NEW YORK: Catholic Church Has Spent $2M Lobbying Against Reform Of Child Molestation Laws

Last month I reported that soon-to-be imprisoned former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dropped his support for the reform of child molestation laws shortly after he began an adulterous affair with a lobbyist hired by the Catholic Church. Today the New York Daily News reports on how much the church has spent to oppose the proposed reforms. From their story:

Not leaving it to divine chance, the state Catholic Conference has turned in recent years to some of Albany’s most well-connected and influential lobby firms to help block a bill that would make it easier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice.

The Catholic Conference, headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, has used Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, Patricia Lynch & Associates, Hank Sheinkopf, and Mark Behan Communications to lobby against the Child Victims Act as well as for or against other measures.

All told, the conference spent more than $2.1 million on lobbying from 2007 through the end of 2015, state records show. That does not include the conference’s own internal lobbying team. Filings show the lobbyists were retained, in part, to work on issues associated with “statute of limitations” and “timelines for commencing certain civil actions related to sex offenses.”

While a far cry from the millions in lobbying top special interests spend in Albany each year, advocates for child sex abuse survivors say the $2.1 million spent likely represents a worthwhile investment to the Catholic Conference if it can continue to block legislation that would eliminate the statute of limitations on child sex abuse civil cases and open a one-year window to bring lawsuits for victims who can no longer sue under current law.

(Tipped by JMG reader Brandon)

RELATED: In March, openly gay New York Sen. Brad Hoylman co-sponsored a bill that both ends the time limit for molestation victims to sue and for the state to bring criminal charges against child predators. The bill faces an uphill battle in the GOP-majority New York Senate.