Senate Panel Endorses Measure Allowing More Time for Priest Prosecution
Church Will Not Take Position on Bill

NBC 4 News [Los Angeles CA]
Downloaded March 27, 2003

LOS ANGELES -- A Senate panel Tuesday unanimously endorsed a state measure that would allow more time to prosecute Los Angeles-area Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse.

The bill, proposed last month by Los Angeles County prosecutors, would extend the deadline to file criminal charges until the courts decide whether Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and the priests under investigation have a right to keep church documents private.

State lawmakers have been scrambling to get the bill passed before the one-year statute of limitations expires on the first cases, beginning April 8.

Deputy District Attorney Bill Hodgman told the Public Safety Committee hearing in Sacramento that more than 100 investigations into clergy sexual misconduct could be jeopardized without the law.

The Senate is scheduled to vote Thursday on the bill, and an Assembly committee is expected to hear it next Tuesday.

The church will not take a position on the bill, an archdiocesan spokesman said.


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