Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

02/27/2009 01:30 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES


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Audio Topic
01:32:32 PM Start
01:32:59 PM SB47
02:59:59 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ SB 47 STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR SEXUAL OFFENSES TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 47 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
      SENATE HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                    
                       February 27, 2009                                                                                        
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bettye Davis, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Joe Paskvan, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Joe Thomas                                                                                                              
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 47                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating to  the  statute  of limitations  for  certain                                                               
sexual  offenses  and permitting  causes  of  action for  certain                                                               
sexual offenses that would otherwise  be barred by the statute of                                                               
limitations to be brought during a certain one-year period."                                                                    
     MOVED SB 47 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  47                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR SEXUAL OFFENSES                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) FRENCH                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
01/21/09       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/9/09                                                                                

01/21/09 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS

01/21/09 (S) HSS, JUD 02/27/09 (S) HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205 WITNESS REGISTER SENATOR FRENCH Alaska State Legislature Juneau, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 47. FLORENCE KENNEY, representing herself Juneau, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Told her story and supported SB 47. ELSIE BOUDREAU, Director Native American Outreach Survivors' Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) POSITION STATEMENT: Told her story and supported SB 47. HENRY NAPOLEON, representing himself Hooper Bay, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Told his story and supported SB 47. DELBERT ACOMAN, representing himself Stebbins, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Told his story and supported SB 47. JOELLE CASTEIX, Director Southwest Region Survivors' Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) POSITION STATEMENT: Told her story and supported SB 47. CAREN ROBINSON Alaskan Women's Lobby POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 47. ACTION NARRATIVE 1:32:32 PM CHAIR BETTYE DAVIS called the Senate Health and Social Services Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:32 p.m. Present at the call to order were Senators Senator Dyson, Thomas, Paskvan and Davis. SB 47-STATUTE OF LIMITATION FOR SEXUAL OFFENSES 1:32:59 PM CHAIR DAVIS announced SB 47 to be up for consideration. SENATOR FRENCH, sponsor of SB 47, said this bill lifts the statute of limitations for people who were victims of sexual abuse in the past and gives them a one year window in which to bring their case. SENATOR DYSON thanked Senator French for his efforts on this topic and asked him, harkening back to his experience as a prosecutor, how tough is it to establish a crime that purportedly happened 30 years ago and how tough is it for the defendant to defend himself against it. SENATOR FRENCH replied that it is just as tough on both sides, keeping in mind that this is a civil and not a criminal prosecution statute. Even so, the burden of proof rests on the victim to establish that there was a crime. Given the distance of time, the fading memories and absence of witnesses, he did not believe a flood of cases would open all of a sudden. What this does do is give people the opportunity; maybe it's nothing more than being able to file a piece of paper with the court that says they were injured, or just knowing that they could if they wanted to. He thought there was some healing value in that. 1:36:24 PM SENATOR DYSON offered a hypothetical situation; a former victim makes an accusation against a perpetrator who was a member of a larger organization such as a school system; the perpetrator is now deceased and there are no eye witnesses. What is the burden upon the alleged victim to establish that the crime actually happened and what protections are there from someone who might be just looking for help when there was no crime? SENATOR FRENCH suggested that while one could probably build a "prima fascia" case against a defendant by saying this happened and the victim has a clear memory of it, the next step, assigning liability to a supervising organization, is far more difficult. The plaintiff has to prove the organization knew that its employee was doing something wrong and that they ignored it. A simple assertion is not going to do that. SENATOR DYSON said if it's a "he said/she said" situation, proving one was a victim would seem to be an insurmountable hurdle. SENATOR FRENCH replied if it is just an allegation between two people and the perpetrator has passed away, there is no recovery; nothing is to be gotten. The reason a person goes to civil court, aside from the satisfaction of proving himself right, is to recover something for the pain and suffering done to him. If there is no living defendant from whom you can recover something, the case will never get past square one. SENATOR DYSON clarified that he is speaking in the context of the perpetrator who is a very intrinsic part of a supervising organization with deep pockets. Even in a civil case, you can't recover unless you prove there was a wrong. 