The momentum has shifted from the selfish wrongdoers to the selfless innocent, from the secret-keepers to the openness advocates, from those who ignore common sense and psychology to those who understand common sense and psychology and from those who want to protect institutions and companies to those who want to protect kids and vulnerable adults.
That’s why 2019 was a banner year for removing these out-of-date deadlines that stop victims from exposing those who commit and conceal sexual abuse in court.
And in response to this long-overdue trend toward justice, self-serving lobbyists who are pro-arbitrary deadline, pro-secrecy and anti-victim are becoming ever-more-creative in dreaming up outlandish ‘the sky will fall!’ claims.
Here’s the latest, from Georgia: Mark Behrens, a Washington, D.C.-based corporate defense attorney representing the American Tort Reform Association, claims that if Georgia lawmakers fix the state’s restrictive statute of limitations “The financial impacts are going to be enormous. . .”
First, the “financial impacts” of abuse and cover up already exist. On one side, they’re being paid by still-suffering victims of abuse who spend small fortunes on therapy and medical bills they shouldn’t have to bear. And the “financial impacts” of abuse have ALREADY been paid, in advance, by institutions who have used donations over decades to pay for insurance coverage.
Second, opening the courthouse doors enables victims to SHIFT those “financial impacts” away from the innocent and wounded and society at large TO the wrongdoers.
Third, if those being sued want to REDUCE “financial impacts,” there’s a simple way to do that: stop spending hundreds of thousands on expensive defense lawyers and exploit every possible technicality to slow down litigation and wear down victims.
(And by the way, what “financial impact,” what dollar figure, does Behrens propose we put on the safe, crime-free upbringing of a child into a full-functioning, healthy, productive adult?)
So hats off to Republican Rep. Heath Clark and Democratic Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver who are leading the fight for victims and children. And shame on Behrens and other ‘corporate defense lawyers’ who put their well-heeled clients first and the vulnerable and wounded second.