A recent public appearance in Philadelphia by lawyer Marci Hamilton, an advocate for the anti-Catholic group SNAP, underscores the brazen dishonesty of some individuals when talking about the issue of sex abuse and the Catholic Church.
Hamilton's public appearance was intended to promote proposed "window" legislation in Pennsylvania, which would abolish decades of established law and lift the statute of limitations for abuse claims for a set period – a so-called "window" – so that contingency lawyers can bring 50-, 60-year, or even older abuse claims in order to bankrupt the Catholic Church.
(Yet public schools, where rampant abuse and cover-ups are still occurring today, are notably exempt from this legislation.)
Indeed, in states where window statutes have already been enacted, such as California, Oregon and Delaware, they have directly led to dioceses being forced to file for bankruptcy.
And while answering questions from an audience member at her appearance, Hamilton rattled off a number of outright lies and half-truths that again reveal her complete disregard for truth and veracity.
Hamilton's smearing the dead
In discussing the issue of the proposed legislation, the audience member brought up the problem of false accusations and recalled the high-profile episode in 1993 involving Chicago's Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. Bernardin was falsely accused by a man named Steven Cook, who was a victim of the quack practice of hypnosis therapy and was duped into believing that he had been abused as a teen by the prelate.
Hamilton actually had the gall to respond:
"The survivor has pulled back on saying they're false."
In truth, after fully recanting his claim in March of 1994, Cook died of AIDS in September of 1995, almost two decades ago.
In addition, the pair had a remarkable episode of reconciliation in December of 1994, as Cardinal Bernardin and Cook stayed in regular contact with each other right up until Cook's final days. Cook even called Bernardin a few months before he died to wish the prelate well as he recovered from cancer surgery.
In other words, Hamilton flat-out lied to everyone in her audience by claiming the accuser had reversed his recantation.
Just making it up as she goes along
Also, in discussing the issue of window legislation, the audience member brought up the fact that there is debate over the constitutionality of such laws. Yet Hamilton brazenly interrupted the man's claim:
"I haven't seen a single scholar in opposition to me on window legislation on constitutionality."
In fact, window legislation that retroactively lifts the statute of limitations for criminal cases has been unequivocally ruled unconstitutional by no less an authority than the United States Supreme Court.
And as far as the constitutionality of window statutes in civil cases, there has indeed been very intense debate, as laws differ from state to state.
For example, in Wisconsin, another state where Hamilton has pushed for such legislation to be passed, it was reported:
"[L]awyers representing state and national civil justice organizations called the window's constitutionality into question during the hearing. When the 2003 legislation extending the statute of limitations was under consideration, a similar window to allow previously barred suits was proposed. Then-Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager had advised legislators that the proposal was constitutionally flawed."
In other words, Hamilton's claim that she has never been challenged on the constitutionality of window statues is completely bogus.
(One law firm has published a balanced state-by-state analysis of proposed window legislation. In some states, the analysts found the proposed legislation to be constitutional. In others, definitely not. In Pennsylvania, the firm found both constitutional and unconstitutional foundations in the state's proposed legislation. They concluded, "[I]t is unclear whether such window legislation will pass constitutional muster.")
Marci's retirement strategy
The audience member also asked Hamilton if she personally stands to gain financially if window legislation is passed in Pennsylvania.
The question clearly took Hamilton by surprise, and she initially tried to dodge the question by providing a "history" of her stake in the issue. (She claimed she had no interest in becoming a trial lawyer until the 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report, but that report has since been thoroughly discredited, which makes her reasoning moot.)
But as she was unable to weave herself out of answering the question, she finally admitted that "yes," she does stand to benefit monetarily if such window legislation is successful. In the end, she hopes to "move to Puerto Rico and write novels." (We're not kidding. Watch the video).
The time is long overdue for the media to recognize Marci Hamilton as the dishonest bigot that this woman actually is.