1:39:46 PM SENATOR PASKVAN said there may be a distinction between "respondeat superior liability" [Latin: "let the master answer," also known as the "Master-Servant Rule"] and "direct liability" as is the case when one talks about an organizational liability. As he sees it, this eliminates for a one-year period the obligation for the plaintiff to prove he is within the discovery rule, and even after one year, that lawsuit could still be brought, but then the plaintiff would still have the burden of proving he was within the discovery rule. SENATOR FRENCH conceded that Senator Paskvan's knowledge of the civil rules is superior to his own, and said he would take his representation as accurate. SENATOR PASKVAN said that it is also his belief that this statute can have no effect on businesses in bankruptcy that are subject to federal bankruptcy law. SENATOR FRENCH agreed. 1:42:38 PM FLORENCE KENNEY, representing herself, Juneau, AK, said she was taken to live at Holy Cross Mission with her siblings because their mother had TB and their father was in prison. They never saw their Mother again because she died. They were raised very strictly by the Sisters of St. Ann, whose mother house was in Quebec, and who were there at the invitation of the Jesuit priests. So, they were under the rules of not only the Sisters of St. Ann, but of the Jesuit priests. Father Superior and a number of other priests came to Holy Cross to live and run the mission and to take care of the spiritual needs of all the small villages in the area. Those priests were just like gods; there was no law; the nearest U.S. Marshal was in McGrath. The only way to get there was by plane and the only communication between Holy Cross and the outside world was by mail and all mail was censored. When she was 13 years old, her hair was cut off for punishment. She became depressed and quit eating or talking; her hearing was fading, so Sister Superior called Father Superior to come over for counseling with her. For some time he simply talked quietly with her, but it escalated until she was 15 when they were no longer counseling sessions, but sexual. He was always there, in the play yard, everywhere. He would come to tell her to come to him at night or at other times for sex. This went on until she was 18. The nuns and priests arranged marriages between the girls and men in the village and dictated who the girls were allowed to marry. When talk began about the fact that she was so old and still there, they sent her away. 1:50:55 PM She thought she was the only one who had gone through this, and was afraid to share it with her family or friends; so she never talked about it. When Elsie revealed what had happened to her, Ms. Kenney said she found the courage to speak out also. She hoped the legislators would grant a window so that others could come in and tell their stories about what happened to them. She quoted: "It takes the silence of good men to allow evil to triumph," and that is what she feels happened to them. She said the Jesuits have what is called a "manifestation of conscience" each day during which they would speak to one another about anything they had done wrong. These talks are not protected by the privilege of the confessional; so many people knew what was going on and chose to do nothing. SENATOR DYSON thanked Ms. Kenney for her courage in coming forward. 1:54:13 PM ELSIE BOUDREAU, Director, Native American Outreach, Survivors' Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP), supported SB 47. She said she is also a licensed master social worker. Her Yup'ik name is Apugen, after her maternal grandmother; she is the youngest daughter of the late Edgar and Theresa Francis of St. Mary's, the granddaughter of the late Alfred and Natasha Francis of Pilot Station and the late George and Martha Abugen Peterson of Old Andreafsky. She is married and has a son and a daughter. She acknowledged and thanked Senator French for introducing this extremely important bill for consideration. She said she was thankful for herself as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and as an advocate for others who are unable to speak their truth about an unthinkable and heinous crime committed against them as children. It is with them in mind and heart that she speaks today, in an attempt to make a difference in the life of even just one child. Child sexual abuse leaves a lasting mark on one's soul; it robs a child of trust and forever changes one's world view. It profoundly affects the victim and her family. As an advocate, she has heard stories of victims' deep-seated guilt and shame, of attempted suicide, being beaten by their parents for accusations against a priest. She hears from victims about the relief they feel to be able to speak about this at last. 1:59:28 PM MS. BOUDREAU said she was 10 years old when she was groomed and sexually abused by a family friend who happened to be a priest. This man was like her father and she loved him. When she became interested in boys her own age he made her go to confession in his room. She thought he was jealous and thought it was OK because he was a priest. Now she has to live with the fact that her first sexual experience was with a priest who was using her for his own sick needs. At age 19 she wrote to him saying she never wanted to be alone with him. She put this behind her, not knowing that she could file a claim. 