Thursday, February 24, 2011

SNAP says church unduly influenced state Sen. Jim Sullivan

Sen. Jim Sullivan
WAUWATOSA — Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) questioned Thursday whether state Sen. Jim Sullivan allowed his Catholic faith to influence his legislative actions on a measure concerning child victims.

The Wauwatosa Democrat described the allegation as groundless.

The measure at issue is the Child Victims Act, a bill that would have made it easier for victims of clergy sexual abuse to file lawsuits. The now-dead measure, first introduced in 2008, would in part have erased the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits against child sex abusers. That could have led to a flood of lawsuits against several Wisconsin churches.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests alleged that the reason Sullivan opposed the measure was because he feared that his church would deny him communion, a sacred Catholic rite.

As proof, SNAP distributed a Dec. 16 e-mail that lobbyist Joe Strohl had written to a colleague. In it, Strohl wrote of a conversation he had with Sullivan the previous day about the lawmaker's opposition to the bill.

"As he said, 'he still takes communion every Sunday' and wants to be able to keep doing that," Strohl wrote.

Sullivan confirmed with The Associated Press that he made the comment, but said it was being misinterpreted.

"Never, ever has anybody ever threatened to withhold communion or any other sacraments from me or my family," the senator said.

He said he opposed the Child Victims Act because statutes of limitations are fair and important protections for defendants accused of having committed a crime decades earlier.

"You have to be able to weigh the needs of those seeking justice with the need to mount a vigorous defense," Sullivan said.

Strohl, the lobbyist and a former Democratic Senate leader, told AP he wrote the e-mail after a client had asked him to solicit Sullivan's stance on the Child Victims Act.

When Sullivan made the communion comment there was nothing in his tone or body language that suggested he was being threatened or pressured to oppose it, Strohl said.

Comment by "schmenz" :

"Where do I begin to comment on this amazing article?

Let's begin with the Holy Communion issue: Senator Sullivan should be denied the Sacrament absolutely, for his open support of both pro-abortion and pro-homosexual policies. He is a disgrace to the Church and as he receives this Sacrament unworthily so he shall be judged - as will the priests who give it him, knowing his actions.

The statements that he would be denied the Sacrament for voting on this victim's rights issue, and that he was pressured by the Church, are absolutely, positively ridiculous. Sullivan knows he would not be denied Communion for that, and so should the writer of the article. Since over 90% of the abuse cases involve homosexual preying on adolescent boys the real reason Sullivan is voting that way most likely has to do with his support of the sodomy lobby.

Sullivan is perhaps the worst mealy-mouthed wardheeler of the bunch. He wouldn't be influenced by any church, least of all his own."

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