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Clergy Called To Support Tougher Laws In Wake Of Penn State Scandal

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—In light of the recent Penn State scandal, sex abuse victims are calling for action. In Baltimore, they took on the Catholic Church. 

Monique Griego reports protesters urged the clergy to support tougher laws for people who don’t report sexual abuse.  

The Penn State scandal has some sex abuse victims calling for action from another high-profile organization: the Catholic Church.

“The parallels are clear between Penn State and the Catholic bishops and the way bishops are handing the sex abuse case,” said David Lorenz, SNAP.

On Tuesday, a small group of members from SNAP–the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests– gathered outside a national conference of Catholic bishops.

“They can help make laws tough and they can help the penalties to be harsher,” said Becky Ianni, SNAP.

They urged the clergy to take a stand against abuse and those who don’t report it.

“In the case of Penn State, the people who hid these crimes, these heinous crimes were punished,” Lorenz said.

Several bishops did speak out on the Sandusky scandal. 

“This is a great regret and sorrow on our souls, as well for anyone who would be victimized,” said  John Kudrick, Catholic bishop.

One thing both sides agree on is that the Penn State scandal has been so high-profile it’s getting people to take action on this issue.

“I think we’re already seeing legislatures looking at own state laws and thinking ‘Do we have loopholes? Do we need to close them up? What can we do to make sure this doesn’t happen in our state?’” Ianni said.

Bishop John Michael Botean told us he too would support stricter laws.

“I think they should be reported. There’s no question about that,” Bishop Botean said.

SNAP believes if the church takes a stand against sexual abuse, others will follow.     

The bishops were in town to discuss several topics, including gay marriage and abortion.

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