Maryland, Pass the Hidden Predator Act!
The Hidden Predator Act will give survivors access to justice and help protect children from sexual abuse by bringing predators to light.
Sine Die: Heartbroken Yet Grateful
Dear Friends of the Hidden Predator Act (HPA),
Monday, April 12, marked the end of the 2021 Maryland General Assembly session. And sadly, the end of our chance to get the Hidden Predator Act passed this year. The fatal blow was what is known as “putting the bill in the drawer” a prerogative given to Chairs that allows them to hold a bill rather than bring it to a vote.
There were many obstacles in this year’s journey, but we want to take a moment to share our gratitude to all the people of goodwill, including yourself, who said as loud as they possibly could “I stand with survivors.”
SURVIVORS – Unlike the political process, we are placing them first on this list. Survivors exposed themselves to being retraumatized by staying engaged in the process. They were dismissed once again by not being allowed to testify (COVID restrictions). And as heartbreaking as it is for most of us that this bill didn’t pass, it is particularly painful for them. It means that they must continue to heal and seek justice within a system that just doesn’t work.
Lobbyist and Media Team – These were committed and compassionate professionals who worked on this pro bono or at bargain-basement costs because they believed in the cause and cared about survivors.
Sponsors – Senator Hettleman and Delegate CT Wilson were champions who went above and beyond to get support. In particular, Del. Wilson faced a number of personal character attacks and unkindnesses, but he consistently responded by redirecting the conversation back to what matters: the survivors.
Senators – Over 10% of Maryland Senators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill. When one Senator was personally called by Cardinal Gregory of the Washington Archdiocese asking for a "no vote" on the bill, the Senator remained steadfast in support of survivors.
Delegate Leadership – The leadership of the Delegates sent personal messages to the Senate President and Committee Chair that they were committed to getting this bill passed as they had done in prior years.
Organizations – We had nearly 70 organizations representing a variety of constituency. Many were more than “on paper” supporters and followed up with their members, posting social media and making calls.
Individual Allies – Committee Chair, Senator Smith received hundreds of email messages and numerous contacts for meetings. Many of you posted Facebook and twitter messages, attended our vigil, and shared updates with friends.
In terms of the scales of justice, our efforts should have overwhelmingly prevailed. But politics is different.
So, what’s next? In a more immediate sense, we want to be available to the needs of the survivor community as this has been a painful and re-triggering process. If you are a survivor and need some support, please contact Dave Lorenz at glydonct[at]gmail.com.
In terms of advocacy, there will be a discernment process. If you have some thoughts, please share them with Susan at susank[at]capconcorp.com.
In the meanwhile, please know that your involvement, while unsuccessful in Annapolis, helped to reinforce to survivors that we believe them, they are not alone, and we care what happens to them.
Justice for Survivors Vigil | PHOTOS
Baltimore Sun, March 17, 2021
(Photo credit: Jeffrey F. Bill)
Thanks to all
who showed their support through calls, emails, and social media sharing!
We are deeply grateful for your support!
SB134 In The News
What are the Hidden Predator Act Goals?
Identify Hidden Predators
Disclose facts of sex abuse epidemic to the public
Arm trusted adults with information to protect children
Shift the cost of abuse from victims to those who caused the harm
Provide a path to justice for victims ready to come forward
What will the Hidden Predator Act Do?
Eliminate the civil statute of limitations going forward.
Create a lookback window for those victims who have been previously barred by the statute of limitations, allowing them to file suit for a period of two years.
Remove the “statute of repose” making it clear to the courts, the public, and survivors that the Maryland General Assembly did not intend to vest constitutionally protected property rights in child sexual predators nor the individuals and organizations that hid predators from discovery and prosecution.
Hearing recorded on February 2, 2021, HPA (SB134) segment begins at 1:51:30 Play video >
About the HPA
Organizations step up to support survivors
50+ groups standing with survivors for healing and justice. Add your organization's name to the Maryland State Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (SCCAN) and Maryland Essentials for Childhood letter of support for the Hidden Predator Act (SB134). 2021 Letter