WCC Opposes Statutes of Limitations Waiver

Bishop William P. Callahan of Milwaukee and Bishop Jerome E. Listecki of La Crosse testified in opposition to Assembly Bill 453 before the Assembly Committee on Children and Families.  AB 453 would, if passed, temporarily remove the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse cases and permit civil suits, no matter how old, to be brought in court against both alleged perpetrators and their employers.  The bill would also permanently remove the statute of limitations for future civil actions.
 
As stated in Bishop Listecki's testimony, these bills could significantly affect churches, private and parochial schools, ministries, and other non-profit groups.  In his testimony, Bishop Callahan described the various actions taken by the Archdiocese thus far to compassionately serve the victims/survivors of child abuse and reiterated the Church's commitment to protecting children.
 
Several other opponents to the legislation noted the bill's inherent unfairness.  Although the bill would allow suits to be brought by any victim/survivor, the doctrine of "sovereign immunity" bars suits against government bodies for the negligent supervision of their employees, meaning public entities would not be held liable for the same decades old criminal activity of perpetrator employees as those employed by private entities.  Also, because there is a cap on damages against government agencies, different victims would not be provided with equal recourse.
 
Please contact Members of the Legislature and urge opposition to AB 453, and its companion, Senate Bill 319.  Please emphasize the inherent inequity of this legislation and its potential impact on parishioners and current Church employees who are not culpable for wrongdoing committed decades ago.  To find contact information for your Wisconsin State Representative or Senator, visit our E-Advocacy webpage and enter your zip code, or call the State Legislative Hotline, 1-800-362-9472.