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Justice Denied
What America Must Do to Protect its Children

$30.99 (P)

  • Date Published: April 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521886215

$ 30.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Recent events such as the clergy abuse scandal in the Catholic Church have brought the once-taboo subject of childhood sexual abuse to the forefront. But despite increasing awareness of the problem, the United States has not succeeded in establishing effective means of deterring and preventing it, leaving the children of today and tomorrow vulnerable. Hamilton proposes a comprehensive yet simple solution: eliminate the arbitrary statutes of limitation for childhood sexual abuse so that survivors past and present can get into court. Removing this merely procedural barrier permits the millions of survivors to make public the identities of their perpetrators and to receive justice and much-deserved compensation. Standing in the way, however, are formidable opponents such as the insurance industry and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. In Justice Denied, Hamilton predicts a coming civil rights movement for children and explains why it is in the interest of all Americans to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse this chance to seek justice when they are ready.

    • Redresses a public safety and health crisis by shedding light on the unseen tragedy of childhood sexual abuse victims
    • Shows that current, popular reforms cannot work effectively without the single reform proposed - elimination of the statutes of limitation
    • Explains why it is in the interest of all Americans to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse this chance to seek justice when they are ready
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Hamilton’s fabulous Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children ought to be required reading for anyone who needs convincing that sexually abused kids deserve their day in court, no matter how old they are when they come to terms with what was done to them. The book compellingly argues that the horror of child sexual abuse will continue unless the statute of limitations is lifted on prosecution of abusers and their enablers."
    --Ronnie Polaneczky, Columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News

    "In Justice Denied, Professor Hamilton has demonstrated the need for states to update their statute of limitation laws to protect children from sexual predators. In most states existing SOLs shelter predators from prosecution. Her many years as a child advocate provide compelling evidence for the reason why there should be NO Statute of Limitation for child abuse. A must read for everyone interested in the safety of children."
    --Joy Wuenschel, Voice of the Faithful of Greater Philadelphia, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Justice4PAKids

    "A powerful call to action by one of America’s leading constitutional scholars. Hamilton makes clear what must be done if we are to prevent the continued sexual abuse of children."
    --Jeff Dion, National Center for Victims of Crime

    "Justice Denied is a MUST READ for ANY person wanting to protect children from sexual abuse."
    --Maureen Martinez, Co-Founder,

    "Justice Denied should be required reading for elected officials across the country. Marci Hamilton makes a compelling case that we don't need yet another registry for offenders or increase in sentencing. What we require is fundamental change in the rules that currently limit the ability of victims to seek redress in court. She shines a necessary light on who and what has prevented the implementation of those changes. This book is all about protecting kids."
    --Michael Smerconish, nationally syndicated radio host, author & television personality

    "My 19 years experience as Philadelphia's District Attorney taught me that most states need to reform their statutes of limitations for child sex abuse. Right now, most states let child predators off the hook as they disable child sex abuse victims from going to court. In Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children, Marci A. Hamilton, establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that we need statute of limitations reform to protect our children. Child sexual abuse victims typically cannot bring themselves to ‘tell’ about these crimes for years, even decades, and by then, the civil and criminal statutes of limitations have long since expired. Therefore, they are often left with no legal recourse to bring civil causes of action, compel discovery, or to take a case to a finder of fact. For this reason, I agree with Hamilton that we need passage of legislation allowing for civil ‘windows’ in every state. It is for the sake of justice, and for all such victims wherever situated, that a civil ‘window’ statute was, is, and remains one of my interests and goals—and an essential step. Hamilton further makes the case for why criminal statute of limitations, mandatory reporter requirements and other laws must also be strengthened nationwide. I believe that, for all who care about protecting our children Hamilton’s book is required reading."
    --Lynne Abraham, Former Philadelphia District Attorney

