Kathleen Conti, mother of Candace Conti, has appeared on a local news channel to champion a new bill that will make it easier for victims of child abuse in California to pursue justice.
Bill SB131 has already received approval by the state senate. If signed by California Governor Jerry Brown, it will allow child sex abuse victims in that state who were over the age of 26 in 2003 the opportunity to file lawsuits during a one-year period.
Due to the nature of childhood sexual abuse, it can sometimes take decades for victims to understand what was done to them – and by whom. In states such as California, the “statute of limitations” often prevents victims from filing lawsuits once they have passed a certain age – but this legislature will offer a brief window, potentially over 2014, for such victims to come forward regardless of how long ago their abuse was inflicted.
In her CBS news interview, Kathleen Conti took the opportunity to express her frustration at the cloak of secrecy that allows child molesters to thrive in religions such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. “The only way you are going to stop pedophiles is to identify them and warn people and allow us as parents to know who they are within our congregations or within different religious settings. Otherwise, how do we know? How can we protect other children?”
As well as being a support to her daughter Candace, Kathleen Conti is also a representative of SNAP – The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. In response to the bill, SNAP had this to say: “Institutions should and must be held accountable when they know about abuse, do nothing to stop it, and allow abusers to move on and target other innocent children. The passage of SB 131 is the first step in a long civil rights battle for all victims of child sexual abuse.”
As Watchtower continues to be hit with various child abuse lawsuits with or without such legislature, it is to be hoped that Governor Jerry Brown signs off on this important bill. In so doing, he will be allowing more JW child abuse victims in California to come forward, thus increasing pressure on Watchtower to introduce urgently needed reforms that would serve to protect Witness children everywhere.