In Harrisburg, What is Going to Take?

What is it going to take?   Exactly what needs to happen before the people’s representatives in Harrisburg allow a vote on a bill to protect children and vulnerable adults?  The judicial committee sits on its collective hands because of lobbyists for the insurance industry and institutions with a history of protecting sexual predators spend millions to prevent Pennsylvania House Bills 832 and 878 from coming to the floor of the State Assembly for a fair vote.

The latest sexual abuse crisis involving a sexual predator and the powerful organization that sought to coverup his crimes involves the venerated football program at the Pennsylvania State University.  USA Today reported on the former Penn State Defensive Coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, 67, of State College was arrested this past Saturday.  It is alleged that senior officials at Penn State knew of these allegations and failed to report them.  Athletic Director  Timothy Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz have stepped down in the wake of charges being filed against them.

Mr. Sandusky went on to establish a non-profit organization,  The Second Mile, a charity to help troubled youth, in 1997 and it provided him with “access to hundreds of boys, many of whom were vulnerable due to their social situations,” the grand jury said.

Penn State is going to put its reputation on the line for a bottom feeder like this?  Oh, by the way, legal support will come from the University for Curley and Schultz because the alleged misconduct happened while those two pillars of ethical behavior were performing their official duties as Penn State employees.  The taxpayers and tuition check writers of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania  will be bankrolling the legal teams trying to justify their actions.

Taking a page from the Catholic Church’s Playbook, Penn State’s President, Graham Spanier said that Curley and Schultz have his “unconditional support.”

“I have complete confidence in how they have handled the allegations about a former university employee,” he said, adding that the charges are “groundless.” An amazing statement given that the investigation is still developing.  By giving his unconditional support, President Spanier is diminishing the victims in this case by making such grand pronunciations.  Maybe the shout at the next football game should be “We Are Penn State… And We Are Ashamed!”

President Spanier, I hope that part of the fall out from this case of sexual predation on the campus and the covering up of those crimes by high-ranking university officials will be either your resignation or dismissal from your current position.

My question is, given yet another large and powerful institution and its senior leadership providing cover for a sexual predator in the Commonwealth, why is the legislature continuing to give tacit support to organizations that are putting children and vulnerable adults at risk by not allowing legislation to get to the floor that could help victims and hold predators and their protectors accountable?

How long will the citizens of Pennsylvania allow their lawmakers to be the patsies of the Insurance lobby and the institutions that have supported the predators in their organization as part of their risk management programs?  How long will they allow the chair of the Judicial committee, Representative Ron Marsico to keep legislation from getting a vote? Contact him and  ask him! His email address is  rmarsico@pahousegop.com .  He can also be reached at:

Hon. Ron Marsico
4401 Linglestown Road, Suite B
Harrisburg, PA 17112
(717) 652-3721
Fax: (717) 652-6276

Hon. Ron Marsico
218 Ryan Office Building
PO Box 202105
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2105
(717) 783-2014
Fax: (717) 705-2010

Justice4PAKids and the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) Press Release

Justice4PAKids and the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) passed along their latest press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 7, 2011

Contact:         Maureen Martinez at 610-296-3264 info@justice4pakids.com

                                Tammy Lerner at 610-209-9568 lerner@abolishsexabuse.org

                        John Salveson at 215-8700680 salveson@abolishsexabuse.org

Justice4PAkids and Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA) Demand Legislative Action in Wake of Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal!

 

How Many Children Will Be Raped

Before Pennsylvania’s Legislature Acts to Prevent Future Abuses?

 MALVERN, PA- Justice4PAkids and FACSA is demanding that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania enact better laws to protect children from sex abuse predators.  Maureen Martinez, Co-Founder of Justice4PAkids, Tammy Lerner and John Salveson, both of FACSA, want to send a clear message to Ronald Marico, (R-Dauphin County) Chairman of the Judiciary Committee that the committee needs to immediately list HB 832 and 878 on its agenda for discussion and hearings – especially in the wake of the current Penn State sex abuse scandal.

Martinez stated, “When are the legislators going to realize sex abuse is an epidemic in our state and enact the important bills that are n front of them for better protection against predators? The Penn State cover-up of Sandusky is just another example of how this state protects predators, not kids.”

HB 832 and 878 were introduced on March 9, 2011 by Louise Bishop and Mike McGeehan (both D-Philadelphia).  HB 832 would repeal the statute of limitations in civil suits relating to child sexual abuse cases moving forward. HB 878 would provide a one-time, two-year window in which victims could bring a civil action in cases previously barred by current statute.

“Above and beyond justice for victims, these bills are about prevention.  The state has an obligation to implement and enact all possible safeguards, in an effort to ensure that future generations of children are spared the horrors of childhood sexual abuse and its impact, which lasts a lifetime,” stated John Salveson. 

“These bills are about letting victims at least have the CHOICE to have their day in court and being able to publically name their offender without having to worry about defamation. So many victims are over the statute of limitations and not even given the choice to seek justice. Even more alarming, a victim cannot publically name their offender, while perpetrators are still out there in society and seeking new children to harm,” says Martinez.

            Lerner added, “Additionally, our leaders ought to take note that childhood sexual abuse is the second most costly victim crime in the United States and Pennsylvania, second only to homicide.  By taking steps to prevent the crimes from happening in the first place, we will be saving PA tax payers billions of dollars in the long term:  The long term economic impact of CSA to PA is over $1.4 billion, with the immediate impact estimated to be over $138 million per year.  Prevention costs significantly less than treatment.  The fact remains, at the end of the day, you’re either for the protection, health and welfare of children, or you’re not.  So far, Rep. Marsico has demonstrated that he’s not.”

            Justice4PAkids and FACSA is a coalition of child and victim advocates, lawyers, mental health professionals and concerned citizens dedicated to eliminating the statutes of limitations for childhood sexual abuse. This would expose perpetrators and those who harbor them; protect children; give victims an opportunity for justice; save taxpayers money.  

            On Oct 17, the coalition addressed the State Representatives in a press conference and personally hand delivered a petition of more than 1500 signatures supporting bills 832 and 878.

Despite numerous calls, emails, faxes and written letters, no one from Rep. Ron Marsico’s staff has ever stated when or if Marsico will place the bills on his Judiciary Committee Agenda.