The Penn State football team takes on the Wisconsin Badgers this weekend, and Wisconsin lawmakers are hoping to use the Penn State child sex abuse incident that rocked the campus recently, to launch their own child sex abuse reforms. They're hoping to pass the Child Victims Act that would wipe away the statute of limitations in these cases, and allow victims to prosecute their abusers.
Under current law, the statute of limitations says anyone over the age of 35 cannot sue their childhood attackers. The new law would change that, and allow victims to prosecute their abuser and begin the healing process. In early 2010, the act came up for discussion, but never made it to a vote. The most notable objection against this law came from Milwaukee's Archbishop, who claimed resulting lawsuits would send the Archdiocese into bankruptcy. However, even without the law, the Archdiocese filed for Chapter 11.
A February 1st deadline has been set for filing claims against the Archdiocese as part of the bankruptcy deal, so if the act doesn't pass by February 1st, people over 35 may not be able to sue the Archdiocese. The Child Victims Act may actually benefit the Archdiocese should it pass, as they'll have access to new insurance that could help pay down current lawsuits.
Arthur Budzinski is one of at least 200 people assaulted as a child by Father Lawrence Murphy in Milwaukee. He's one of many who support a renewed effort to pass this law. "No child deserves what I went through. If you want a better future, pass the Child Victims Act," Budzinski said.