Rocky Mountain News – Letters

Many people deserve credit for helping pass child accountability act of ’94

Rocky Mount News reported Sue Lindsay has done a wonderfully thorough job describing the difficulties crime victims have in recovering the damages awarded them in civil courts (March 2 article, “Abuse victims found justice in court”). Getting congress to hold perpetrators accountable by attaching their federal pensions t satisfy court-awarded damages is an important step. The Child Abuse Accountability Act of 1994 addresses the wrong done to crime victims who have won their case in court only to lose once again to the perpetrator who refuses to honor the court’s judgment and pay up.

As one of the groups which helped get this bill passed, we think that there are some others who deserve credit and should have been mentioned. The first is former congresswoman Patricia Schroeder who sponsored this bill and was its champion on the floor; The CAA Act of 1994 could never have made it past the original committee without Schroeder’s understanding of the problem and her energetic support. Also, Sally Goldfarb and the NOW Legal Defense Fund in New York played a key role in seeing this bill pass and should be acknowledged for their hard work and intense engagement with the issue.

But, most prominent among those who deserve credit is Sharon Simone, interviewed as a “victim” who has benefited from this law. Sharon gave four years of her life and a substantial part of her savings to the long process which began with the original idea, on to drafting the bill’s language and the final grassroots work which began a groundswell that propelled the bill to victory. Victims recovering monetary damages is important; but Sharon’s metamorphosis from “victim” to a woman testifying in Congressional Hearings and getting federal legislation passed is a story we think y9our readers should know about and cheer.

We are now working together with Sharon Simone, Jennifer Hoult and others o complete the logical extension of this bill to cover the attachment of private pensions to satisfy court-awarded damages. Thank you for the timely article; we hope it will help our members of Congress understand why the laws should be amended.

Sherry A. Quirk, Esq.
President and counsel
One Voice
Washington, D.C.