Catholic Church-related crimes and accusations. I think of the growing B.A. database as the repository of the epoch. Its value certainly has earned the financial support of this law firm. The U.S. map at its website ought to garner the concern of everyone dedicated to mitigating what has amounted to decades of institutionalized child sexual abuse.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338

Priyanka Prakash, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Revising the Statute of Limitations in New York and Other States is the Right Thing to Do

By DANIEL FASY

No one can say that Margaret M. Markey hasn’t tried.

The New York State assemblywoman has been laboring in vain since 2006 to change the way that the Empire State has remained maddeningly negligent in facing a pressing need, articulated last May by the Queens Borough Democrat

Last spring she wrote to constituents:

“I held a series of informational events in Albany earlier this year to bring to the attention of Governor [Andrew] Cuomo and my colleagues in the Legislature to the wide-ranging problem of child sexual abuse in society.

“We looked at the recent revelations in the world of sports and learned about abuse in schools and institutions. We heard one of the state’s leading prosecutors speak about how current statutes of limitations in New York State need to be changed in order to bring justice to victims.
“A panel of legal experts spoke about the change that is taking place across the nation where other states are facing up to the challenge of providing justice and punishing perpetrators and those who hide them. My Child Victims Act of New York seeks to update our laws regarding this crime.

“Our New York State statutes of limitations are so lax that many perpetrators evade exposure by waiting out the short statute of limitations. I want to change that because pedophiles who are not exposed will continue to abuse yet more children in the future.”

She then urged readers to sign an online petition to help speed the cause.

Fast forward to a Jan. 2, 2013 story in the New York Daily News. The piece is about how, in the wake of revelations about possible decades-long cover-ups of alleged pedophilia at a Brooklyn, New York, prep school, Markey is insisting that the statute of limitations be dropped altogether in New York rather than being merely expanded. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/i-team/poly-case-vicims-shouldn-limited-seeking-legal-action-article-1.1231848

The Daily News piece notes: “Current [New York] state law requires survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file a case by the time they are 23 years old. Previous versions of Markey’s Child Victims Act would have extended the deadline by five years.”

Making the deadline age 28 still would’ve been comparatively unfair. The fact is that a victim of pedophilia in Washington or Oregon has much longer to bring legal action than does a similar victim in New York, to say nothing of other states that provide relatively brief time periods before statutes of limitations expire.

It should be noted that the notion of “statute of limitations” usually is subject to what is called “tolling.” As a practical matter, tolling typically means that a victim’s statute “clock” time doesn’t start until after he or she reaches age 18. In New York, victims have just five years to seek justice for first-degree offenses. Other states like Washington and Oregon provide survivors more time to bring forward with a civil claim for sexual abuse.

Is New York the worst in this regard? Scarcely. The statutes in North Dakota and Tennessee provide victims reaching age 18 just one year to seek legal action. In Indiana and New Jersey it’s only two years.

Some would ask why these statute times are so important. I would ask them to remember what their lives were like when they were 18 years old, when much of the world was still very mysterious, when they were absorbed in issues relating to reaching adulthood, when peer pressure for so many reasons may have been at an apex in their lives.

Then, for those who have been fortunate not to have endured sex crimes when they were children, imagine what your frame of mind might have been if you had? Would you, at age 18, have had the emotional wherewithal much less the means and familial support to seek an attorney?

More likely, as we who deal with this know, it would have taken more time, more maturing before you would have become emboldened to bring such an abuse case to authorities.

And that, of course, is really all that Margaret Markey and those of us who support her are asking for: More time.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

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Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
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Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590