September 15, 2006

Coalition to Reform Sex Abuse Laws in Massachusetts
September 14, 2006

Dear Advocates, Supporters and Friends,

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.
- Margaret Mead

Congratulations and thank you for a true legislative victory!

The legislation you have supported so passionately was enacted today by both the House and the Senate and we expect that it will be signed into law sometime next week.
The scaled down version of the SOL repeal legislation that was initially introduced was combined into one bill – H5234 - with legislation that tightened laws regarding the sexual offender registry that Community Voices helped move forward. Please go to www.stopsexcri me.org for more information.
As many of you know, H5234 reforms the statutes of limitations for criminal prosecution by extending the SOL from 15 to 27 years and eliminates it if there is corroborating evidence available to the District Attorney. While corroborating evidence is unusual, we believe that this conditional repeal is something that can be built upon in the future. We many not have bridged the mountain range of hurdles in closing the “justice gap” for crimes of sexual abuse to children but we have moved a mountain. Tom O’Neill, a strong supporter and advisor of the Coalition, told us recently, “Do you know what you have done? You have moved a mountain. That’s what you have done.” We hope that you will reflect on our shared accomplishment in the days leading up to the bill signing and beyond. Clearly there is much more that needs to be accomplished to make the Commonwealth a state with a zero tolerance policy for crimes of sexual abuse of children. However, you are to be congratulated and we hope that you will derive some gratification from knowing that you have made Massachusetts – in some way - a safer place for children and more just for victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Actually, you have made our part of the world a better place for all. Thank you.
With heartfelt thanks,

Bonnie Gorman and Susan Renehan, Co-Chairs
Coalition to Reform Sex Abuse Laws in Massachusetts



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