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NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS/AP) – Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro has appealed to legislators to “do the right thing” and change state law so that civil cases can be pursued in court in decades-old clergy abuse cases.
Shapiro was in Norristown on Friday, along with two clergy abuse victims, both sisters from Harrisburg, who say they were abused multiple times as kids by the same priest.
“In 1982, our lives were drastically and forever changed,” said victim Patty Fortney Julius.
Over the course of a decade, this predator priest molested five girls in our beautiful family, including me.”
Fortney Julius says her younger sister Carolyn, who stood by her side, is also a victim. That priest, Augustine Giella, was one of 300 predator priests mentioned in the grand jury report from August.
Shapiro is asking senators in Pennsylvania to pass a law that does away with the current statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse within the church. Thirty nine states have no statute of limitations. Shapiro wants Pennsylvania to join that group.
Shapiro says he doesn’t know how any lawmaker who read the grand jury report could vote against changing the law.
Shapiro also brought up the retirement and resignation of Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl, saying it was unacceptable that he would be retiring with no apparent consequences.
“I think it is unacceptable that then Bishop Wuerl, now Cardinal Wuerl, oversaw and participated in the systematic cover up that he did when leading the Pittsburgh diocese and that he is now able to retire seemingly with no consequences for his actions that were documented not only in the grand jury report but in the church’s own secret archives,” said Shapiro.
Shapiro said the grand jury report and diocesan records documented Wuerl oversaw and participated in a systematic cover up of child sexual abuse by clergymen while leading the Pittsburgh diocese.
Wuerl was bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988 to 2006.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)