Legislature(2009 - 2010)BUTROVICH 205

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


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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
        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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