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Washington State Extends the Statute of Limitations for Filing Criminal Charges in Child Sex-Abuse Cases

“This is a very significant development because it will protect children. The new changes in the law will enable victims to bring criminal actions against their abusers when they’re adults — when they’re better prepared emotionally and psychologically to assist in the prosecution.”Tim Kosnoff

http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/spincontrol/2013/apr/18/child-sex-abuse-prosecutions-extended/

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338

Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

Joliet, Illinois: How one abuse victim pushed for release of secret church files, and prevailed

By DAN FASY

It could’ve been a heart-breaking tale. Instead it’s eminently heartening, about a man wanting to do more than settle his case with Catholic Church officials who, for more than half a century, were the enablers and protectors of pedophile priests in and around Joliet, Illinois.

In a superb story (URL below) by three Chicago Tribune reporters, it’s recounted how David Rudofski stood up to the power of the Joliet  Archdiocese. Rudofski was sexually abused the day of his first confession. In settling his case, Rudofski demanded that church officials make public what proved to be more than 7,000 documents detailing how pedophile priests were protected and child victims were ignored.

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The Next Frontier of Scholarly Study: Sexual Abuse in Puerto Rico

By TIM KOSNOFF

We often broach the notion of statutes of limitation, typically within the context of how such time constraints serve the purposes of certain pedophiles and hinder the ability of the abused to seek damages in civil litigation.

Let’s look at the notion of time limits in a different way and ask rhetorically: Is there a built-in time period after which the effects on the victim miraculously just disappear?
Common sense tells us such a supposition is ridiculous. Anecdotal evidence continually reveals to those of us who litigate against accused abusers that the devastating effects on victims can linger for entire lifetimes.

An ongoing scholarly study seems to show precisely how observable the damage to victims can be. It’s being conducted among subjects in Puerto Rico: interesting given that the Caribbean island probably isn’t the first place many think of when the topic of child sexual abuse is brought up. Here, then, from a 2011 article in the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times, is a refresher:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico  — A lawsuit filed Monday in a Puerto Rico court accuses a St. John’s Abbey [a Minnesota institution] monk of sexually abusing a teenager in 1978 at a boarding school in [the Puerto Rican city of] Humacao.
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The Sad, But All Too Familiar Fact in Abuse Cases: Pedophiles are Often ‘Trusted,’ Well Known by Survivors and Relatives

By DAN FASY

A recent pair of links we posted on our Facebook page inadvertently demonstrate something of a range of ways the scourge of child sexual abuse is revealed to the public.

One is a news story about the aunt of an alleged victim discovering references to abuse incidents on her niece’s Facebook page. The allegations indicate that the predator is another member of the extended Indianapolis family.
If so, the case would jibe with several familiar patterns. One is the high likelihood that the pedophile would be well known by the victim — would, in fact, likely be a family member. Another is that the alleged victim waited, in this case about two years, before revealing what she remembers. Yet another is the implicit reluctance of the victim to more overtly come forward and charge the perpetrator.

One certainly can understand the reluctance. Imagine the feeling of powerlessness of, in this instance, a 13-year-old girl. She’s already been forced by circumstances to process what she claims are two cases of molestation. Then she has to summon the emotional wherewithal to come forward in some fashion and, in effect, let the world know what happened.

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Pennsylvania: Home to Two High-Profile Child Sexual-Abuse Scandals, Eyeing Change

By DAN FASY

Our Facebook page is updated weekdays to apprise interested parties about the many aspects pertaining to child sexual abuse. We cull reports from world media and provide links for readers. By its nature, the page can seem unremittingly grim.

Now and then, however, news comes along that at least seems to ameliorate the inevitable feelings of hopelessness about the fight against pedophilia. One such report is emerging from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. What better place, one would think, than a state that has been home relatively recently to a couple of the world’s most high-profile stories of child sexual abuse.

The following is from an article earlier this year in the Uniontown Herald-Standard:
“A group of state lawmakers who said they were frustrated that the Penn State/Jerry Sandusky and the [Philadelphia] Roman Catholic sex abuse scandals were not enough to move legislation out of committee last year, announced plans Wednesday [Jan. 23] to reintroduce a bill that would remove the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.

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A 50-State Map of Reported Child Sexual-Abuse Cases within the Catholic Church

By TIM KOSNOFF

Certain Americans may miss seeing online and in various print media a blue-and-red-hued map indicating the state-by-state horse race that was the United States presidential election of last fall.

Perhaps interested parties might find another colorful U.S. map to be instructive. It’s done up in a veritable rainbow of colors, the brightness of the cartography scarcely coordinating with the dark details indicated in the map http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbydiocese.html.

The document is the work of a group called Bishop Accountability. The advocacy organization compiles evidence of child sexual abuse relating to crimes and accusations from Catholic dioceses in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. It’s quite a staggering scheme of details.

B.A. made headlines by releasing some 6,000 documents relating to the highly publicized child-sexual-abuse scandals in Philadelphia http://blogs.phillymag.com/the_philly_post/2013/01/24/latest-news-philadelphia-catholic-church-sex-abuse-scandal/

For a macro reckoning of crimes and transgressions throughout the country, go to the map indicated by the url above.

Point and click, for example, to Washington state. Highlighted are the Archdiocese of Seattle and the diocese of Spokane and Yakima.

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Revising the Statute of Limitations in New York and Other States is the Right Thing to Do

By DANIEL FASY

No one can say that Margaret M. Markey hasn’t tried.

