Study: Catholic Church spent $10M lobbying to stop sex abuse victims from suing

June 05, 2019 06:03 AM

NEW YORK (WHEC) — Turns out some of the money you put in church collections may not be going where you think it is. The Catholic Church has paid out millions of dollar fighting to stop victims of sex abuse from suing for damages.

The church has spent $10.6 million since 2011 in northeastern states. The money went to lobbyists pushing against bills that would make it easier to sue for alleged sex abuse by priests.

This is according to a new study by multiple law firms. It was commissioned by Seeger Weiss LLP, Williams Cedar LLC, Abraham Watkins and the Simpson Tuegel Law Firm.

They collectively represent 300 survivors of clergy sex abuse nationwide. The data in the report was obtained from public filings in the individual states.

In New York, the church spent nearly $3 million in a failed bid to keep the Child Victims Act from passing. It became law in February. The law allows child sex abuse victims to sue abusers or groups until age 55. The cutoff used to be 23.

In an email to NBC News, Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the New York State Catholic Conference, said: “All of our lobbying activity is reported as required by law to the Joint Commission on Public Ethics and has always been publicly available. As far as the Child Victims Act, while we did raise concerns about the one-year look back, ultimately when sponsors amended the bill at our request to provide an opportunity for recourse to survivors in public institutions, the Catholic Conference dropped its opposition this year."


Brennan Somers

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