HB 1947 treats churches, other private institutions differently

By Joelle Shea

As the understanding around the particulars of House Bill 1947 grows, many have questioned the disparate treatment of public entities (like public schools and government) and non-profit or private entities (like Catholic parishes and schools).

Simply put, there remains in the bill inequitable treatment of public and private institutions, like schools. Non-public schools and non-profits will be exposed to retroactive claims dating back decades, while public entities can only be sued for abuse that occurs in the future. Private organizations could be sued for acts that occurred as long ago as the 1960s, while public schools and other public entities would only be liable moving forward.

Further, there is a separate, much higher standard of proof for public entities as well as monetary caps on how much public schools can be sued for, while no such caps exist for non-profit entities.

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