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Roman Catholic Faithful founder and president Steve BradyYouTube

CHICAGO (LifeSiteNews) — The watchdog group Roman Catholic Faithful publicly announced on Tuesday its newly launched “Project Rape Accountability” that proposes a federal legislative amendment that would prevent the discharge of dioceses’ debts arising from the sexual abuse of minors.

In an effort to combat the Catholic hierarchy’s culture of complacency amid the clerical sex abuse of minors, Roman Catholic Faithful has proposed a legislative amendment that would keep dioceses financially accountable when they are sued due to such abuse.

Since under current U.S. law Catholic dioceses can have much of their debts discharged upon filing for bankruptcy, the Roman Catholic Faithful has proposed that the law be amended to add the following exception to the debt discharge of bankruptcy: “for any debt, judgment or potential liability arising out of the sexual molestation or abuse committed against a minor. This provision applies not only to the individual abuser, but to the entity, organization or corporation by whom he or she is employed or acts on behalf of the organization.”

This would add to the already-enacted legal exceptions to the discharging of debt relevant to criminal activity and other circumstances, such as child support. 

“This is a simple change to current law that will result in substantially greater protections for the rights of victims of sex abuse,” Roman Catholic Faithful founder and president Steve Brady said. “For too long, those liable for these damages have been able to deny sexual assault victims from obtaining proper monetary compensation by having those debts discharged in bankruptcy. RCF cannot imagine that anyone who supports victims’ rights would be against such a proposal.”

“This action would not be necessary if priests and other people in positions of trusted authority didn’t rape children. This abuse cannot continue unchallenged,” he added.

According to Brady, Roman Catholic Faithful is in the process of contacting members of Congress to introduce this legislation and encourages as many people as possible to do likewise by emailing their representatives a press packet that contains the text of the proposed legislative amendment.

Brady recommends that those concerned about clerical sex abuse also send the packets to their local newspapers and their local bishops, asking why victims shouldn’t be compensated and why they should “need a lawyer to fight for justice from so-called men of God.”

Roman Catholic Faithful attorney James Bendell, who has represented a number of child sex abuse victims, detailed some of the tragic psychological fallout of this abuse during Tuesday’s press conference.

He recounted how one abused boy he represented was still so traumatized two years after being molested that he kept a machete under his bed when he slept. 

According to Bendell, while 83 percent of molestations by clerics are committed against boys, only 10 percent of boys go on to report their abuse versus 50 percent of girls, according to studies by psychologists.

“That’s why it takes so long for these priests to be caught. We know in the past being caught meant being moved to another parish,” Bendell said. He pointed out that, tragically, “when a priest molests, on average he’s had 20 prior victims.” 

“Some of these (victims) are spending their life on a psychologist’s couch or doing cocaine because they can’t let go of what’s been done to them,” he shared, stressing that abuser priests not only inflict psychological damage but “terrible” spiritual damage to the victims and their families.

Regarding his clients, he shared that “with the exception of maybe one case, all the boys and their parents have left the Catholic faith.”

Meanwhile, the Church hierarchy has been “totally negligent” and only “pretending that they care,” according to Bendell. “Crocodile tears – in this country, what we have is a giant sin of omission by the bishops.”

He recalled the words of Christ: “He who shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

“This stops now. We are going to propose this to Congress. I dare any congressman, any senator who wants to get elected again to oppose this bill,” said Bendell, exhorting listeners to “write to your congressman and demand that these bishops not be allowed to walk away from the debt incurred by the harm to these children.”

Brady explained to LifeSiteNews that Roman Catholic Faithful’s mission has shifted to a focus on corruption within the Church, as it became clearer and clearer amid its work that a whole spectrum of problems, including liturgical abuse, can be traced back to “corruption from the top.”

He pointed out that far from harming his faith, learning about the corruption and problems within the Church’s clergy brought him closer to God. As he began to speak with upright clergy who shared his desire to combat abuse by other clerics, he realized he “had to get right with God too.”

“It made my faith stronger because it made me realize how important the faith was,” Brady shared.

He has found during his investigations that “most bishops find their way to the hierarchy because they’re compromised,” necessitating a legal form of accountability like the proposed legislative amendment.

“If it wasn’t for the press and the lawyers, none of this cleaning up would have ever started,” Brady said. “In all this work I’ve done, not one bishop would sit down with me and explain how I’m wrong.” He added that having interviewed prostitutes during his investigations, “I got more honesty out of a prostitute than I have any bishop.”

Brady believes blackmail is “most definitely” involved in clerical corruption. “I found that when I was going after clergy and bishops. Why would any priest or bishop remain silent when he knows another is engaging in homosexual activity?”

Brady urged Catholics who may be tempted to stop practicing their faith because of the abuse scandals to “look at the true faith, the true Church of Christ, and not these evil corrupt individuals that seem to be in power right now.”

“Go read the doctors of the Church, the Scriptures… see the beauty of the faith. Go to the Blessed Mother. If your faith is in the human being, your faith is in the wrong place.”