Victims have filed a class action lawsuit.The aftermath of the Pennsylvania Catholic sex abuse scandal is ongoing and is having vast effects on several aspects of the church. There have been calls for resignations, imprisonments, and reformation from all over the nation as groups descend on the church’s chaos to make demands.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) is demanding an investigation into the abuse scandal from the Department of Justice. The FFRF claims the degree of abuse and widespread cover up efforts within the church requires a top to bottom examination of the Roman Catholic Church. This would be a concerted effort to oust, imprison, and punish those who were responsible for the abuse and subsequent cover ups that occurred in the area. After all, six of the eight dioceses in the states reported abuse with thousands of victims over the course of decades. To the FFRF, the fact that the Department of Justice has not taken any action yet speaks to the problem of uncovering abuse helping victims that has plagued members of the church.
Catholics who have faced abuse in Pennsylvania are now filing a class action law suit against all eight dioceses in the state, alleging they purposely took part in the cover up of their abuse. Hundreds of victims have signed onto the class action lawsuit with the goal of forcing the diocese to tell the courts what they know about the abuse and putting the information on record. Leading the law suit is Ryan O’Connor, an abuse victim, and Kristin Hancock, a parent with a child in the current schools. Combined, the two form distinct classes: prior victims and those who could become potential victims in the church. Presently, the Catholic Church is fighting to redact information regarding this law suit as it proceeds.
One area where the effects of the abuse scandal are seeing more movement is in child sex abuse laws. Presently, lawmakers in Pennsylvania are suggesting major reforms to the present laws in the state. For example, there is a desire to increase penalties for failing to report abuse and to create a two-year window of time for older victims to file lawsuits even beyond the statute of limitations. The willingness to tighten laws and increase penalties for child abuse is being seen throughout the state.