Lobbyist for Archdiocese tries to gut childhood sexual abuse bill

By Ty Tagami

A Georgia legislative proposal to give adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse more time to sue pedophiles and organizations has encountered opposition from the Catholic Church.

A lobbyist for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta proposes gutting a bill that would extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits and make it easier to sue entities that harbored pedophiles.

The Archdiocese is led by a clergyman who was in charge of the U.S. Catholic church’s response in the early 2000s to the priest pedophilia scandal and who has publicly spoken out for justice for the victims.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory issued a statement Friday after The Atlanta Journal-Constitution sought comment about the church’s lobbying effort, saying the bill was “extraordinarily unfair” to the church and would hinder its mission by allowing lawsuits for actions that occurred years ago.

The legislation, dubbed the “Hidden Predator Act,” extends the statute of limitations for victims from age 23 to 38, and creates other avenues for adults to sue long after that age. It passed 170-0 on the floor of the House of Representatives, despite what those close to the process say was quiet lobbying by the church, the Boy Scouts and other entities that would face increased exposure to liability.

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