In an absolutely mortifying story it has been reported that New York Catholic Conference has spent millions in efforts to block a law making it easier for victims of child sexual abuse to sue for justice as well as compensation. It is another blight upon the image of a church that has been besieged for years over the actions of a number of bad apple pedophile priests and a clear attempt to throw up a firewall between those who were molested and the Vatican coffers.
According to a New York Daily News exclusive story “Catholic Church spent $2M on major N.Y. lobbying firms to block child-sex law reform”:
Not leaving it to divine chance, the state Catholic Conference has turned in recent years to some of Albany’s most well-connected and influential lobby firms to help block a bill that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice.
The Catholic Conference, headed by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, has used Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications to lobby against the Child Victims Act as well as for or against other measures.
All told, the conference spent more than $2.1 million on lobbying from 2007 through the end of 2015, state records show. That does not include the conference’s own internal lobbying team.
Filings show the lobbyists were retained, in part, to work on issues associated with “statute of limitations” and “timelines for commencing certain civil actions related to sex offenses.” Other issues included parochial school funding and investment tax credits.
“They are willing to spend limitless money in order to basically keep bad guys from being accountable for their actions,” said Melanie Blow, chief operations officer of the Stop Abuse Campaign. “I think they’re doing it because they don’t want to have to pay out settlements.”
The entire story can be read here.
While the Catholic Church is far too often an easy target for critics and the vast majority of it’s work does much good, it’s stuff like this that tends to taint the entire institution. Yet another public relations nightmare.