2:02:15 PM Since coming forward as an adult and accepting that she was a victim, she has found out that the church was aware that this priest had a problem with young girls and did nothing. They just moved him around from one place to another without supervision or warning to the other communities he "served". She has become aware that 16 other women were victimized by him. MS. BOUDREAU said that SB 47 is a public safety issue; it is about deterring future wrong-doing and protecting their children and grandchildren. No one is in jeopardy unless it is proven that they put children in harms way. She urged the committee to support the passage of this bill. 2:05:24 PM HENRY NAPOLEON, representing himself, Hooper Bay, AK, spoke for himself, as a survivor of sex abuse, and for the sexually abused children who are now adults. He said the Catholic Church sent clergy to the villages thinking the "heathens" were too ignorant to speak out in defense of themselves. Many of the children were raped multiple times, their innocence stolen. MR. NAPOLEON said, "The sexual abuse that was committed on me haunts me. Nightmares which I do not want to remember, which I try to put away into my past, but I cannot do that because it's like a tumor, a spiritual tumor." He said this is a cancer in his spirit and no surgeon can take it away from him or from others who suffered at their hands. Victims are told that the best they can do is speak to their relatives or a psychiatrist, but what relief is that? He was a vulnerable, nine-year old altar boy when his innocence was taken away. 2:10:19 PM The clergy, the priests, the brothers, are protected by the Pope and cannot be touched. What can we do? At least you can hear the victims out, hear the pain they live with every day. He tried to tell a priest, but he was told to keep quiet, that if he spoke out he would go to hell. No matter what the priests did, they were told it was god's will. MR. NAPOLEON could not tell his parents what was done because they believed in the priests and the clergy, who were god-sent. If he'd told them they probably would not have believed him; his father would probably have done something awful if he'd told him. After it happened, he did not want to serve mass anymore, he lost weight and got sick. They took him to a hospital and they blamed each other for what was happening; it divided them and he could not tell them what had happened because of the shame and pain and guilt. At times he would become so depressed he would go into his own world, a dark abyss and his parents could not understand. Their relationship was destroyed, and they passed away never knowing what had happened. It is still with him. It is still with the other children who are adults now, because they trusted the priests and the brothers who they thought were sent by god to guide them. 2:17:46 PM MR. NAPOLEON asked them to hear out the victims of this sexual abuse to help them feel cleansed. Since the telling of his story, many have come forward to speak out. At least they can speak out. He speaks out for his mother and father, whom he loved very much. He implored if you have children and this happened to your children think how you would feel. No law would hold him back. Please help take away the power from those who abused them. Many of the people who were abused committed suicide because they could not speak out. Many were his friends. He urged the committee members to make sure this never happens to another child. 2:24:50 PM DELBERT ACOMAN, representing himself, Stebbins, AK, said he is calling in support of SB 47 so people can come forward even though their cases are old. During the summer of 1987 he was an altar boy and his life was changed forever when he was abused by Father Francis Nun. Father Francis said if he told anyone it would be a sin and he would go to hell; he was afraid; he was 14 and did not know what to believe. Father Nun left a scar on his private parts and every time he takes a shower he sees it and he has to live with it. When he heard Mr. Napoleon speak he knew he was not alone and he was right, it is a cancer; no one can take it away. He was afraid to tell his parents for fear they would hurt him. 2:29:23 PM If there are people out there, they should speak out for their peace of mind. After being abused, he continued as an altar boy; now he lives in Stebbins, AK, and has worked for over 10 years as a police officer; he has waited a long time for justice to be done. How long can they wait? He thanked the committee for hearing him and encouraged them to pass SB 47 so people can be heard at last. 2:32:17 PM JOELLE CASTEIX, Director, Southwest Region of SNAP, said she is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and in that role she has worked with hundreds of sex abuse victims including with many in the villages of Western Alaska. Carolyn Jessop wrote the book "Escape" which chronicled her flight from the FLDS compound in Colorado City. In her words, "Child sexual abuse is not about religion; it's about crime." She said criminals seek environments where they will not be caught and where a child's fear, naiveté, lack of education and fear of punishment and retribution will not only keep them quite, but keep them in the dark about the crimes against them and their civil and criminal rights. "Unfortunately, organizations like the Roman Catholic Church provide the best haven for a predator to hone his skills. Why? Because the organization knows, covers it up and the predator is never punished." MS. CASTEIX said she is here today because she is an example of why a law like SB 47 works. She can show them how similar California and Delaware laws have saved thousands of children from abuse and have exposed predators across the state and the country, aided law enforcement and prosecutors in numerous states to put molesters behind bars and unearthed the cover-up that shocked and disgusted the nation. 