    "Too many 'talk the talk' of making children a priority in society. What Hamilton has done with her book is to show a clear and simple way that policymakers can 'walk the walk'. . . [she] clearly and articulately connects the value of using civil law as a tool to protect children. "
    --Ted Thompson, Executive Director, NAPSAC (National Association to Prevent the Sexual Abuse of Children)

    "This brave book is one all lawmakers should read."
    --Jason Berry, author of Lead Us Not Into Temptation

    "In understandable, eloquent prose, Marci Hamilton makes the case for abolishing a statutory scheme that protects sexual predators and which closes our courtrooms to maltreated children. Although it is too late to claim the honor of having acted quickly to address this injustice, this book shows us how to avoid the disgrace of having never acted at all."
    --Victor Vieth, Director, National Child Protection Training Center

    "Hamilton is absolutely right: a vigorous and effective children's civil rights movement is long overdue . . . I applaud Marci Hamilton for leading the way with her outstanding legal scholarship, advocacy and passion for justice!"
    --Eileen King, Regional Director, Justice For Children

    "Hamilton provides a compelling case that demonstrates that the interests of insurance companies, unions, churches, and schools will always trump the safety of children unless we do something about it. Hamilton tells us what we can do, how to do it, and why it will work."
    --Charol Shakeshaft, Chairperson and Professor, Department of Educational Leadership, Virginia Commonwealth University

    "Professor Hamilton combines genuine sensitivity to the plight of survivors of childhood sexual abuse with in depth expertise in the working of the legal system."
    --Barbara Bennett Woodhouse, Director, Center on Children and Families, Fredric G. Levin College of Law, University of Florida

    "A powerful call to action by one of America's leading constitutional scholars. Marci Hamilton makes clear what must be done if we are to prevent the continued sexual abuse of children."
    --Jeff Dion, National Center for Victims of Crime

    "...Hamilton tackles the issue head-on but in language that is clearly written and not full of unnecessary legalese...I encourage you to read Hamilton's book."
    ---Bucks County Courier Times, Diane Shea, Langhorne, adjunct professor, Holy Family University and former director, residential services for Elwyn, Inc.

    "Professor Marci A Hamilton, a law professor at Cardozo School of Law, has written a strong and well researched book....a must-read for lawyers who have represented victims or, as Professor Hamilton refers to them, survivors, of sexual abuse."
    --Herbert J. Friedman, The Nebraska Lawyer

    "Justice Denied is about one of the most horrendous offenses against children short of murder: child sexual abuse....The author paints a vivid and shocking picture of child sexual abuse which should disavow the attitudes of those who think its limited to sinister looking street denizens in dirty trench coats.... Marci Hamilton's book is short and to the point. Its last sentence sums up the book and the cause: "It is an either/or choice: we can either protect the predators or the children." This book concludes with the hope that it will be so for the right of children and their parents to live in a society without fear of sexual assault."
    -- Thomas P. Doyle, co-author of Sex, Priests, and Secret Codes: The Catholic Church's 2,000-Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse

    "Argues for removing states' statutes of limitation for cases of child sexual abuse..."
    --Chronicle of Higher Education

    " impassioned plea to lawmakers and the 'uniformed public' (p. 108) to tackle the problem of child sexual abuse in the United States..."
    --Harvard Law Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2008
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521886215
    • length: 168 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 161 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.45kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. We have failed our children
    2. What is wrong with the system
    3. The solution is clear and simple: abolish the statutes of limitation for childhood sexual abuse
    4. What it will take to act on the lessons learned
    5. Barrier no. 1: the insurance industry
    6. Barrier no. 2: the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church
    7. The other barriers: the teachers, the defense attorneys, and an uninformed public

  • Author

    Marci A. Hamilton, Cardozo School of Law
    Marci A. Hamilton is one of the United States' leading church state scholars, as well as an expert on federalism and representation. Hamilton is Visiting Professor of Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School and the Kathleen and Martin Crane Senior Research Fellow in the Law and Public Affairs Program, Princeton University and holds the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University. She is the author of the award-winning God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Hamilton is a former clerk to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and is also columnist on constitutional issues for

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