Michelle There, Co Founder, Catholic Church discussed on Native America Calling
Sex Abuse Survivors from native American boarding schools in a CO founder of the organization. Nine little girls and Michelle is Turtle Mountain Chippewa. My pleasure to have her with us. Thank you for joining us. Michelle thank you for having me in so Michelle tell us about the law about the proposed legislation You fight for seems every year now right so each year we kind of do an evaluation to figure out what approach we wanna take in this last year what we did was Two prong approach was to eliminate a provision in the Child Sexual Abuse Statute that was passed in two thousand ten which limits It basically blocks any survivor over the age of forty from suing anyone other than their directly but direct perpetrator so The way that the courts interpreted that was to Say that the Child Sexual Abuse Statute is not applicable to organizations Such as the the Catholic Church in so what happened was The women who Our organization is named after nine sisters from One family who were our child sexual abuse survivors from Boarding School What we've done is Gone in and tried to figure out a way that we could overcome this provision that was enacted during the While. Their lawsuit was pending. And then also there's a a window of time that would revive their claims That we advocated for also this year so there was a two pronged approach in order to remove that provision That blocked anyone over the age of forty and also blocks a suits against organization as well as reviving the window to open up People are claims for people who may have been blocked in the past into Michelle. What is the argument? Why this case in in those behind it filled that you should be able to sue an organization so There's several different Reasons why and we had a great expert testimony from Archie Hamilton this year from child. Usa DOT ORG and With University of Pennsylvania and they have studies and statistics behind them that talk about how reviving these windows of time to allow for these to go. Forth helps identify a child predators that may have been protected by the organization or may have been previously hidden to the public So that children won't be abused in the future. So a large part of this is for prevention of child. Sexual abuse in the future It also shifts the cost of abuse from victims to predators and those that hit them rather than The victims having to sustain the cost of abuse themselves for health care for all the other Ramifications that they're abuse Took a toll on them for the other thing. Is that it Educate the public about the prevalence gives them the wear awareness For the harm that child sexual abuse does to the families and the communities at a The whole And then another thing that it does do is offers Healing and justice to survivors offers. Them Avenue what we've seen happen is that The Catholic Church has admitted that they had this abuse occurred and they have been releasing lists of credible abusers they call them. But what I am. Finding is that on these lists are not listing the abusers from the native American community and so made of American survivors are being left out of that process of You know transparency from the church and that kind of thing and so. I wanted to make people aware of that. I did an open letter to the Vatican this year. explaining to the pope that that native American people are being left out of this process and that we need to be a part of it and without being part of that process. There's only other resources to go through the court system and we know that this definitely weighs very heavy on survivors and even family members and I did want to share this number of before we move ahead. The next national sexual assault hotline is one eight hundred six five six hope or one eight hundred six five six four six seven three If there are folks you'd like to contact to talk more about maybe some of these things that have affected you personally and so with that Michelle There's a lot of work being done to make sure that Those who are survivors have the ability to tell their story. Have the ability to protect a future generations in. So gimme a little bit about Some of the things that have happened this year with this case and pushing forward in wanting to open up limitations so We continue to push forward in the South Dakota legislature But we've been partnering up with a lot of organizations that exist nationally as a resource for native American survivors as well as survivors of clergy abuse. That large and so we've gotten a great deal of support For the survivors network of those abused by priests goes by snap and a lot of other organizations that are doing great work with the statute of limitations and other states like New Jersey and New York Pennsylvania Montana So that is really Given us a lot of hope and optimism and strength to get us through These legislative sessions. Which can be pretty brutal For us as we're we're shot down each year with these changes to the Statute. Thank you for that. And I do want to let people know that we did reach out to the Catholic diocese of Sioux falls and invited them to be on the show. Today they declined due to scheduling conflicts in so Michelle. Explain how the limitation is two years after the abuse. How it's discovered. What does that mean? Well the way that the Child Sexual Abuse Statute is written. Is that When a child is abused they have three years from the date that the time that their injuries caused from the abuse And if they're under eighteen and not those three years would start clicking from the time that they turn eighteen. There's another provision in that statute that allows for people time for discovery. So if you If you don't realize you're injuries A lot of times repressed memories are at play and that the average age of Someone actually reporting there abuse We've found out is fifty two years of age So there's a that time delay So the discovery rule allows for that time delay For three years from the time you discover it now the part. That's the problem is that there's that forty year old blocked anybody over. The age of forty can't avail themselves to that discovery rule and then the way that the Supreme Court has interpreted the statute they cannot apply this to organizations and so in a way to get kind of get around What statute of limitations apply to organizations in these cases the Supreme Court has said that you need to look to the personal injury statute of limitations. Which is two years from the date of majority so the court alternately found that these survivors need to go back. But were they should have filed back. You know to two years after they turned eighteen So essentially all of the boarding school survivors And all the native American boarding school survivors out of luck at that point and pursuing their claims against the church abuse works. Is this unrealistic? Oh definitely so. What even the states on studies show that children do not report their abuse until much later than the statue of limitations allow and Particularly you know the studies that show that Y- they often don't report abuse until they're fifty two so if there's a block against Pursuing claims at forty. It doesn't the statue doesn't match what's happening reality in so there's gotta be some consideration there in in in dealing with this such a sensitive topic with from with all it's it's not something that's typically you know how the law would typically handle something I I don't think the laws equipped to handle something like this that it involves such complex family and in countless emotions and and all of those different aspects of so The laws just really don't are are inadequate for this in so this also is a conversation for any state what do current laws state in terms of limitations on protecting survivors of sexual abuse You can give us a call. Share your thoughts. Maybe you're also working on the similar issue in your own Neck of the woods and What are some of the hurdles or Are there people who are listening in our considerateness? you can give us a call. One eight hundred nine six two eight four eight is number And maybe you are even following this case very closely. What do you think about this where the survivors have for years?.