Committees Consider Bills Forcing Churches to Report Abuse

By: Madison Associated Press
By: Madison Associated Press

Two legislative committees are hearing testimony on how to handle allegations of sexual abuse by clergy.

The bills before the Senate and Assembly Judiciary Committees would require churches to report allegations of sexual abuse and extend the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits over abuse by priests.

The legislation would also allow a person abused by a priest as a child to file a lawsuit until they're 35. Current law sets the age at 20. And it would allow criminal sexual abuse charges to be filed against a clergy member until the victim is 45, instead of 31.

Forty-six-year-old Michael Sneesby of Milwaukee told committee members that he was repeatedly abused by a priest as a teenager.

Sneesby asked how many times do victims have to tell their stories before something is done to help prevent the abuse.

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