Senator Scarnati’s Pastor Removed for Allegations of Sexual Abuse with a Minor

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Msgr. Charles A. Kaza from the St Tobias website

The Diocese of Eire has removed Monsignor Charles Kaza from St. Tobias Parish in Brockway, PA while an investigation is made into allegations that he sexually abused a minor at St. John The Baptist Parish in Erie in the 1980s.  As of the time I was writing this on 19 May 2019, it is five days since the story broke in Erie News Now and Msgr Kaza is still listed as Pastor.  There is no announcement available on the church website to indicate that there was a potential predator priest at the church and active with local parochial schools.

One of St. Tobias’s notable parishioners is none other than  Senator Joseph B. Scarnati, IIISenator Scarnati is the current President Pro Tempore of the Pennsylvania Senate and the man who refused to bring a bill to the floor of the Senate that would have allowed survivors of childhood sexual assault a window of opportunity to bring a civil action against the perpetrators of those crimes and the institutions that protected those perpetrators.  He refused to bring the bill to a vote during the last session of the Senate when it seemed that a growing wave of support would tip the scales in favor of establishing a two-year window.

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Senator and Amy Scarnati with some of their children.  From the Senator’s public twitter account

The Diocese of Erie press release from 18 May is as follows (give it a minute to load): Monsignor Kaza removed from active ministry pending investigation

I hope that Amy Scarnati is talking about this development with her children to determine if they have been potential victims of the monsignor.  The crisis is impacting so close to home, and yet this Senator lacks the spine to allow legislation to go to the floor of the Pennsylvania Senate for an up or down vote., I hope the Church, the Insurance lobby and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference are paying you handsomely.  Perhaps they do so with 30 pieces of silver.  Senator, if that reference is lost on you, you might ask your pastor (the one in seclusion) to get you up to speed on the Gospel of Matthew.  I believe you both need a little reading and reflecting.

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He’s still listed as pastor as of noon on 19 May

 

 

 

Key Provisions for Window Legislation in PA

In response to some pretty good feedback I would like to cover the kinds of things that have been in previous bills introduced in Harrisburg.  While I live in Virginia, the events of 1974 took place in Pennsylvania, New York and Florida.  I am concentrating on Pennsylvania at the moment, home of the Diocese that continues to support and sanction my pedophile priest.

Back in the last legislative session that ran from January 2007 through December 2008 there were 3 bills introduced that allowed for the changing of the statute of limitations on crimes that would include the crime of sexually molesting, sexual assault or raping of minors.  Additionally, legislation was offered that would allow for a window of opportunity for victims of sexual assault as minors to file a civil action for a period of time (one to two years after the passage of the law) and from then on, victims could bring actions up until they reach the age of 50.

You can review the legislation that was held up in committee and prevented from getting to the floor of the house of representatives due to some political stalling by the chair of the Judiciary Committee.  Since Chairman Thomas R. Caltagirone of House District 127 (part of Berks County) never returned my email inquiry as to why he was holding up the legistlation.  I can only speculate that he supports pedophiles or is on the payroll of the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania.  Maybe he just does not see the need to protect children.  But I digress.

Examples of legislation submitted in the last legislative sessions in Pennsylvania follow:

  • Senate Bill 326 sponsored by Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr. of Senate District 44 (parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties). That bill sought to allow anyone who was victim of a crime before they reached the age of 14 may commence a civil action at any time during their life.
  • Senate Bill 553, sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola of Senate District 18 (Parts of Monroe, Lehigh and Northampton Counties), expanded criminal statutes of limitations on certain crimes. Of note is the provision for prosecution of “Any sexual offense committee against a minor less than 18 years of age any time up to the later of the period of limitation provided by law after the minor has reached 18 years of age or the date the minor 50 years of age.”
  • House Bill 1574 sponsored by Representative Douglas G. Reichley of House District 134 (parts of Berks and Lehigh Counties). This legislation can be called “Window” Legislation. Similar to laws passed in California and Delaware, this bill would have allowed a victim of childhood sexual abuse to commence a civil action, even if the statute of limitations had expired. This legislation allows a period of one year for those actions to be brought to a Pennsylvania Court from a date delineated in the legislation.