2:34:31 PM She said this law will protect thousands of Alaska's vulnerable children right now who will still be at risk if these predators are not exposed. With a bill such as this, other victims will be able to publicly expose their predators like she did, including the men and women who covered up his criminal activities. She has to be here for the children of Alaska, for herself and for her son. MS. CASTEIX said she came from an alcoholic home and suffered from severe emotional disturbances because of the home life she had to endure. Her high school and the church were her sanctuaries. What she and her parents didn't know at the time was that the school was a "den for sexual abuse." Eleven men at the school, including the principal, the vice principal, two choir directors and a cross country coach were credibly accused and/or sued for abuse. She was molested by lay choir director, Thomas Hodgeman who was told how vulnerable she was by the previous director. Hodgeman took advantage of her and told her that if she told anyone he would kill her and no one would believe her anyway. She was repeatedly raped by him from the time she was 15 until she was 17 years old. Like many survivors, she couldn't go to her parents even when her "panties were bloody and my body bruised." She couldn't go to her friends who said that she wanted it. When she went to the school vice principal, a woman, but she was told "isn't it wonderful to be in love." She was told to keep her secret because most people wouldn't understand and that she might be sent to a psychiatric facility or that perhaps the police would blame her and she would have to go to juvenile hall. She had no idea that Hodgeman was also molesting her friend, Kristen, but the administrator knew. Before graduation she found out she was pregnant and got an abortion. After the procedure, the nurse told her she had a sexually transmitted disease that could lead to cervical cancer and sterility. She spent the next three months having growths burned off of her genitalia. "No one called the police and no one told my parents." When she finally told someone a few years later, she was blamed for tempting Mr. Hodgeman. She was completely alienated from her friends and family, all strong Catholics who blamed her for seducing a man in his 30s. She was told she was going to hell; but people didn't realize that she was already in hell. Like most victims of childhood sexual abuse, she suffered endlessly for the next 10 years. It seemed like there was no solution and no way out. One day she made a decision; she could die and let her abuser win or she could heal and be the person that she always wanted to be. She chose to live and got help; she forgave and forgot her issues with her family and tried to move on, but somehow she knew something was still horribly wrong with a place that told kids to be quiet about sexual abuse. But she just couldn't prove it. In 2001, a boy who had abused by her high school principal sued the diocese of Orange and won a $5.2 million settlement. She was enraged when she heard the news because she couldn't believe they had allowed it to happen to another child. So, she wrote a letter to her high school and offered to help. In response, an attorney from the diocese invited her lunch; she didn't tell her she was a lawyer. This person said she had no records of her allegations and that school officials had no idea that she had been abused. She even doubted her claims - all the while figuring out whether she had an active civil complaint. She said that Ms. Casteix could serve on the diocese lay review board and help the bishop and show the county that there was no other abuse in the diocese. She seized the opportunity because she thought she could make a difference. During the next six months she was on the committee, they did not review a single case. They were told to ignore press reports. Instead they sat around a table and discussed how horribly the clergy abuse scandal was for priests; their religion and their power was used to impress, shame and silence them. 2:39:23 PM In fact, during the time she was board, at least 30 people came forward to report abuse but the members were never told. She learned that later from press reports. In the end, she used California's landmark civil window to sue the church. It exposed abuse and corruption that would have continued if it were not for brave lawmakers in the civil courts. After two years of mediation, stalling and mudslinging, 87 cases against the Diocese of Orange were settled, but the financial settlement was simply a slap on the wrist. The Diocese was debt-free less than a year after the settlement. The true punishment and justice lay in the 10,000 pages of files that exposed the scope and scale of abuse and knowledge across the Diocese. They show that not only did the