Former California Senator Martha Escutia Calls For End To Tax Breaks For Nonprofits Harboring Pedophiles In Wake Of Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal

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Former California legislator Sen. Martha M. Escutia (Ret.) today called for tough new laws that would revoke tax exempt status for nonprofit organizations that foster or further child sexual abuse.

Sen. Martha M. Escutia (Ret.)

State and federal laws governing tax-exempt status need to be clarified to clearly and effectively deter the sexual abuse and exploitation of children under the care or supervision of nonprofit entities such as churches and philanthropic organizations.

Former California legislator Sen. Martha M. Escutia (Ret.) today called for tough new laws that would revoke tax exempt status for nonprofit organizations that foster or further child sexual abuse. Escutia said she is urging the states and Congress to pass laws that would revoke tax-exempt status for any organization determined by a criminal or civil court of law to have fostered the abuse of children, concealed the abuse of children, or failed to report knowledge of child abuse or neglect to law enforcement authorities. Escutia says that the recent revelations concerning multiple acts of child sexual abuse allegedly committed by former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky should be a “wake up call” for the nation. “We see, again and again, a pattern of pedophiles using so-called charitable organizations to facilitate and hide these unspeakable acts,” said Escutia, referring to allegations that Sandusky used The Second Mile, a nonprofit foundation for children of dysfunctional families, to find and “groom” his victims.

“State and federal laws governing tax-exempt status need to be clarified to clearly and effectively deter the sexual abuse and exploitation of children under the care or supervision of nonprofit entities such as churches and philanthropic organizations,” said Escutia.

“Simply prosecuting perpetrators who use and hide behind these organizations is no longer adequate,” Escutia observed, arguing that “organizations that harbor pedophiles must themselves be held accountable in a meaningful way.”

Sen. Escutia, who served in the California Legislature from 1992 to 2006, was instrumental in getting laws passed in that state which significantly increased the time for victims of abuse to sue their sexual predators and those that employed them. Sen. Escutia is currently a lawyer in private practice with The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP in Newport Beach, California, where she represents abuse victims and their families.

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Deysi Cortes
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