The Wilbanks CEASE Clinic welcomed guest speaker Daniel Dye, Assistant Chief Deputy Attorney General for Pennsylvania, on March 25, 2019. Dye’s presentation, entitled “Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: The Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report” was an informative and engaging event for students, faculty, and staff at the University of Georgia as well as for the greater Athens community.
During his presentation, Dye took the audience through the timeline of his five-year investigation into accusations of the Catholic Church’s awareness and active concealment of childhood sexual abuse occurring in Pennsylvania’s Catholic dioceses. Dye conveyed the herculean efforts made by his team and him in learning the intricacies of canonical law, combing over 500,000 pages of documents and an additional four terabytes of electronic data, and then unveiling the abuse the Catholic Church attempted to keep from public knowledge.
Dye also expressed the emotional rollercoaster the victims experienced as they awaited the findings of the Grand Jury and then waited more to learn whether the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would allow the Report to be publicly released. Keeping victims informed of the current status of the Report became a second full-time job for Dye and his team. When the Report was finally released, the victims finally felt heard.
Overall, Dye captured the limitations of current child sexual abuse laws and the need for legislative change to help victims of abuse and to ensure that predators answer for their crimes and for the pain and suffering they caused. Dye took questions from the audience after his presentation, and after the lecture Mr. Dye engaged with students and guests at a reception.
This presentation was made possible due to the tremendous support of Mr. Marlan Wilbanks (JD’86). Mr. Wilbanks helped to found and establish the CEASE Clinic in 2016 due to the sexual abuse of his mother. The CEASE Clinic hopes to continue to partner with individuals like Mr. Dye and be a center for information and advocacy for all victims of child sexual abuse.