church know about it, it showed that church officials didn't care about kids; priests, clergy, volunteers and employees were transferred, asked to resign and quietly hidden and the kids had to pay the price. Dozens of men were exposed grooming their target populations, lying to parents and trying to infiltrate other organizations. Most importantly, California, Arizona, Mexico and Nevada children are safer because they exposed the predators who had been allowed to go free. MS. CASTEIX said she did it through a law like SB 47. In the files from her case were quite a few interesting documents; one is a signed confession by Hodgeman in which he admits to raping her and her friend, Kristen; it's also signed by the principal who never called the police. A backdated document signed by the vice principal and Hodgeman saying that they knew about the abuse a year earlier and did nothing. There is the letter written by Principal, Father John Whalen, who says he reported to child services, but her parents were never called and child services has no record. SB 47 and its one-year window is that window to the truth. Right now there is no other way possible to force organizations to do the right thing. They were able to expose 150 perpetrators that the church had tried to hide from public disclosure. They exposed rings of priest shuffling between California, Idaho, Arizona and Nevada, all the way to Mexico. Last year in Delaware a two-year window law did the same thing. Dozens of men have been exposed who are still working schools, a multi-state conspiracy to protect men from prosecution was exposed, and they have aided law enforcement in three states to help put predators behind bars. 2:42:43 PM MS. CASTEIX addressed three perceived challenges in the bill. Opponents say that the bill will encourage false allegations, but false allegations against clergy are rare. Father Patrick Schlitz in Minnesota is the Catholic Church's number-one expert in this field. For 20 years he has defended accused priests as a lawyer. By his own count, he has handled more than 500 cases. On August 28, 2002, he was asked by Sam Dillon of the New York Times about false allegations and he said out of the 500 alleged child molesting priests he represented, that less than three were false allegations. She said this law does not change the burden of proof victims will be required to meet. They will have to meet the standards that any civil lawsuit of this type requires. Opponents say this law will force more organizations into bankruptcy. To this allegation she stated: If the only organizations declaring bankruptcy due to this law are ones like the Jesuits in the Diocese of Fairbanks who acknowledge that they allowed scores of men to rape hundreds of children, that they refused to stop it, and that they expect the state of Alaska to clean up the mess and pay for services for their victims, I think that bankruptcy reorganization is pretty close to a free pass. Opponents may say that lawsuits will take money away from other services, vital services that these religious organizations provide, but that doesn't make it right to "pass the trash" and not be held accountable for crimes they have acknowledged committing. MS. CASTEIX said SB 47 will expose predators and those who covered up for them. More than 150 perpetrators have been exposed in California and Delaware. These are men and women who escaped the criminal and civil statutes of limitations. Civil windows allowed the victims to use the court system to publicly name their abuser, warn communities and give younger victims the strength to come forward and report within the criminal statute. This bill will help law enforcement put serial molesters behind bars. Former priests, Michael Baker and Michael Wempy, are two of the worst Pedophiles in California; both men escaped criminal prosecution because their victims were abused too long ago. Due to the California civil window, victims of both men were able to pursue their cases in civil court, and when that happened, more recent victims came forward within the limitation and proved their crimes. These are younger victims who would never have the bravery to come forward before and report their abuse to law enforcement. Now those men and many other like them are behind bars. 2:45:36 PM Law enforcement in numerous other states including Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida and Wisconsin, have used documents and depositions in Delware's civil window cases to investigate and prosecute predators including Robert Yergle and Paul DeLao. Without these civil suites, these men never would have been publicly exposed. If their victims name them publicly without the backing of the courts, the abusers could have sued them for slander, the media would have ignored victims' claims and more kids would have been hurt and forced to suffer in silence. This bill will help pay for services that before have fallen onto the lap of Alaska's tax payers. She said: I have seen the human wreckage in the villages. You pay for police, jails, court costs, counseling, parole, probation, poverty assistance, anger management, physical abuse, substance abuse, mental health care, hospitals, foster homes, child services, life skills education, nutrition assistance, unemployment, travel to essential services, death benefits, and other needs that aid entire villages of adults who were sexually abused as children. Why? Because groups such as the Jesuits, the Diocese of Fairbanks, and other organizations refuse to be accountable and take responsibility for what they have done. And if even one predator