Reading Time: 2 minutes

***Update***: We posted this earlier in the morning but the links weren’t working, so we deleted the old post to make room for this one.

When former Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was given a 15-month jail sentence last week, it was only because of bank fraud. Even though he reportedly molested four boys, he wasn’t punished for that because the statute of limitations had expired.

You would think that if he actually abused them, it wouldn’t matter how much time had passed, and it’s scary to think that he could very easily have gotten away with it scot-free if not for some idiotic bank transactions connected with it.

In New York, where you only have until the age of 23 to bring charges against your childhood abuser, legislators are working on a bill to eliminate the statute of limitations once and for all in these cases.

Who would oppose something so sensible?

The Catholic Church, of course. The Catholic League’s Bill Donohue issued a full-page ad in the Albany Times-Union yesterday denouncing the legislation:

What a despicable ad. Donohue claims the legislation is anti-Catholic — even though eliminating the statute would allow punishment for all pedophiles — and dismisses it outright. He then deflects the issue by saying there are teachers who have molested kids at a greater rate in public schools… as if taking second place in the Child Sexual Abuse Olympics is a badge of honor.

All the more reason for the state legislators to take action swiftly. A more moral Catholic Church would embrace this legislation so that the victims they created could finally get justice. But we know all too well that Catholicism and morality are hardly intertwined. This is just the latest example.

Those who oppose the window provision or eliminating statutes of limitations outright include the Catholic Church, the insurance lobby and other religious institutions who say they can’t afford to defend themselves against lawsuits that are old and difficult to prosecute.

Just to make that point explicit, it’s not just Donohue opposing this. It’s the Church and other religious groups, too. They’re the ones who have the most to lose if victims suddenly had more power.

(via Joe. My. God. Image via Shutterstock)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.