After East Los Angeles-born Martha M. Escutia served in both houses of the California Legislature from 1992 through 2006, she helped found the private law practice The Senators (Ret.) Firm in Newport Beach, where she specializes in representing abuse victims and their families.
In the wake of the Penn State scandal, the Democrat is re-exercising her political muscles, calling for tough new laws at the state and federal levels to strip tax exempt status from nonprofit groups "that foster or further child sexual abuse."
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Allegations that former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky used The Second Mile, a nonprofit foundation he founded for children of dysfunctional families, to groom victims for repeated acts of child sexual abuse "should be a wake up call for the nation," Escutia says in a statement distributed by her firm. "We see, again and again, a pattern of pedophiles using so-called charitable organizations to facilitate and hide these unspeakable acts."
State legislatures and the U.S. Congress should 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 maintains.
Perhaps to the chagrin of Calvary Chapel, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and other churches that have employed and shielded pedophiles, Escutia would extend such laws to remove the tax-exempt status of offending churches and religious institutions as well.
Don't think Escutia has a prayer? Keep in mind that while in the California Legislature she got laws passed that significantly increased the time for victims of abuse to sue sexual predators and those that employed them.