is exposed at no expense to taxpayers, isn't that worth it? As lawmakers it seems that they have only one option - "to open the court house doors to sex crime victims and let them access the time-tested civil justice system to expose molesters, warn communities about the dangers these men pose, and get them removed from jobs in teaching, coaching, and in the ministry, and punish those who help them." 2:47:51 PM MS. CASTEIX asked, at the end of the day who wins with the one- year window? Men and women like her, victims who feel suicidal, who will never get married, who will never have children, and who desperately need in-patient drug and alcohol rehab. This will benefit victims who can't sleep, who obsess over where their predator is now, who he is molesting now and how they can warn unsuspecting parents and neighbors about these dangerous men. This will help parents who desperately want to know if there is a child molester in their school or church or youth group; and it will benefit law enforcement officials who know lots of sexual predators escape detection and prosecution and whose hearts ache for victims left out in the cold. In "Escape" Carolyn Jessup advised that it took her until she was 35 years old to escape religious indoctrination and realize and understand that plural marriage, wife beating and a life of imprisonment, were wrong, illegal and against her rights. If it took her that long, she asked, can you imagine how long it takes a victim of childhood sexual abuse to come to terms with the pain and the shame only to find out that he or she has no legal recourse to make sure that their predator never hurts another child. She said she would leave them with documents to help them in their decision-making. They include the ones she has referenced in her case as well as a list of the coalition behind Delaware's two-year civil window. She also recommended two books: William Lobdell's memoir "Losing My Religion: How I lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in American and Found Peace" that includes stories from the men and women at St. Michaels in Stebbins, Alaska, with whom he spent three weeks, and "Escape" by Carolyn Jessup. MS. CASTEIX thanked the committee and encouraged them to support this bill. 2:50:42 PM CAREN ROBINSON, Alaskan Women's Lobby, said the purpose of the organization is to defend and advance the rights and needs of women and children. Most of these women here today have been victims and have never had the right to have their perpetrator tried or convicted or even to have their stories heard. They are now hearing stories from people in their 80s and 90s about how they were victims of sexual assault. "We must stand up for them." We cannot let this wait another year; this bill was before us last year; please don't let it come before us next year. She summarized that SB 47 allows victims to tell their stories, they can confront the perpetrator; this will put the community on notice about the perpetrator and having the perpetrator formally held accountable for his or her action may provide relief to the victims and restore a sense of balance that has been missing for a very long time. She said she left the field in 1985, and in the last two years, she had victims come forward who were abused by the Teen Center director, a legislative staff person, the Big Brothers/Big Sister director who was also the president of the School Board, an assistant attorney general who was helping to redraft the sexual assault laws, and probably the one that was most egregious to her, the captain of the Police Department who was the sole child sexual assault investigator for the whole 10 years she directed the AWARE shelter. In three of those cases because of statute of limitations, their victims were not able to get justice. She has no idea if victims would want to come forward again and go through the civil courts, but they should have that right. 2:54:28 PM CHAIR DAVIS thanked her and announced the end of public testimony. 2:55:07 PM SENATOR DYSON said he knows more about this business than he ever wanted to; many of the 20-some foster children his family has had were sexually abused, and many of those stories didn't have happy endings. He stated that certainly not all priests do these things, not even most; and other religious groups have been guilty of the same sort of stuff. Many authority figures have exploited children in our communities; parents, step parents and others who should protect children are often guilty. He said that more parents, step-parents, boyfriends, relatives, appear from current statistics to be molesting a lot more kids than institutional leaders at this time. About a third of the victims are boys. He also stated that health officials in this state are under reporting according to his analysis; teachers are doing pretty good. He reminded the members that many children are not "forced" in typical violent sense, but are seduced, and for everyone who speaks, hundreds are silent. All of them deal with great shame. He wanted to repeat to the victims who are here and who might be listening, "You are not alone; it is not their fault. It's not your shame. There is help; there is hope; and there is healing." He knows many who have found healing and a healthy life. "Don't give up." SENATOR DYSON moved to report SB 47 from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). There being no objection, the motion carried. 2:59:59 PM There being no further business to come before the committee, Chair Davis adjourned the meeting at 2:59 p.m.

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