Catholic Group Proposes Legislation to Keep Dioceses Financially Accountable for Sex Abuse of Minors

The watchdog group Roman Catholic Faithful publicly announced on Tuesday its newly launched “Project Rape Accountability” that proposes a federal legislative amendment that would prevent the discharge of dioceses’ debts arising from the sexual abuse of minors.

In an effort to combat the Catholic hierarchy’s culture of complacency amid the clerical sex abuse of minors, Roman Catholic Faithful has proposed a legislative amendment that would keep dioceses financially accountable when they are sued due to such abuse.

Since under current U.S. law Catholic dioceses can have much of their debts discharged upon filing for bankruptcy, the Roman Catholic Faithful has proposed that the law be amended to add the following exception to the debt discharge of bankruptcy: “for any debt, judgment or potential liability arising out of the sexual molestation or abuse committed against a minor. This provision applies not only to the individual abuser, but to the entity, organization or corporation by whom he or she is employed or acts on behalf of the organization.”

RELATED: List of U.S. Dioceses Declaring Bankruptcy

This would add to the already-enacted legal exceptions to the discharging of debt relevant to criminal activity and other circumstances, such as child support.

“This is a simple change to current law that will result in substantially greater protections for the rights of victims of sex abuse,” Roman Catholic Faithful founder and president Steve Brady said. “For too long, those liable for these damages have been able to deny sexual assault victims from obtaining proper monetary compensation by having those debts discharged in bankruptcy. RCF cannot imagine that anyone who supports victims’ rights would be against such a proposal.”

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