Blogpost by Shane R. Martins
On Wednesday May 22nd a national group that calls themselves the Catholic Whistleblowers announced its presence as a tool in the ongoing fight against the sexual abuse plaguing Catholicism.
The group of Catholic clergy and nuns spoke at a press conference at Cardozo School of Law, where they unabashedly expressed their concern with the way the religious institution has dealt with the child sexual scandal that has rightfully tarnished one of the world’s largest organizations.
The group’s aim is multifaceted. While most have blown the whistle on abusers, four of the group’s members are victims of sexual abuse themselves. They all, however, have one thing in common: distaste for the way the Catholic Church has handled its abuse scandal. Not only does the group hope to support victims and their families, and create a safety net for fellow whistleblowers, the group also hopes to change the institution’s policies relating to institutional abuse and cover-ups.
Noting that statutes of limitations are a roadblock preventing many victims of abuse from brining a claim, the Whistleblowers also hope to be a tool in efforts to reform current statutes of limitations. Professor Marci Hamilton noted that the church has hired the most powerful lobbyists in both New York and New Jersey in an effort to defeat statute of limitation reform efforts. In regards to the difficulty the group may face in such efforts, Hamilton continued, “If there is any question as to what this group is against- its that.”
Although myriad roadblocks will pose difficulty for the Whistleblowers, in the words of Sister Maureen Paul Turlish, they are “speaking from the depth of their conscience”; a force that seems almost unstoppable.