The New York State assemblywoman has been laboring in vain since 2006 to change the way that the Empire State has remained maddeningly negligent in facing a pressing need, articulated last May by the Queens Borough Democrat

Last spring she wrote to constituents:

“I held a series of informational events in Albany earlier this year to bring to the attention of Governor [Andrew] Cuomo and my colleagues in the Legislature to the wide-ranging problem of child sexual abuse in society.

“We looked at the recent revelations in the world of sports and learned about abuse in schools and institutions. We heard one of the state’s leading prosecutors speak about how current statutes of limitations in New York State need to be changed in order to bring justice to victims.

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New International Effort to Stem Child Sexual Abuse a Positive Step, but a Small Victory Given the Suspected Number of Pedophiles

January 2, 2013

By TIM KOSNOFF

Those wishing an international alliance to help stop the scourge of child sexual abuse, may find hope in a Dec. 4 document released by the U.S. Department of Justice. Yet, while the prospect of the United States attorney general partnering with leaders in 48 other countries would seem to be encouraging, the “fine print” of the DOJ’s own official statement indicates just how futile such a broad effort may be.

The D.O.J. official statement notes that Attorney General Eric Holder and European Union (EU) Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstrom launched the Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online at a Dec. 5 conference in Brussels. The initiative is intended “to unite decision-makers all around the world to better identify and assist victims and to prosecute the perpetrators. Participants at the launch included ministers and high-level officials from 27 EU member states, who are also joined by 22 countries outside the EU.”

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After the Pope’s Butler Leaks Documents, the Vatican Tightens Security

 What Are the Implications for Continued Secrecy Amidst Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandals?

Posted on Dec. 10, 2012

By TIM KOSNOFF

Micro-chip tracking for human surveillance in the Vatican?

Monsignor 007?

Is this the contemporary Catholic Church or a new James Bond movie?

Truth be known, observers are never really sure about what to make of the deliberately arcane ways that have made the Catholic Church something of an ongoing mystery for two millennia.

The latest strange behavior by Vatican authorities would seem amusing in perhaps a satirical way were it not juxtaposed with the grim realities of an institution pressed with the necessities of dealing with decades of child sex abuse crimes, details of which are being revealed each week from around the globe.

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From India to Africa, Ireland to Australia, Child Sexual Abuse is a Global Problem

Posted on Dec. 3, 2012

By DAN FASY

Although the focus of our law firm is providing a service to American and Canadian survivors of sexual abuse, we are constantly reminded of the problem of child sexual abuse that is pervasive throughout the world.

The crime of pedophilia, of course, is scarcely restricted to the United States, even though such domestic abuses fittingly get the bulk of the attention in this country. Perhaps this gives some American news consumers the impression that the scourge of such abuses is more prevalent in this country. That being the case, perhaps we would do well to acknowledge the abundance of child-sexual-abuse news emanating from countries around the world.

A sampling of news items from the past month includes the following:

A recent report in The Herald Sun, a major newspaper in Australia found that a decision by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to establish a royal commission into child sexual abuse “has the backing of almost every Australian.”

A well-regarded pollster asked some 1,400 Australians about the prime minister’s initiative, and 95 percent said they support the move, with just 3 percent opposed to it.

The director of the poll later said he couldn’t remember any issue ever receiving such near-unanimous approval.

Beyond that, the news account observed that the royal commission, which will inquire into all institutions, not only churches, “has the support of all political parties, state and federal.”

In contrast to such enlightened poll numbers, a few weeks prior to the above the Daily Observer in Africa actually carried an opinion piece headlined: “Gambia: Say ‘No’ to Child-sex Tourism.” One wonders: as opposed to say “yes” to such an abomination?

Coincidentally, a few weeks ago The Times of India reported that a campaign under the banner of “say no to child abuse” would soon be launched by a group of non-government organizations. The campaign is the work of officials at an advocacy group called Childline.

One advocate, Dr. Jagmeet Chawla, said: “This should be made a mass movement and the issue should not be kept under wraps.”

Several days prior to the above dispatch, CNN carried a brief item with information similar to what tragically has become all too familiar to news consumers and criminal-justice officials:

“London (CNN) — A retired bishop and a retired priest have been arrested by British police on suspicion of sexual offenses against boys and young men — one as young as 12 — in the 1980s and 1990s.

“The 80-year-old former Church of England bishop, from Somerset in south-west England, was questioned in connection with eight alleged offenses before being released on medical advice.

“Police say the man — the highest-ranking church official to be arrested on abuse allegations — will be questioned again at a later date.

“His former colleague, a 67-year-old retired priest from West Sussex, in southern England, was questioned over two alleged offenses before being released on bail pending further inquiries.”

 

From the Nov. 6 edition of the Irish Examiner:

“The vast majority of sex-abuse survivors who sought help in rape-crisis centers last year were attacked as children, it was revealed today.

“Of the 2,308 people who went for counseling, 53 percent of the women and 84 percent of the men reported the violence occurred when they were children only. Some 65 percent of survivors said they were abused aged younger than 12.

“The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) revealed that those who came forward last year had waited on average 25 years to access its services.”

 

From BBC News, Nov. 5:

“The prime minister is appointing a ‘senior independent figure’ to look into the way allegations of sexual abuse at north Wales children’s homes in the 1970s and ’80s were dealt with.

“Victim Steve Messham has said that the Waterhouse inquiry of 2,000 only covered a fraction of the alleged assaults.

“Another of the homes’ residents says [officials] did not hear all of the abuse claims.”

Tragically, such also could be observed by those of us in many other parts of the world.

Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.

 

Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590