Wellesley, Mass. — Advocates for victims of clergy sexual abuse, frustrated with Catholic bishops' recent revisions to an abuse prevention policy, said Saturday they would lobby legislators to enact protections because they cannot rely on the church to do the job.
"You're not going to reform the church, you have to rein it in," said Joe Gallagher of the Coalition of Catholics and Survivors. He said seeking legislative help was a "sizable shift in strategy" for the seven victims' groups.
The groups proposed reforms including the repeal of states' statutes of limitations for abuse cases and prison time for people who fail to comply with mandatory reporting laws.
The victims' groups met in the basement of a Wellesley Catholic school Saturday to discuss ways to work together.
The groups said they were disappointed by the revised policy on abuse prevention approved this month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after the Vatican expressed concern that an earlier proposal violated priests' due-process rights.