Tuesday, July 13, 2010

SNAP Urges Guam: Prosecute Old Child Sex Crimes Now!

SNAP Urges Guam: Prosecute Old Child Sex Crimes Now!

Written by Jeff Marchesseault, Guam News Watch Anchor
Tuesday, July 13, 2010

GUAM - An international child protection group is urging Guam to wake up and take charge of protecting children from sexual abuse.

The communique from the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) comes after local media reported low attendance at a July 11th public hearing on key legislation. Bill 334-30 would re-open the prosecutorial window on years-old cases of child sexual abuse for a period of 24 months on Guam.

The proposal is authored by Vice Speaker BJ Cruz, who openly claims that he was sexually abused by a member of the clergy as a youth. Cruz is also a former Guam Supreme Court Chief Justice who once presided over family court.

"We are sorely disappointed by the lack of public enthusiasm for Senator Cruz's bill to make clergy mandated reporters of child sexual abuse and neglect," said SNAP's Joelle Casteix.

"It is our sincere hope that the citizens of Guam speak out and support this one small step to help keep kids safe. However, we have learned by experience that the best way to keep kids safe right now is for lawmakers to extend or eliminate criminal and civil statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse, such as Senator Cruz's Bill 334.

"We also strongly urge anyone (whether or not they are a mandatory reporter) who has seen, heard about, or suspected child sexual abuse to immediately inform law enforcement. By speaking out, we can help keep all children safe.

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