If you live in Pennsylvania and would like to see similiar legislation reintroduced, contact your representative or state senator.  If you don’t know who your senator or representative may be, you can find out by going to the website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Pennsylvania Legislative Update

During the 2007 session of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, 3 lawmakers sponsored and many others added their names as co-sponsors to legislation to modify or eliminate statutes of limitation for criminal and civil actions in Pennsylvania. These pieces of legislation, if approved, would have opened a window for victims of sexual abuse by serial pedophiles to seek justice and get to the truth about the full extent of the criminal activities of these predators and the people and organizations that protect them.

The first bill was Senate Bill 326 sponsored by Senator John C. Rafferty, Jr. of Senate District 44 (parts of Berks, Chester and Montgomery Counties). That bill sought to allow anyone who was victim of a crime before they reached the age of 14 may commence a civil action at any time during their life.

Senate Bill 553, sponsored by Senator Lisa Boscola of Senate District 18 (Parts of Monroe, Lehigh and Northampton Counties), expanded criminal statutes of limitations on certain crimes. Of note is the provision for prosecution of “Any sexual offense committee against a minor less than 18 years of age any time up to the later of the period of limitation provided by law after the minor has reached 18 years of age or the date the minor 50 years of age.”

The final bill was House Bill 1574 sponsored by Representative Douglas G. Reichley of House District 134 (parts of Berks and Lehigh Counties). This legislation can be called “Window” Legislation. Similar to laws passed in California and Delaware, this bill would have allowed a victim of childhood sexual abuse to commence a civil action, even if the statute of limitations had expired. This legislation allows a period of one year for those actions to be brought to a Pennsylvania Court from a date delineated in the legislation.

The three bills were sent to their respective Judiciary Committees where they were put on hold by the chairmen of those committees. The legislation never made it to the floor of either the Senate or the House in Harrisburg because special interests decided that victims of sexual abuse did not deserve to have the protection of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and that serial pedophiles and organizations that have a history of protecting them should be protected.

The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Thomas R. Caltagirone of House District 127 (part of Berks County) is reported to have said that victims are just looking to get a quick buck in a settlement. He effectively killed the bill before him because he thinks that victims are greedy. I wonder if he has met with or answered correspondence from victims seeking the truth and some justice. I know he did not respond to an email I sent to his office asking for an explanation on why the bill before his committee did not get an up or down vote. I guess I could speculate that lobbyists for the Catholic Church and Insurance companies got to him. Perhaps he doesn’t mind that the intended or unintended consequence of his decision puts him in a position to support pedophiles and their protectors. One could speculate on his personal motives and interests just as he has speculated on those of victims. Get creative and let me know what you think motivates him.

As for the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf of Senate District 12, I would like to know why legislation died in his committee. I will be looking into that. If you are his constituent, why don’t you ask him. I would be fascinated to hear the logic involved.

I would be able to deal with a vote by the entire Assembly that defeats such legislation. I have great respect for the process when the process allows for a vote. But for one man to be able to kill the legislation, perhaps with a wink and a nod to the Bishops of Pennsylvania, is unacceptable and may be an act of cowardice. Constituents of the 127th House District and the 12th Senate must be so proud!

These bills died with the end of the 2007-2008 legislative session but they could be re-introduced for the 2009-2010 session. I spoke to the offices for the primary sponsors for these three bills and there was hope that these 3 courageous lawmakers would reintroduce the bills for consideration in the 2009-2010 legislative sessions.

If you live in Pennsylvania or you have an interest in justice, contact your Senator and Representative and tell them you support legislation that allow victims of serial pedophiles to seek redress for grievances in the criminal and civil courts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

If you don’t know who your representative or senator may be in Pennsylvania, you can find out by going to the website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly.